My philosophy for entertaining has always been “love is in the details”. It’s the little details that can really make your soirée a day or evening to remember. Details do not have to be elaborate, complicated, or expensive. They should be savvy, creative, and re-creatable time and time again, but with a twist. Oh, and fabulous! With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I thought it would be fun to show you how you can transition simple concepts, textures, and ideas into inspired details for Fall parties, whether you are entertaining two or twenty.
Whether you are entertaining in your studio apartment, on your kitchen island, or in an expansive dining room, having a centerpiece or focal point helps to ground everything around it. For a smaller table, just one piece will do. For a larger table or sideboard, use multiple of the same arrangement to create a more impactful look.
Here I used a simple glass hurricane, white pillar candle, cake pedestal (for height), wreath picks (that you can save and reuse year after year), and mini pumpkins. This arrangement will last for weeks without any maintenance, except for changing out the candle as your burn through it. The same hurricane can be used for other holidays of everyday décor.
Look to your local grocery store for fabulous supplies for your table! My local grocery store is my #1 place where I get all my flowers. I buy like-colors and arrange them in multiples down the center of my table, add one to my guest bathroom, coffee table, and bar top. This will help carry my theme through the entirety of my chateau apartment.
Here I used clean, covered tomato cans as vases. I also turned turnips, which are the epitome of Fall, into votive holders. Because of their natural texture and tones they take on a pottery feel and add such rustic-chic charm! Mini pumpkins also make adorable votive holders.
Details like these place card holders with fresh rosemary (you can also use thyme, sage, or your favorite combination) adds lovely aromatics as well as a statement to your table. Guests can then take their little bundle home with them and cook with the herbs and use the place marker as a book markers for their favorite cookbook.
Wreath picks and mini pumpkins take on another concept in my favorite French antique wooden bowl. For years this has been my “seasonal bowl”. It gets a makeover once a month and is always filled with fabulous goodies. This can be set out on September 1st and kept through Thanksgiving.
Starting out organized is the first key to a successful soirée. Here are my top 5 tips to follow:
- Start by choosing the style of party; a plated dinner (more formal feel), family-style (informal, casual), buffet or potluck (great for large groups), or cocktail party (perfect for a specific theme).
- Focus on a special dish or “show-stopper” and use the following tips and tricks for everything else to help you along the way. This won’t be your last dinner party or soirée, so focus on one thing and do it fantastically, then try something different for the next!
- Balancing your time and resources will help both you and your guests enjoy the party to the fullest! Don’t feel obligated to pull out the “big-guns” for every element you are going to serve. Find store-bought brands that you love and trust, and integrate those pre-made components in the steps that make the most sense for the assistance that you need to successfully host your soirée.
- Having a theme to your soirée and the food you serve is essential, but don’t go overboard. Try not to be too literal with your tablescape and décor.
- If you don’t have a coat closet (or it’s full!), set up a portable garment rolling rack in the foyer or bedroom for coats. Make sure to have plenty of wooden hangers at the ready.
Happy Fall entertaining!
My original article was published on VRAI Magazine - October 2014