Party Panache, Advance Planning for Easy Entertaining

An artist, a communications consultant, an editor, a photographer, a journalist, an author, a stylist, a decorator, a jewelry maker, an antique shop owner, a librarian, a cook, a recipe developer, a writer, a movie extra, a swim team mom, an etsy expert, a vocal coach, a crafter, a DIYer, a party planner, and a psychologist…

What do all these people, who are many of these things, have in common?

They are Gulf Coast Bloggers!

blogger centerpiece

And what, besides a computer, is the universal accessory for any blogger?

Parmesan cameras

Cameras of course!

pumpkins and cameras

For our September meeting, I welcomed the Gulf Coast Bloggers with cameras

blogger vignette

Beach decor

welcome blogger vignette

and a plate of Parmesan “camera” cookies

GCB centerpiece 1

Because I am in and out of town, I have to plan in advance

buffet set up

I did a mock up of the buffet 2 weeks before, Jazzed up the Table Runner and chose the serving dishes

Everything on the menu could be prepared, or partially prepared ahead of time

GCB menu

Since it is still summer time on the coast I chose salads and lighter fare, and to appeal to all tastes, nothing was too spicy or exotic

lunch buffet

The dough for the Parmesan Cookies can be made a week ahead of time


You can bake them 1-3 days before serving.   I got the camera cookie cutters here


The Lazy Day Grape Salad can be made 1-2 days ahead, adding the Praline Pecans  just before serving.  You can make the pecans and keep them in your freezer for several months and just retrieve them when needed

GCB lunch buffet

I made the Baby Ham and CheeZee Bites 2 weeks in advance and froze them, reheating them in the oven the morning of the meeting.  They can be served at room temperature and set out ahead of serving time

lunch buffet

The Italiano Morsi literally go together in minutes and can be made up to one day before, wrapped and refrigerated

lunch buffet 4

I bought the croissants in advance and froze them, just one less grocery item to get at the last minute.

Pimento Cheese was made a week in advance

pimento cheese croissants

The inside of the croissant was spread with a layer of strawberry preserves and then pimento cheese.  I used small croissants and cut them in half.   The sandwiches were assembled the day before serving, wrapped and stored in the refrigerator,  ready to pull out and plate the next day

loaded BLT salad the

BLT Tortellini Salad, also had corn, asparagus and snap peas and was prepared the day before

Pinot Grigio vinaigrette* can be made up to a week in advance

The bacon was cooked 2 weeks in advance and frozen, and thawed the morning of the buffet

Just before serving I tossed the tortellini with bacon, chopped romaine lettuce and halved grape tomatoes

lunch buffet 4

Chocolate Cashew Bars were for dessert, made 2 days in advance.  These could also be made weeks ahead and frozen

beverage station

There was a beverage station across the room


The breeze came up by lunch time and we were able to adjourn our meeting and eat outside on the porch

Linda's gifts

I was thrilled to receive some thoughtful hostess gifts

owl pin

Look at this cute owl pin, isn’t it a hoot?  Everyone is our group is uber creative…


Flowers and wine…. It was my pleasure to be the hostess, please come back anytime!

TIP:  I purchased the majority of the groceries weeks ahead and froze them or stored them in the pantry so the only last minute items I needed were the fresh vegetables.

Things always take longer than you think they will, so do as much as possible beforehand

I wish I had made signs labeling the different dishes.  Guests always appreciate knowing what they are eating…Next time I will make this show stopper, Sand Dollar Dessert

sand dollar dessert 3

Here are some other easy party buffets, perfect for fall  🎃  brunch  🍅  and football  🏈

Halloween Beer Cheese Soup Buffet

Bloody Mary Brunch

bloody mary brunch

Game Day Buffet

Life is short, have a party!!

If you are a blogger in the northern Gulf Coast area, we would love for you to join us!  You can find more information about joining and meetings on our facebook page or website

Visit some of these Gulf Coast Bloggers at the following links:


Coastal Charm


Crafty Hope

Eat Beat

Fairhope Supply Co

Flower Child Designs

Judy Sharing My World

Lyrical Pens

Reclaim Your True Emotions

Marjorie Searcy

Stump the Librarian

Swim Team Lifestyle


I will be joining these fabulous parties and blogs

Celebrate and Decorate, It’s Overflowing, Rustic and Refined, Sunday Brunch, USS Crafty

Between Naps on the Porch, Coastal Charm, Cooking and Crafting with J&J, Project Inspire, The Scoop, Something to Talk AboutA Stroll Thru Life, Treasure Box Tuesday

Crafty Staci, Hit Me with your Best ShotTickle My TastebudsWow Us Wednesday

Creative Ways, Favorite Things, Full Plate Thursday, Share Your Style, Work it Wednesday

Home Matters, Idea BoxPainted Drawer, Weekend Retreat, Your Turn to Shine

Get Your DIY On

26 Responses to “Party Panache, Advance Planning for Easy Entertaining”
  1. Mary says:

    You’re the hostess with the mostest Jenna! I know there had to be lots of “oohs and aahs” as well as “yums” at your meeting! Everything looks and sounds delicious and your Parmesan Camera Cookies are too cute! I would have been intimidated among all those rock star bloggers but I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall or happily serving drinks 🙂 Your BLT Tortellini Salad sounds wonderful too, looking forward to the recipe!

  2. Jodi says:


  3. Lorraine says:

    Looks like I missed something really special. Sorry I couldn’t be there. Everything looks wonderful!

  4. What a party, I guess Gadsden won’t qualify as Gulf Coast! Blessings!

  5. Oh, I would have loved to have attended. Everything looks wonderful. Thanks for all the tips about planning ahead. Very helpful tips and I love the menu. Darling and creative centerpiece. Your camera cookies were very clever too!
    I know everyone had a great time. Thanks for sharing the occasion.

  6. So sorry we couldn’t make it down. We hope to get there in October. The food and setting look divine. I am waiting for your salad recipe!

  7. I know it was such a treat for the bloggers to gather in your home! Everything was so lovely and your attention to detail is amazing! Speaking of cameras… I saw a lady taking pics at the Dollar Tree yesterday of some dog sweaters she had strategically and creatively grouped together. I started to ask if she was a blogger! haha! I can spot ’em a mile away now! 🙂 ~Rhonda

  8. Professor Storytime says:

    It was a beautiful and delicious spread prepared by our very talented hostess. I could have eaten the entire plateful of Parmesan cameras! Inspiration from your lovely home and hospitality might be just the thing I needed to get me blogging again!

  9. Lynn says:

    Looks like everyone had a blast Jenna, glad you all got to eat outside and enjoy the view:@)

  10. Kim says:

    How fun! Your tips are fabulous. I know y’all had a great time, and I particularly love those sand dollar cookies. 🙂

  11. Jenna,
    Thanks so much for having us in your coastal home and thanks for sharing the recipes/plus the tips!


  12. Everything looks so amazing! I am in love with your coastal theme, it reminds me of living in Florida.

  13. Judy Pimperl says:

    Jenna, I thoroughly enjoyed the meeting at your home and that lunch was amazing! The pimento cheese and strawberry preserves made such a nice pairing of flavors, but it was all great, so it’s hard to choose any one dish as a favorite! The table was so beautifully put together with the blogging theme–very creative! And, I LOVED seeing your art up close, in person.
    Now that I’m back from Birmingham, I’m going to write my post about the meeting…time to get back to work doing my thing.
    Thank you so much, once again, for hosting. See you next month.

  14. Julie says:

    Hi Jenna,
    Wow how fun to hav that bloggers get together! You are such a great hostess and the food looks amazing. Thanks for the entertaining tips.
    Have a nice Friday.

  15. lulu says:

    You are too much, Jenna! I am sure your efforts were well rewarded by your fellow bloggers. How wonderful a group of you have connected. I’ve not been so lucky and I’m sure there is much to be shared among people with a common interest.

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