DIY Backyard Dinner Party |

DIY Backyard Dinner Party - Family, Friends & Food with Jayne


Well the evening has finally arrived for my son’s Groom’s Dinner and I wanted to invite you along to take a sneak peak into this evening’s event! You were there with us through the Bridal Shower video in May, so I wanted to share the ideas with you that I came up with for the Grooms Dinner. I really took the time to plan this out because I wanted to make this event extremely special for my son and his future bride – My soon to be daughter-in-law!!

Simple Wedding Decorations

First things first I started, as usual, with the decorations. I wanted to make it simple, elegant and beautiful, tying it in with her theme of a barn wedding. I have always felt that sometimes less is more and this DIY Backyard Grooms Dinner is no different. So keeping simplicity and elegance in mind, I decided to place poles around the perimeter of my yard and to make it look like an outside garden party.


My flower garden was in full bloom and that’s what truly set the stage for this evening’s event. I purchased eight wooden poles and stained them the color of cedar and attached a hook on top of each one of those poles. I then placed each pole inside cement blocks to hold them up. The next step was to purchase see through round light bulbs to drape from each pole. It gave that beautiful and romantic ambiance as the evening went on and the sun began to set.

Recipe List

To display the menu I hung an old barn window with the food options for the evening written on it. It looked simply stunning hanging from the tree. Next, I put the seating together to create a “harvest table” with the hopes that it would be a way for the guests to gather around the tables and chitchat. I hoped this would create a “friendly gathering of friends” atmosphere and it worked out great! The guests loved it and then happy couple did as well. I rented tablecloths and chairs for the event and set them up inside and outside of the perimeter of lighting.

Then when it came to centerpieces I thought why not search around my house for antiques because that would be great for staying together with the theme of the party. To create this antique and rustic look I placed lanterns, antique books, and pictures of the happy couple around the tables along with lots of candles that put a light glow on all of the other decorations. It looked so elegant and beautiful and again, added a certain ambiance that I loved. Next, it was time for the food and I just knew that I could not pull this off myself especially when around 50 people were going to be attending in my backyard.

I have worked for Coborn’s now for over 22 years and have made long and lasting friendships that I wouldn’t trade for the world. With an event this size, it was great to have have so many wonderful friends close to me because they all stepped up to the plate and volunteered their help and talents for the event, and believe me I took them up on their offers!

Flatbread Pizzas

When I sent the invites out, I scheduled cocktails and appetizers for 6:00 pm and dinner at 7:00 pm. I had just purchased a new pizza oven that runs off of propane and thought making flat bread pizzas for that evening would be a hit and you better believe that it was! The Category Manager of Deli and Bakery came over and prepped all the pizza with me ahead of time and by the time my guests arrived the pizzas were ready to go. We made so many flavors I lost track of them all, but I can tell you my favorite was the Margarita Pizza with fresh Basil from my garden. Simply delicious!

Signature Groomsdinner Drink

Next, I decided to come up with a Signature Drink for Makenzie and Derek for the event. It was probably the hottest night of the year so far, so I really wanted a cool and refreshing drink that the guests would love but that was super easy to make. Not only are these great tasting drinks, but also they are all a favorite of both Makenzie and Derek and I could purchase all of the ingredients from my local Coborn’s liquor store. The liquor I used for the drinks was an extra-dry rum called “Brugal”.

The mint that was used for the drinks were fresh from my garden and they are called Mojito Mint”. This year I also found another mint that I decided to try growing and it is awesome with mojitos as well. It is a Pineapple Mint. That’s right you heard it here first – Pineapple Mint! It is a perfectly blended combination of mint and pineapple and it tastes truly great!

Kelly is my next friend from Coborn’s that decided to help me out by being the bartender for the evening. There couldn’t have been a better person to do the job with that wild and crazy personality that he has. To make the mojitos, Kelly used the muddler to crush the mint and then added the ice, then the rum and then ½ tsp. of sugar and topped it off with Sprite. It was beautiful and so refreshing on a warm summer’s evening.


Now it’s time for dinner. I thought a lot about this before deciding because I wanted to come up with something very easy, yet elegant and light. I decided to do one of my favorites and that was the recipe on Sun-Dried Tomato/Mushroom Bow Tie Pasta. I did a blog on this recipe in February and you can find it here.

On the original blog I used shrimp for the recipe, but this time I used our Rotisserie Chicken that you can purchase out of our Delis instead. Next I wanted to do a fresh salad but again something special, so below is the recipe that I used for the evening.

Strawberry Salad

This salad is light, refreshing and has the perfect crunch. It was awesome for a summer get-together! Strawberry Salad is a favorite of mine and I knew my guests would love it too!

Strawberry Salad
Serves: 4
  • 2 Cups Fresh Romaine Lettuce, torn
  • 2 Cups Fresh Spinach, torn
  • 2 Cups Strawberries, sliced
  • ¼ Cup Red Onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ Cup Crumbled Bleu Cheese or Feta Cheese
  • ½ Cup Chopped Pecans
  • ½ Cup Poppy Seed Dressing
  1. Toss lettuce and spinach together and then add strawberries and onion in a large bowl.
  2. Sprinkle with crumbled cheese and almonds.
  3. Add poppy seed dressing, mix lightly.
  4. Serve immediately.

Who doesn’t like fresh cut fruit in the summer? I know it is always a favorite of mine, so to complete the meal I pulled together a wide variety of fruits and they looked great on a warm summer’s evening all mixed together.

Assorted Mixed Fruit

Finally, it’s time for dessert! Just like the rest of the meal I wanted to think outside the box and come up with something simple and refreshing for summer that was different than simply bars or a cake. I found the perfect recipe.

I tried a batch of it the night before and it was so easy to make and more importantly so delicious and I knew this was the perfect addition for the party. I found small containers that were so cute at a party store and they made the perfect dishes for the dessert. I have always enjoyed Key Lime Pie and here was a “no-bake” recipe and perfect because I did not want to heat up the oven on a 95-degree day.

Key Lime Minis

Check out the recipe here for these No Bake Key Lime Cheesecakes:

No Bake Key Lime Cheesecakes
Serves: 12
  • 1 Sleeve Graham Crackers
  • 2 T. Brown Sugar
  • 3 T. Butter, melted
  • 18 Oz. Cream Cheese, softened
  • 14 Oz. Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 1/3 Cup Lime Juice, freshly squeezed
  • 2 T. Lime Zest
  • Reddi Whip, for topping
  • 3 Limes, cut in half
  1. Crush graham crackers with rolling pin or food processor.
  2. Add brown sugar and butter and mix together.
  3. Place a spoonful in the bottom of a small container or glass jar.
  4. Cream together cream cheese, juice, condensed milk and zest until well blended.
  5. Divide mixture evenly between all the containers.
  6. Chill 1 hour before serving.
  7. Garnish with dollop of whipped cream and lime slice.

These little gems were so good I had a tough time staying away from them at the party, so I snuck a couple for myself for after the party was long gone!

Can we just marvel at how beautiful this set up looked? It was simple. Elegant. Beautiful – and oh so perfect for the soon-to-be newlyweds!


The Backyard  Dinner Party was a success, the company was grand, the evening was beautiful and the food was even better.


Do you have an end of summer party that you are planning? Like and Share this Blog for your chance to Win a $25 Coborn’s Gift Card to get you started on your own awesome party!

Hope you enjoy some of these great summer ideas for entertaining. See you in a couple weeks!


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