There are few traditions quite as charming as southern hospitality. If you are taken by slow living, warm gatherings, and comfort food this summer, it’s the perfect time to host a southern-inspired dinner party. Adding southern charm to your event combines tradition and elegance, creating an unforgettable night for all of your guests.
The following are some simple ways to bring southern dining and charm to your next dinner party. With some creativity, you can plan a sophisticated event that includes delicious food, sophisticated decor, and of course, excellent company.
- Set the table
A southern-inspired gathering is not the time for a buffet style meal. Southern parties are all about putting family and friends at the center, and this starts with your table. If possible, set a long wooden table for everyone to sit at. Your guests can mingle while enjoying cocktails and eventually make their way to the table for the meal. This creates a family-style atmosphere and brings your guests together. Sitting at one table can also encourage everyone to share food and stories long into the night.
- Incorporate florals
Southern decor is both classic and feminine, so you can pull the look together with flowers. Place seasonal blooms on the table to celebrate summer and create a fresh atmosphere. You can also include floral details on cloth napkins and table runners. White lace tablecloths can be a great addition to these bold florals. You might also consider creating contrast with metallic details and dark wood.
- Break out the antique dishes
Your grandmother may have passed on some antique dishes that are sitting in your china cabinet, and a southern party might be the perfect time to take them out. Delicate dinner plates, tea cups, and elegant cutlery can make each course just as sweet as the next. If you have any vintage handkerchiefs in your collection as well, use them as napkins or details in the place setting. Hosts who don’t have these antique dishes on hand can find them in thrift stores and flea markets for a steal.
- Pick a signature cocktail
What is a southern-inspired dinner party without a bit of booze? There are plenty of classic southern cocktails to choose from, but the mint julep is simply timeless. Head to the liquor store for some bourbon, and pick up some mint leaves and simple sirup. You can put your own variation on this drink if you’d like or stick to the classic recipe. Other southern staples like old fashions and sazeracs can also be great options. Just be sure to serve them in a mason jar or other rustic glass to give your guests the full effect.
- Put a twist on comfort food
Now for the most important detail: the food. Southern cooks are all about comfort food, but feel free to put your own creative spin on this cuisine. Stir up a cajun stew with local vegetables or throw some barbecue skewers on the grill. You can incorporate fried chicken into the meal or serve it in smaller bits as an appetizer. Wrap anything in bacon for a smokey twist, and incorporate pecan pie into the dessert. No matter what you cook up, be sure to do so with heart. Your guests will feel warm and welcomed after eating your comforting creations.
Your southern dinner party might be a one-night soiree or a cherished tradition, but you can create timeless memories with the right details. Delicious comfort food, well-crafted cocktails, and charming decor will set the atmosphere for a night of fun. Then you can sit back and enjoy the food, family, friends, and plenty of laughter.