Start with a Plan
Every successful party starts with a plan. I typically start by choosing a theme or color palette. Choosing a theme will give direction and cohesiveness to your gathering. Your theme doesn’t have to be elaborate, gaudy, or complicated, but choosing a color palette or selecting a mood you want to create will make other decisions like dishes, table decor, and what you serve easier. For me, I wanted this fall dinner party to feel intimate and casual so I choose a farmhouse inspired neutral color palette with the focus on the fall harvest.
Make a Good First Impression
Before your guest join you at the dinner table you want to make a good first impression as they arrive. With Calloway’s Nursery it’s easy to ready your entryway for guest. I’m always inspired by the huge variety of pumpkins and squash available at Calloway’s, and found so many beautiful specialty pumpkins that were perfect for my fall decor. A well-lit front porch with seasonal decor will let your guest know they are in for a memorable evening. And, the best part is you can keep your festive decor up, long after the party is over. I made a Happy Fall Y’all sign and used a variety of pumpkins and plants from Calloway’s to create an inviting entryway for my fall dinner party.
Set the Stage with Natural Elements
Fall is all about celebrating the bounty of the season, so using arrangements and large bowls that include seasonal vegetables, flowers and herbs are not only easy to put together, but they look amazing too! Not only are natural elements quite affordable, but you’ll be sure to have a fresh, chic and functional display designed in harmony with the season. In keeping with my farmhouse inspired theme I used a large wooden bowl and filled it with cabbage, succulents, mini pumpkins and herbs to create a stunning, yet simple centerpiece for my fall table.
When it comes to dinner parties, one of my favorite tips is to set your table first before you create your centerpiece. It may seem a little backwards, but when you set the table with the chargers, plates and glasses you plan to use you will know how much room you have left to work in your centerpiece.
Fresh, seasonal decor can only go so far in establishing a mood in your party space. Be sure to utilize music and lighting to enhance the ambiance and create an environment that matches your party’s theme. Create a playlist, dim the harsh overhead lights and light some candles for a more intimate experience.
Serve a Garden to Table Inspired Menu
Embrace the bounty of the season and create a garden to table inspired menu. Food is such a great way to connect to nature and the seasons. When you begin with what’s fresh and in season, the meal becomes an unforgettable experience. Rather than planning an elaborate menu, create seasonal dishes inspired by what you can find at the local farmers market like roasted Brussel sprouts and butternut squash or Roasted Orange Glazed Carrots. Use fresh herbs to enhance the flavor of your autumn-inspired dishes and create a mouth-watering meal your guest won’t soon forget.
Have a Dedicated Drink Station
Encourage your guest to relax and fell at home, after all, parties are an occasion to mingle and celebrate the season. Setting up a dedicated drink station or bar cart allows your guest to help themselves, and gives you a chance to relax and enjoy the party too! Provide all the fixings for a seasonal specialty cocktail, like a Pumpkin Spiced Moscow Mule, and be sure to offer non-alcoholic options as well.
Add a Special Touch with Place Cards and Party Favors
I am a big believer in place cards, even at an intimate dinner party like this. Not only do I think that it helps guest feel extra special, it takes the pressure off of everyone figuring out where to sit. You can add a special touch to your fall dinner party by creating mini pumpkin and succulent place cards that also double as party favors! I love that once the party is over guest can remove the potted succulents from the pumpkins and keep them, long after the party is over, as a reminder of the wonderful friendships and memories made. In addition to the mini pumpkin and succulent place cards, I also mixed things up and created DIY chalkboard wood slice place cards that doubled as coasters.
Smile & Relax
There is nothing better than gathering your friends together for a memorable night of good food, great conversation and unforgettable memories! Sit back and relax, and enjoy these moments with your friends and family around the dinner table!
Now that you are ready to host an intimate fall dinner party with friends, don’t forget to head to Calloway’s to pick up pumpkins, gourds, squash, plants, herbs and more to create an unforgettable setting for your dinner party!