Rustic Country Dinner Party Ideas
Hosting a dinner party doesn't have to be a formal, intimidating undertaking. A rustic/country themed dinner provides a perfect setting for relaxed interaction.
Choosing Your Rustic Country Dinner Party Location
The informality of a country dinner party offers a great deal of flexibility when it comes to location. You might want to host your dinner in any of these locations:
- Dining room: If you've got a spacious dining room, using it for your party gives you a nice designated eating space and lots of opportunities for decorating that won't interfere with your other living space.
- Kitchen: Since this is such an informal type of dinner, your kitchen is just fine for a rustic, country meal with friends.
- Outdoors: What could be more rustic than the great outdoors? Your beautiful yard will provide the perfect backdrop for a country meal. Just be sure you've got a covered area where you can set up your table, or an indoor contingency plan in case of bad weather.
Selecting Your Rustic Table
The table is the central focus of any dinner party. If you can find or create a country style table, this will really add to the atmosphere of your party. Here are some types of tables just right for rustic dining:
- Vintage worn wood: If you have an authentic well-worn wooden table that has seen some history, bring it out for your country dinner.
- Unfinished wood: A brand new, natural unfinished wood table lends a light country feel to the occasion, especially if it still smells like fresh-cut lumber.
- Distressed wood or paint finishes: Distressing a stained or painted wood table gives it a casual, rustic appearance.
While a rustic looking table is an excellent addition to a country dinner, don't stress if you don't have one on hand. Cover whatever you have with a charming country tablecloth and your table will look just right for the occasion.
Country Table Decorating
Now you're ready to start decorating your table. Working with a country/rustic palette of soft whites and subtle color hues inspired by nature will set the tone for relaxed, informal dining. Dress up your table with some of these down-to-earth touches:
- Simple worn stoneware
- Enamel ware
- Basic plain white china (or mix and match for charm)
- Glass juice tumblers for wine
- Solid colored or plaid cloth napkins or bandanas for napkins
- White, checkered or burlap tablecloth or table runner
- Mix and match vintage chairs or worn picnic benches
- Wicker, burlap or straw placemats
- Wood or wicker serving trays
- White crochet doilies
- White candles in glass hurricane holders.
Nature-themed table centerpieces are a beautiful addition to any country table. You may want to try:
- Glass vases with fresh flowers or branches
- Wood, wire or wicker baskets of apples, cherries or peaches
- Pine cones in a wooden bowl.
Rustic Accents for Your Party
Extend your rustic environment with some extra design touches for the area surrounding your table. Here are a few ideas to surround yourself and your guests with country comfort:
- Hang some farm or rustic-themed paintings on the party room walls.
- Lay a braided or rag rug under table.
- Display some vintage rustic items around the room or outdoor area such as farm or hearth tools, wooden crates, or large baskets.
- Hang some dried herbs or wildflowers above your table.
- Adorn your window with billowing white cotton curtains.
Lighting Your Meal
Lighting goes a long way toward creating just the right atmosphere for an event. To help give your dining area a natural, easygoing feel, try some of these lighting options:
- Soft candlelight in mason jars, lanterns or hurricane vases
- Natural sunlight (for early evening summer meals)
- Vintage electric lanterns
- Rustic wrought iron lamps
- Low-watt wood or brushed metal lighting fixtures.
Rustic Country Scents & Sounds
Involving all the senses in your country dining design helps add the finishing touches to your fun, rustic environment. Try some nature-inspired scents such as apple-cinnamon, pumpkin-spice, rich herbs or fragrant lavender to have your guests feeling like they're dining in peaceful farm country.
Music is another effective way to enhance the atmosphere of any gathering. If you've got the space and budget, consider unplugged live music for your country dinner party. Whether you go with traditional fiddle tunes, the twang of a banjo or contemporary folk rock, your guests will be happily tapping along and may even get up to dance. If a live performance isn’t in the budget, simply place your CD or MP3 player near but not directly next to the table. The volume should be just loud enough for guests to understand any lyrics, but soft enough for everyone to talk comfortably over.
Planning Your Meal
One of the nicest things about serving a rustic/country dinner is that you don't have to worry about formality. Family style service or a buffet table will compliment a relaxed, country meal. To keep your theme consistent, try to put together an informal menu that includes fresh farm foods. A few menu items that would work well for a rustic country dinner might include:
- Ratatouille, goat cheese and a basket of fresh, crusty bread for a French country meal
- Fresh baked cookies
- Fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, corn on the cob and potatoes for an American country meal
- A large fresh salad
- Homemade ravioli and bread with seasoned dipping oil for an Italian country meal
- A hearty stew
- Freshly made fruit pies.
So get ready to for an informal evening of food, friendship and fun. When you host a rustic country dinner, you'll be able to join the party instead of fussing over frilly details.