Chinese New Year Dinner Party

I love entertaining. Getting a group of people I love around the dinner table to enjoy each other's company is a dream come true.  But to be able to do that and try out fun new party ideas - I'm in heaven!  In this case, I wanted to have some friends over, so my husband and I decided to take advantage of the upcoming Chinese New Year to throw a themed dinner party.  I knew this theme would allow me to be unabashed with color choices and experiment with a fun menu!

My tabletop decor was built off of my Lynn Chase Tiger Raj china pattern - all shades of green and orange.

My tabletop decor was built off of my Lynn Chase Tiger Raj china pattern - all shades of green and orange.

For the color scheme, I wanted to do something different than the traditional red and gold you often see at a Chinese New Year celebration.  My Lynn Chase Tiger Raj china pattern features a monkey on the rim soup bowl.  Since this is the Year of the Monkey, I thought it was a fitting choice.  The pattern is mostly green and orange so I tried to pick colors for the tablescape that would complement the china.  The kumquat is a symbol of good luck and prosperity in the Chinese culture so they fit perfectly into the setting. The green monogram on the napkins helped unite the china with the centerpieces.  Thank you to Monograms Off Madison for those gorgeous napkins!  

To help me flush out the table, I called on Emily Sharp of Emily Ellison Studio.  We filled orange Chinese takeout containers with kumquats, green moss balls and orange amaryllis and arranged them on top of a green table runner. I liked having a variety of sizes and textures in the middle of the table and then with some orange votive candles, I had a beautiful tablescape! This table is a great example of why you should never feel restricted to flower arrangements -- there are so many other ways to decorate your table for a dinner party!

With candles lit, the bright colors of the table felt warm and inviting!

With candles lit, the bright colors of the table felt warm and inviting!

We hung orange paper lanterns above the table.  Since the pieces on the table were quite low, this helped to create depth in the overall scheme.  They were inexpensive and completely transformed the space.  The above photo gives you a better idea of what the table looked like in the dining room.  Conveniently this tablescape coordinated with my existing drapes.

The menu for the Chinese New Year Dinner Party was probably the best part.  Relevant Events catered and the food was incredible!  As guests arrived, they were offered a Ginger Lemongrass Julep to drink.  It is a bourbon-based cocktail, which I normally don't gravitate toward, but with the addition of ginger-lemongrass syrup and lemon juice, it was quite refreshing (and at the same time a nice cozy winter drink).  My favorite part about this cocktail is that I was able to serve them in my heirloom engraved mint julep cups.  While guests mingled during cocktails, we had a dim sum station set up with various dumplings to choose from - duck, snow pea, chicken and shiitake mushroom.  We also offered pork buns and cold sesame noodles served in Chinese takeout containers -- the presentation was almost as fun as eating the food.  Our entree was a soy ginger black cod served over ginger scallion rice with sauteed bok choy.  My mouth is watering as I write this!

The bright colors of the Chinese New Year decor coordinated well with my bold striped walls!

The bright colors of the Chinese New Year decor coordinated well with my bold striped walls!

I could not resist incorporating these quince branches because they are so beautiful.  I put them in a tall bamboo vase on the serving table for the dim sum.  The drama of displaying the dumplings in the large wok in photo above was also a highlight for me. 

Last but certainly not least, I wanted to include my girls in the fun!  In addition to the grown up table I also designed a smaller version of the dining room table and made a kids table.  The girls also used a Lynn Chase pattern.  This is her melamine line and the pattern is called Monkey Business - perfect!  I found these cute chopstick helpers so they could practice eating with chopsticks.  They had so much fun in their Chinese pajamas eating near the adults! 

How's that for a fortune cookie?

How's that for a fortune cookie?

What better way to finish a Chinese New Year dinner party than with fortune cookies?  This was one of my favorite details of the night.  You can never go wrong with a little humor and some personalization! It was such an unexpected treat for our guests and totally paid off. 

The way the bright colors filled the space was really my cup of tea - no pun intended.  Chinese New Year is not a holiday to go for muted colors or pastels.  It was a lively look full of personality and encouraged our guests to relax and have a great time, which they did, the last ones leaving at 2am!