Italian Dinner al Fresco Menu with Free Printables

Italian Dinner al Fresco Menu with Free Printables

Pregnancy cravings are no joke. Add to that my desire to entertain… well, a simple craving for an Italian meal turned into a multi-course extravaganza. I researched formal Italian meal courses and found out that Italians, they know how to dine! Out of my research (and cravings) came a 9 course meal that lasted four hours long!

I can’t say that the entire inspiration for this party was my pregnancy cravings… though, they certainly took a big role! The other inspiration was Kohl’s. When Kohl’s asked me  how I celebrate summer I knew the answer was “Dinner al Fresco” and went shopping with that in mind. After coming across the Bobby Flay Home collection of melamine tableware I knew that I’d be serving an outdoor Italian feast.

Read on for my Italian dinner al fresco menu, table decor resources AND free printables so you can throw your own outdoor Italian feast!

Italian themed dinner menu and free printables — A Well Crafted Party

Italian themed dinner menu and free printables

Free Printable Wine Tag

Resource List

Menu for an Italian Dinner al Fresco

Italian Dinner al Fresco:

In my massive craving for Italian food I went on a research binge to find out different ideas for a coursed out Italian meal. What I discovered is that Italians LOVE their food! A formal Italian meal has several different courses to it. Now, typically they wouldn’t list the aperitivo course on a menu because it is meant as a sort of opening to the meal. But, I just love a big full menu, so I included it. Below is what I did for our Italian meal. Please note that I am not Italian, nor have I had the pleasure of going to Italy. I wrote my Italian menu from researching different ideas and coming up with recipes. They may or may not be authentic Italian food. However, the menu items are delicious. Also, I used Google Translate to help me figure out how to word the menu items on the menu I created.

Apertivo Ideas for Italian Dinner


The opening course that usually features a cocktail, Prosecco, champagne, wine  or sparkling water may also be accompanied by light appetizers. I served Prosecco, Italian Olives & Caprese Bites.

parmesan stuffed grilled artichokes


The antipasto course is slightly heavier than the apertivio course. Sometimes you’ll see either an aperirtivo or antipasto course offered at restaurants, but I went all in and did both. I chose to serve my garlic and parmesan stuffed grilled artichokes for this course.

Primo or first course in Italian meal


The primo course is a heavier course than the antipasto, but lighter than the secondo course that comes next and is often served hot. Typically it is a pasta dish, risotto or soup. I chose to serve a clam spaghetti or Spaghetti alla Vongole. I’ll be sharing my recipe for this soon because I make my Spaghetti alla Vongole a tad different than other people out there, but in the meantime you should check out the Spaghetti Vongole from Jamie Oliver! YUM.

Secondo or second course in Italian meal is usually the meat course.


The secondo course is quite a bit heavier than the primo course and is typically the meat dish. It is often served alongside a contorno which is a vegetable side, either cooked or raw. An insalata (salad) can be served with this or after this course. I chose to serve my meat on top of my insalata or contorno (whichever you please) with a beautiful grilled flank steak served on a bed of arugula with freshly shaved parmesan and lemon. (Recipe coming soon!)

Italian inspired fruit and cheese plate

Formaggi e frutta:

A cheese and fruit plate comes next in this extravagant meal. While most of our meal was served family style I prepped individual plates for the cheese and fruit course. I served a beautiful Italian gorgonzola and fontina cheese alongside grapes and grilled figs that were drizzled in honey. Just so you know… figs and gorgonzola are beautiful together.

Dolce Course or dessert course is one of the most important courses in my opinion.


One of my dear guests asked if she could bring anything to the event and I happily took her up on making a dessert because she is one of the best people in the world to ask to bring dessert. She never disappoints and didn’t disappoint on this lovely evening. She brought locally baked shortcakes to top with local strawberries and fresh whipped cream. Such a nice way to round out the meal.


Just when you think you are done… there is more! The caffè course is typically served last unless followed by an ammazzacaffè. I got this part wrong on my menu originally but fixed this for the printable. I put the digestivo after the caffè. It honestly didn’t make much of a difference though. We served a nice rich espresso. For all those non-Italian palates in the room (everyone) we had some whipped cream to top the strong coffee and sweeten it a bit.

Digestivo or Ammazzacaffè:

The digestivo is a drink to conclude the meal. It is typically a liqueur of some sort. We served Limoncello.

To say we were full after this evening would be an extreme understatement.


Dinner al Fresco menu and free printables

Free Italian Dinner Printables:

If you’ve been reading long then you know that I’m obsessed with the ease of printables. This party was no different. I created up some fun Italian-inspired printables to bring together the table. Today I’m giving them away… for free! If you like free printables then please take a moment to sign up for my newsletter. All of my newsletters promise never before seen content, goodies, opportunities or printables for subscribers ONLY. And, of course, if you use some of my free printables I’d love to see them in action! #awellcraftedparty on any social media images so I can see and share. Now… onto the goodies:

Instructions are listed on the printables. To download, click on your selected printable, hit download, and save to your computer. Print according to instructions. Printables are for personal use only.

Free Printable Wine Tag



A big thank you to Kohl’s for asking me how I celebrate Summer. This was a lot of fun to put together. Kohl’s provided me with a gift card to help in celebrating summer. Thank you for reading posts that help support this blog. I only talk about companies that I have used, liked and feel that my readers would benefit from knowing in my blog posts. I regularly shop at Kohl’s for their great selection and prices. Please refer to my policies for more information. 


Black, White & Gold Cocktail Party

Black, White & Gold Cocktail Party
Black, White & Gold Cocktail Party // Real Party featured on A Well Crafted Party

The beautiful Bee (The Spicy Bee), Me! and the gorgeous Kayla (Fit Life Forward) celebrating!


Well, it happened again… I turned another year older. All those that know me know that while aging isn’t my favorite thing, BIRTHDAYS are. This year I let the West Elm party animal appetizer plates inspire a black, white and gold cocktail party that was decadent and slightly silly. I decided to share some photos from the party now because I feel like these might just inspire a fun New Year’s Eve event! Next week I’ll also share the recipes I made for the festive fare.

Read on for a list of DIYd items, resources, menu notes and activities! I’ve linked several items to posts with recipes. There are also a few affiliate links below. A portion of purchases made through affiliate links help support this blog at no cost to readers.

Black, White & Gold Cocktail Party // Real Party featured on A Well Crafted Party


We served the Bourbon Apple Ginger Punch as a signature beverage that was easily accessible to guests. In addition I had the fixings for classic martinis, red and white Hob Nob wine and lots of sparkling wine, including one of my favorite sparklings the Sokol Blosser Evolution Sparkling wine.  We also had a selection of non-alcoholic beverages. One of my favorite ways to make a champagne glass feel even MORE special is to add in a lollipop. Either by using homemade lollies or pretty rock candies!

Black, White & Gold Cocktail Party // Real Party featured on A Well Crafted Party Black, White & Gold Cocktail Party // Real Party featured on A Well Crafted Party

Hors d’oeurves:

The party was slated as a cocktails and cake party… which, of course we had both of those things. But, I wanted more a more savory fare to fill everyone’s bellies. I’m sharing the recipes for many of these items soon.. but, here is the cocktail party menu:

  • Oysters with Champagne Granita
  • Oysters with Lemon and Tabasco
  • Sea Salt Kettle Potato Chips with Crème Fraîche, Caviar and Chive Dip
  • Italian Cured Meats wrapped around arugula
  • Apples with Goat Cheese Spread
  • Artichoke Hearts wrapped in bacon
  • Chicago Mix Popcorn
  • Sweet & Spicy Stuffed Peppers

Black, White & Gold Cocktail Party // Real Party featured on A Well Crafted Party

Black, White & Gold Cocktail Party // Real Party featured on A Well Crafted Party

Activities & Favors:

I didn’t schedule many activities for the party as the food and drinks were the main attraction. I did however set up a photobooth area and made a fun game out of the favors. I did “grab bag” style favors and wrapped up several different gifts from which my gusts to choose. I purchased half of the gifts with the idea of “Whatever will be, will be” in mind. Those presents ended up being games of chance, alcohol, and even a Magic 8 Ball! For the other side of the favor area I chose gifts with the idea of a type-A personality in mind and chose good self-help books, journals, office supplies and the like. Before guests left I asked them to choose a gift and got to watch them open the gifts up. It ended up being my favorite part of the night!

Black, White & Gold Cocktail Party // Real Party featured on A Well Crafted Party

Black, White & Gold Cocktail Party // Real Party featured on A Well Crafted Party

Sweet Treats:

I love savory foods… but, at my birthday there is just nothing like a great sweet treat. At this party I served champagne jello squares, chocolate truffles and a layered chocolate cake I purchased at the bakery at Whole Foods Market called the “Chocolate Explosion” cake. It was super tasty!

Black, White & Gold Cocktail Party // Real Party featured on A Well Crafted Party

Black, White & Gold Cocktail Party // Real Party featured on A Well Crafted Party


I kept the decor pretty simple. I used the Gilded Dapper Animal Plates from West Elm to inspire the look. Beyond that I put up DIY’d hand-painted signs and LOTS of gold fringe

What is your favorite thing to serve at birthday parties?

Hey Girl Party Favors – Ryan Gosling Tea Towels

Hey Girl Party Favors – Ryan Gosling Tea Towels

DIY Ryan Gosling Tea Towels // A Well Crafted Party

When I got to thinking of the whole “Hey Girl” Meme for the Ryan Gosling themed party the ideas sort of over-took my brain. I wanted to do SO much. But, as I advise every bride/diy event planner … I started out with lots of ideas and then began to narrow them down. The favor idea was one of my FAVORITE ideas, so I spent some time figuring out the best way to go about it. I loved the idea of giving guests tea towels (who doesn’t need more of those!?) that were a simple black and white that had a “Hey Girl” message of “Hey girl, let me dry those dishes for you.”

My first attempt at making these tea towels did NOT go well. I was determined to screen press the tea towels. I borrowed my friend Suzannah’s Ryonet home screen printing press and tried following her tutorial and the Ryonet YouTube tutorial. The whole process is very, very involved. The kit included everything I needed and the instructions were great! But, I didn’t give myself near enough time or room for error. It was one of those DIY fails that just really sucks. After I dried my tears of frustration, I scrapped the screen printing idea and went with the iron on transfer method.

DIY Ryan Gosling Tea Towels // A Well Crafted Party


I typically don’t enjoy the way the iron on transfer looks on fabrics. There is usually a line around the image that is slightly more glossy than I want. When the paper gets too hot it can yellow. Also, I never know how long it will last. I was pretty thrilled with the way these tea towels turned out though and would recommend the iron-on transfer as an easy way to make these. Follow the instructions on the iron on transfer paper.

Tips for best results when using the iron-on transfer method:

  • Prep your fabric. Wash, dry and iron your fabric before you apply the transfer. Will the transfer take if you skip this step? Yep. But, I think it benefits the entire project to take those other steps. I feel like the transfer goes on better and that it lasts longer.
  • Transfer the RIGHT image. Most transfer papers require you to print a mirror image of your image. Transfer paper, while not super expensive, isn’t cheap either. Losing an entire sheet due to a printing mistake would be a bummer.
  • Stick to single colors. I have found that when I use multiple colors I don’t like the look as much as I do when there is only one color in the image. This is totally a preference though!
  • Don’t use an ironing board. The instructions for my package of transfer paper said not to use an ironing board. This was the first time I’ve ever done it this way and I was thrilled with the results. Instead of an ironing board you want to find a sturdy surface that is about waist-high with an ironed pillowcase placed on top. It really makes the difference to have the leverage to apply even force while ironing.

DIY Ryan Gosling Tea Towels // A Well Crafted Party


Want to make your own Ryan Gosling tea towels?

Download my Hey Girl Tea Towel print and get started! Image of Ryan Gosling was licensed under CC 2.0 — sourced via Raffi Asdourian . I then modified the image. Tutorial coming!

Ryan Gosling Free Printable // A Well Crafted Party

Supplies (Affiliate Links):

And, just because I thought this would also make for a cute framed print above a drying rack in the kitchen I also made an 8×10 printable. Click here to download you own free Ryan Gosling themed printable!

Love the idea but just don’t wanna make your own tea towels? These sketched tea towels by Dear Colleen are AMAZING and would make for a fantastic gift! They’d be a better quality and have THREE images of Ryan Gosling… so, there is that too!

(PS. I will give screen printing a shot again sometime soon.)

(PPS. Ryan, if you’re reading this… first, EEEEE! Second, we share because we love your work and enjoy the meme. Will take down with a note from you! )


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