When I first started planning this party, I pictured a long table in a field of bluebonnets with the table all set with beautiful plates, silverware and glassware and cloth napkins, all elegantly displayed in the setting sun.
Then reality set in. This was supposed to be a picnic after all. We had no staff to serve dinner, so it would have to be buffet-style. So my idea of a beautifully appointed table went out the window. I opted reluctantly for disposable plates. I even bought them. Well, if you know me, then you know I just couldn't pull the trigger. I love real plates, and just have a hard time using paper ones. I returned the paper plates and started reworking my plan. To be quite honest I had enough plates to serve our 55 guests at the ranch, but didn't like the idea someone breaking some of my favorite dishes. I decided I needed a set of dishes that if broken, I wouldn't care. The hunt was on for the absolute nicest plates I could find for... $1 a plate.
I found out quickly that is not an easy chore, even at Walmart. The only place I could find plates at my rock bottom price were at the Dollar store and Ikea. The Dollar Store surprisingly had some cute ones, but I wanted one set that were all the same, and the Dollar Store just had 10 of this kind, and five of that. So I opted for the 9 inch glass plates at Ikea. I bought 40, since I decded the kids could use paper plates (even I have my limits.)
I placed the plates in this very large wicker tray I got at Hobby Lobby. The bluebonnets on this table are in vintage blue Mason jars. Next to that table, I placed my ironing board, laden with more goodies.
Is it just me, or do you change your mind at the last minute? I had found some marvelous blue and white Toile cloth napkins for a dollar each. True confessions... they are actually bandanas. I bought them from a wholesale
banana bandana store, and the toile bandanas, regularly $5 each were on clearance for $1 a piece. (Thanks Kim @ Savvy Southern Style for catching my typo. I left it in since you enjoyed it so much!) You can see them in many of the photos in thi post. Since I bought so many, I used them liberally.
I actually bought them to use as cloth napkins for our party, but... well... it seemed strange using cloth napkins if some people wouldn't even end up at a table, but would be eating their dinner sitting in a rocking chair. I hated to have some people feeling left out if there were decked out tables, and some people had to sit elsewhere, with their plates in their laps. Sooooo... I opted not to use the bandanas for napkins. And the thought of trying to remove barbeque sauce from 40 plus napkins just didn't appeal to me, so I used paper napkins. I know Peggy is shocked, but it's not exactly a formal dinner. I normally use cloth napkins, but hey, this was supposed to be an outdoor picnic. The adorable basket held our paper napkins in the serving line.
Next came the basket filled with paper plates for the kids. I used a stamp set and card stock to make this sign that is attached using twine. The basket is lined with my blue and white toile of course.
Since I was concerned about how sturdy the ironing board would be if we had a gust of wind, I decided not to use it to serve food or to hold lots of breakables. So, I ended up using it for our flatware, napkins, and the kids plates. I also stuffed some plastic cups and pinic sets (plastic fork, knife, spoon, napkin, salt and pepper packs) in the basket in case the parents wanted to use them for their kids.
Again, I just couldn't make myself use disposal silverware for the meal, since if some pieces go lost, I didn't want to spend days searching the pasture for lost silverware. So I went on the hunt for the absolute most adorable, cutest flatware I could find that was less than $1 per piece. Walmart won this contest with these adorable forks, knives and spoons.
They came out to about 20 cents per piece, sold!!
So if you used the bandanas as napkins, with the Ikea plates, Walmart flatware, and Mason jar glasses, you could spend less than $5/person per place setting, and have no worries of lost or broken items, since the glasses, flatware and dishes would be easily replaceable.
Did you miss any of my other party posts? There right here.
The Big Table