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Fall dinner ideas for a fun backyard autumn dinner party with friends and family. 

kiddie table

Last weekend I invited some of our friends over for an al fresco autumn dinner party. We were celebrating Yummy Hubby’s birthday, and his completing a 100 mile bike ride the previous day. We had 10 adults and 9 kiddos over. Little miss Four was so excited to help me set the kiddie table while I worked on the grown-up table scape. She loved making the table pretty with flowers. Clearly we don’t have 10 matching chairs, which is the reason for all the mixing and matching at the tables.

fall dinner party table

Instead of a runner, I used olive branches and decorated the table with mini white pumpkins, pomegranates, persimmons, and roses from our garden. Wouldn’t this be pretty for Thanksgiving?

backyard chicken

We let the girls out to free range during the party. Cutie pies.

gold & nature place setting

I am looooving the warmth and touch of glamour of gold flatware right now. I got mine at West Elm. Anthropologie sells a similar set, as does Amazon.com. So gorgeous for Thanksgiving and Christmas, right? Right!

kids dinner

Happy kids, happy parents. It’s so hard to find time to sit down and connect with our friends, but lately these dinner parties have been a fantastic way to do just that.

fall salad

Three of us mummies in the group are vegetarian, so I happily made a meat-free feast. I don’t think the carnivorous guests even noticed. I served all the dishes family style on the table. Casual and cosy.

autumn dinner party

We had a couple of very different salads made almost entirely with heavenly ingredients from the Santa Barbara Farmers Market and my backyard. There are still some summer ingredients like these colorful heirloom tomatoes, but fall-winter crops are available too, so you’ll see both in this menu.

dinner party menu

Lasagna is my go-to for a make ahead dinner. I made a Pumpkin & Chard lasagna, as well as a Garden Veggie Lasagna the night before the party, refrigerated them, and put them in the oven an hour before dinnertime. family dinner party

Baby E relaxing under the glowing lanterns. Gold baby moccasins… I can’t even handle the cuteness. This little darling’s family has been in the news quite a lot recently. You may have seen them on Today.com. You have to read their inspiring story here.

fall dinner

Oh this pumpkin lasagna was good. I love sage and pumpkin together in savory recipes.

apple crisp dinner party

For dessert I bought 2 pies from the Solvang Pie Co., and decided at the last minute to make an apple crisp as well. Vanilla Bean and Coconut & Cream ice cream from McConnell’s was the perfect accoutrement! I’m proud and amazed to say that the apple crisp was the winner over the pies – shhhhh, it’s ridiculously simple to make.

olive branch runner

Here are all the scrumptious recipes! Make them for your friends or for a meatless Thanksgiving.

Autumn Dinner Party Menu

The Best Garlic Bread Ever

Pear, Walnut, and Goat Cheese Salad with Maple Vinaigrette 

Heirloom Tomato and Roasted Beet Salad 

Pumpkin and Chard Lasagna

Garden Vegetable Lasagna

Berry Apple Crisp served with vanilla bean and coconut ice cream