Saturday, September 5, 2015

Dinner Party Hosting 101: Create an Unforgettable Fall Soiree

Happy Saturday on the unofficial last weekend of summer, pals. If you think the title does not sound like me, you would be correct. Jesse Hughes is here again with an article for you on the art of the dinner party, which I myself like to get back into the swing of after a summer full of backyard and outside living. Enjoy! 

The whirlwind excitement of summer has diminished and with the arrival of autumn you risk falling back into a monotonous routine. Keep things fresh and fun with a seasonally themed dinner party, where you can celebrate this beautiful transitory season. There are many elements of a dinner party that require thorough preparation and thoughtful planning. Here are some tips and techniques that will help you create a fall soiree no one will forget:
Create a menu that showcases the multi-faceted variety of flavorful fall produce. September yields a colorful harvest of apples, pears, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, winter squashes and peas. A decadent, savory starter menu could include a butternut squash soup, roasted pumpkin seed and goat cheese salad, and pea and ricotta tartines. Smitten Kitchen has a catalog of creative recipes for pumpkin and squash, which will provide you with ample ideas for your personalized menu. As autumn progresses, the selection of seasonal produce expands and includes: broccoli, cauliflower, beets, cranberries, kale, chard, persimmons, pomegranates, blood oranges and meyer lemons. Don’t become overwhelmed by all the wonderful options — choose one primary, seasonal ingredient as the foundation for each dish. Once you’ve established which edible gem you’ll feature, perform a recipe search for an impressive and delightful dish.
Decor Accents
In the first stages of party planning, establish a three-toned or four-toned color scheme for your decor. Steer away from brighter colors, as they are more indicative of summer, and incorporate deep, bold and rich hues into your design. The sentiments that surround the season are that of bountiful harvest. Transpose the same sentiment ideas into your decor. Pick up some decorative pumpkins and gourds and elevate their aesthetic with white or metallic paint. Pinterest has tutorials on how to transform your squash produce into gorgeously painted gourds. Flower arrangements are a key ingredient in any tablescape. FTD has a specific section of its site for beautiful fall bouquets. Once you find your favorite fall flowers, set up mini bouquets around the table. Make sure they aren’t too tall and won’t inhibit guests from conversation.
It seems like every season has a distinct genre of music to which it belongs. Summertime song lists usually include surf pop and upbeat folk music, while winter calls for more classic or holiday-related tunes. Create a playlist that includes whimsical songs by folk-genre and classic musicians. The Royal Tenenbaum soundtrack is a wonderful compilation of songs by Nico, Elliott Smith, Bob Dylan, Nick Drake, and original compositions by Mark Mothersbaugh. Mashable also has a well-curated, autumn-inspired music list which includes Bon Iver, Fleet Foxes, The Avett Brothers and Simon & Garfunkel.
Furniture & Lighting
The autumn evenings yield fewer hours of light, in comparison with summer. An earlier sunset and dark night sky can be used to your advantage, so you may create the perfect lighting for your fall party. If your dinner will be alfresco, in your backyard, utilize bistro lights which have large light bulbs. An outdoor dinner party is also the perfect excuse for the use of rustic furniture, like harvest-themed hay bales or forest tree stump. Have a few lush throw blankets, which match your party’s color scheme, handy in case the evening weather turns chilly.

I'm pretty excited to get back to the soups and stews and casseroles, to use some seasonal ingredients and plan some nice menus with a good decor backdrop. What about you?

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  1. Uhhhhh I officially want to come to your house for a party lol

  2. I am looking forward to having a real kitchen to make something in... a dinner party would just be an added bonus. I intend to have lots of them to make up for being out of my house for so long.

  3. Sounds like a good plan for a comfy and cozy get together. Love the colors of Fall.

  4. Ack it's definitely the last weekend of summer and I'm sad but bring on the Fall. Tis my favorite season! :) All great entertaining and hosting tips! :) I get my fix of Barefoot Contessa daily so I'm hip to these tips. Have a great weekend and enjoy the last summer weekend Steph! Take Care -Iva

  5. You throw a good party, Steph! Enjoying the cool weather this Labor Day Sunday morning by the pool. I do not want to start my fall baking until the temperatures change. I do love the smell of apples and cinnamon and pumpkin baking. Nice bonus to have your blog on the weekend. Love, Your Momma

  6. I absolutely love entertaining in the fall. It is just perfect here to still be outside and enjoy the amazing weather. Give me all the chili, football, bonfires and smores!

  7. These are great tips! I especially love the idea of season-appropriate music. Hope you're having a great last unofficial weekend of SUMMER!

  8. I just saw a recipe of pinterest for caramel apple sangria. If I go to a fall party, I'm going to need someone to serve this to me. Please. Thank you.

  9. This is a wonderful post and it is quite helpful for me to organize an enjoyable bachelorette party. The music ideas are just awesome. At the party venue nyc I’ll host this party and thinking to use fall theme for decoration.

  10. This post was very helpful for me as I am also planning to host a fun party for my birthday bash. At some outdoor Los Angeles venues I would love to throw a funky dinner party for close friends and family. If you have any d├ęcor ideas, please share that as well.


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