How to Host a Fall Dinner Party

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We’ve prepared for the season with our favorite fall furnishings and décor, but we know that isn’t enough to create the dining experience we all want.

Autumn brings colder weather, changing leaves, and an excuse to cuddle up beneath blankets for a movie day. Here at SCC, we know that it also brings the opportunity to host the ultimate fall dinner party.

We’ve prepared for the season with our favorite fall furnishings and décor, but we know that isn’t enough to create the dining experience we all want. Here’s our quick-and-simple guide to what you need to know about hosting the best fall feast:

Identify Your Style: It’s paramount that you create the right setting for your fall fête. In order to do so, you have to identify your personal style, and then apply that to your designs. Setting the table is your chance to set the scene and mood for your party. I wanted my dinner 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.

Pick Your Centerpiece: Now that you’ve identified the style of your fall dinner party, it’s time to pick out the centerpiece for your tablescape. It’s important to have just the right autumnal design to help guests feel like they’re in a seasonal setting. 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, I wanted 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. I recommend that you pick 2 or 3 complementary colors to avoid making the table setting too busy. I selected gourds that were all muted in color – pale butternut, green-blues and creamy white, then added pops of red-orange for contrast. Your rustic fall gathering doesn’t need much. Simply use a set of white candles and accent with twisting wooden branches or antlers.

Design Guest Name Plates: Nameplates can add an elegant touch to your tablescape, and they don’t have to be traditional or stuffy. Here are some examples of fun and cool ideas for these little labels.

For your modern fall soirée, pick something that calls out the timeless designs you’re featuring. We love this example of Scrabble pieces being used to assign seating. Who knows, dining may even transition into a game of wordy fun, each guest starting with the letters in their own name!

For your rustic fall gathering consider doing something simple, like writing names in script on brown paper tags with a bit of raffia tied in a bow at the top.

Plan Your Menu: What would a dinner party be without food? To truly make this an affair your guests will never forget, you’ll want to serve up some delicious treats! Not only should your table reflect the bounty of the season, but your menu should, too. When you’re at the farmers’ market selecting your centerpiece pumpkins, ask around for great recipes that utilize the season’s best. The menu I’ve compiled below is a balance of indulgent, fresh and flavorful seasonal recipes.

Spiked Mulled Cider

Pumpkin Beer

Baked Brie en Croûte with Apple Compote

Mesclun, Arugula and Fennel Salad with Prosciutto & Pear Vinaigrette

Butternut Squash Ravioli with Sage Browned Butter

Caramel Apple Dumplings

Fun Favors: The rest of the night is up to you. Fill it with great conversation, lively music, and any other entertainment you can think of. Just make sure that you end the night by letting guests know how much you appreciated their presence. Give each attendee a favor before they head out your door. Here are a few of our favorite’s ideas for these small gifts:

S’mores Kit

Miniature Pies

Apple Cider Mulling Spices

When it comes to throwing the ultimate fall dinner party, all that really matters is making sure your friends are together and everyone is having a great time. BUT having a beautiful tablescape, delicious menu, and fun favors can help you make sure that happens. With these five tips, your dinner party is sure to be a success. Apply them to your home for your next fall gathering.