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Tips for Hosting a Great Fall Dinner Party

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Fall is such a festive time of the year to entertain — the chapter has closed on summer grilling parties and the pressures of large holiday family gatherings are not yet upon us. It is the perfect time of year to invite a small group of friends over for an intimate dinner that celebrates nothing but the season of bounty.

The only rule? You must pull inspiration from the harvest season. Put all of those majestic squash and pumpkins at the farmers’ market to work, using them as the centerpiece of your table and your menu.Entertaining your friends for dinner can seem more challenging than it needs to be. With these helpful tips, you’ll be able to host a fall harvest dinner party with ease … and have a great time, too!

Set the Stage with Natural Elements

Setting the table is your chance to set the scene and mood for your party. You want your dinner party to be special, but relaxed and casual, as well. It features beautiful seasonal produce in its natural form with little alteration — allowing the true beauty of these pumpkins and gourds to shine. Along with the pumpkins straight from the farm, the setting includes super-tall, elegant taper candles — elegant and rustic elements — my favorite combination. A centerpiece made of pumpkins, squash and gourds versus a formal floral design says all of the right things about my party.

As the harvest season is all about the celebration of bounty, you want the table to feel full and plentiful. With so many colors and shapes to choose from, it is easy to get overwhelmed and end up with a hodgepodge result. Best practice is to pick 2 or 3 complementary colors to avoid making the table setting too busy. Select gourds that were all muted in color – pale butternut, green-blues and creamy white, then added pops of red-orange for contrast.

Make the House Buzz

Have you ever been the first to arrive at a party? If the house is quiet and the lights are bright, it doesn’t quite feel like a party. Create an ambiance by having the lights low, candles lit, fun music going and a “help yourself” cocktail station ready to go 30 minutes before the party begins. Getting everything set out early allows me to wind down before anyone arrives and gives you a chance to feel like a guest at your own party. There is nothing worse than arriving when the hostess is frantically dusting the mantle and juggling pots and pans in the kitchen.

Plan the Menu Ahead of Time

Before the party, set out Champagne glasses and a few bottles of bubbly on ice. This way, guests can serve themselves while they’re mingling. Put out some olives (make them extra special with a little grated citrus zest, red pepper flakes and a splash of sherry vinegar), and a board with goat cheese, jarred tapenade and good crackers. Super easy, but elegant.

Make your main course ahead of time. This takes the stress level way down. Let someone else take care of dessert. Have a friend bring it, or go to your favorite bakery. Avoid hosting burnout by letting go of some of the responsibility.

Serve the meal family-style. People love passing around platters. It feels more intimate and communal—plus, you don’t have to take the time to plate everything individually.

Spark Conversation

Write out little cards at each place setting with a different question on each. What was the weirdest thing you saw this week? What celebrity do people say you look like? Even if your guests know each other, it’s a fun way to get conversations going.

Guaranteed A Fine Furniture can help you host a fall dinner party by making sure you have all the space and accents you need.

Guaranteed A Fine Furniture 4735 Tecumseh Road. East Windsor, Ontario, Canada N8T 1B6