This Southern Style Dinner Party tablescape & menu will give you a taste of the South whether you live there or not. Get inspired for stylish entertaining with these themed dinner party ideas and tips. Come on in, Y’all!
Southern Style Dinner Party
When it comes to entertaining there’s nothing more quintessentially “southern” than Blue Willow china (grandma’s of course), hydrangeas, fried chicken, and sweet tea! I designed this Southern style dinner party tablescape & menu as an homage to tradition while making it feel modern and fun.
Every detail gives a nod to the South but you don’t have to live there to enjoy these dinner party ideas. Check out the tips and menu below.
Start by creating a blue and white table setting that combines tradition with modern style.
Southern Tablescape Ideas
- For a Southern themed dinner party it’s not only about the food. You also have to bring in the ambiance. Blue and white is classic-traditional and sets the scene.
- If you have a set of blue and white dishes, use them on top of rattan chargers to set the table. A more modern print table cloth is the perfect base to the party table.
- Vintage glasses are one of my favorite items to use on a tablescape. They add charm without looking old-fashioned. Serve iced tea using your favorite recipe or purchased from the grocer.
- Cotton bolls just scream “the South!” Use this iconic plant to help set the tablescape. Place stems on place setting and add place cards to each.
- Another Southern favorite is hot sauce. We use it for seasoning cooked greens, fried chicken, and add it to chili or spaghetti. I turned this classic condiment into party favors for guests. To integrate the mini bottles seamlessly into the tablescape, I added my own hand-lettered labels.
PARTY TIP: I purchased a mini hot sauce SET during the holiday season and split it up to use as individual party favors.
- Cornbread baked in mini skillets adds a whimsical and interesting twist to regular old pan-baked cornbread. Add a slice of fresh jalapeno on top of the batter before baking, to give them some heat and a cute garnish.
- Keep the centerpiece simple with a vase of blue hydrangeas – almost every Southern garden has a bush planted. Add some greenery and candlesticks, and keep the rest of the table clear to hold food dishes to be served family-style.
Southern Dinner Party Menu
Now that you have the scene all set, lets talk about the menu. Being raised in North Carolina by some of the best Southern cooks around (mom, grandmothers, aunts) it would be ridiculous for me to try to emulate their kitchen skills. Most cooked without actual recipes and let’s face it, food just doesn’t taste the same as it used to.
With that said, I do think you can create a “modern” version of a Southern style dinner party menu.
Southern dinner recipes
- Fried Chicken – If you have a tried and true method, make it yourself. There’s no way I can emulate the family recipes I grew up on so I don’t even try with this one.
PARTY TIP: Our family reunions take place once a year and it’s potluck style. There’s always several batches of homemade fried chicken from various aunts and cousins. But there’s also purchased buckets from a trusted source – KFC Original Recipe. Don’t be ashamed to phone it in!
- Southern Cooked Greens (collards, kale, etc) – don’t forget the vinegar on the table to drizzle lightly over it
- Southern-style pinto beans
- Skillet cornbread (Jiffy brand mix is my go-to choice)
- Dessert: Chess Pie recipe, or banana pudding mini desserts
- Serve sweetened ice tea or better yet, a southern style iced tea cocktail
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