At first I thought that I would have to buy some napkins, or placemats, or something -- because 13 guests is just outside of what I have in my china and linen closet for any one pattern. But I made it work by mixing and matching -- which is all the rage anyways!
I wanted the vibe of the party to be casual but elegant, and I think I found the balance truly by accident! I used my wedding plates from 1981, which hilariously are now back in style ( I saw some just like them at Cost Plus today!), but I only had a set of 10 of those. So I added my astronomy china, hand made pottery gifted to us by friends, that looks like the Milky Way! Perfect for an evening where we were going to be talking about astronomy!
And, because the china was not uniform, I did want to draw it together with the same placemat at each table setting. And the gold placemats were the only set where I had enough for 13! And it was a perfect match, casual and glitzy together!
I also love using the Hurricane Lamps on the outdoor table because they add a bit of romance, drama and height but do not block the view for diners across the table. And, I intentionally did not use a table cloth because the wood is so beautiful, and added to the casual feel that I wanted.
And I cooked! What??? It was a no stress recipe ( you should try it) and the rest of the menu was rounded out with farm stand corn, fresh strawberries and watermelon, and green salad with tomatoes from my garden!
Here's the chicken recipe! Invite people over to dine! Use your good china!