We still have time to enjoy a June night without too much heat; capitalize on this by planning an outdoor soirée. My husband, Johnny Church, has an incredible collection of 1950s and ’60s 45 records that we have on our jukebox, and dancing is almost always a part of our dinner parties. The key to this dancing party is to have a simple menu – and don’t tell anyone that there’s going to be dancing.
I have just finished creating a new collection of centerpieces with Luis Colmenares called the “Dancing Diva Collection,” based on our mutual love of dancing; two of these pieces are featured in this party. I also love to haunt my favorite stores for favors, placemats, napkins and napkin rings. First I went to Pier 1 and found napkin rings as well as the pillows that I’m using as placemats; I know they’re high and a bit wobbly, but they’re so cute! Then, I visited Longue Vue’s Gift Shop and found soaps with flowers on top to use as favors on one table.
We served room-temperature filet that Johnny had cooked earlier, grilled asparagus and a twice-baked potato. After guests have had cocktails, appetizers and finished the first two courses, click your wine glass and ask everyone to look under the ribbon that is showing from under their placemat. The ribbon that matches theirs is their dancing partner. Get the jukebox going to a song they can’t sit down to (a jukebox makes it easy for everyone to choose a record they like) and the dancing starts! Let everyone dance for three to four songs and then announce dessert.
It is definitely fun to keep everyone dancing all night long; then you can serve a fattening dessert because everyone burns so many calories!