Are y’all making a fall to-do list yet? Jotting down some new recipes to make or crafts to DIY? If you are, we have one more thing to add to your list, and it’s likely something you’ve found a bit intimidating in the past.
But fear no more, my party friends, because we are about to let you in on 5 tips that will make throwing your first backyard garden gathering as easy as all of these hostess with the mostess’ make it look. So let’s celebrate the end of summer at ease and in style, shall we?
Before you think, “I don’t have enough room for a party,” think again. Scope out your spaces and really figure out how many people you can comfortably entertain. If you have a big backyard, great! If it’s a smaller deck area, that’s perfect too. Remember, it doesn’t always have to be a big blowout; intimate settings are classy and more admired than ever these days.
A quaint area where you and your friends can sit, sip and catch up is really all you need. So, whether it is 5, 10, or 30 people – do a little structuring in your mind before you quit the process all together. Creative problem solving is key here!
Ever been to a job interview and wish you would’ve dressed differently? Like maybe you should’ve taken it up a notch, and now you’re uncomfortable for the remainder of the time? This is so relatable to a dinner party – but the opposite. There is nothing worse than dressing too fancy when everyone else is casual!
So unless it’s a dress-to-impress occasion, we typically recommend more “business casual” wear. For instance, some of our guests wore pants, others wore long or short dresses, guys wore jeans, and our main gal, Lauren Kelp, wore a flow-y wrap dress. As the hostess, you’re probably going to be mingling a lot more than anyone else. So feeling good about how you look and, more importantly, how you feel is essential. Bottom line: just be you and be comfortable.
Cocktail hour is the hour everyone really gets to meet and greet, share stories and dive into each other’s lives. That’s what it’s all about; creating new connections and nurturing old ones. So don’t worry about your best friend “only” liking martinis or your cousin claiming she only will drink vodka soda. Sure, it’s nice to cater to your loved one’s preferences, but it doesn’t have to be that difficult. Just get one or two specialty cocktails and stock up on red and white wine. (I promise they’ll be happy!)
As the hostess, it’s your job to make sure that the conversation and cocktails are flowing. As Charles Macpherson, author of The Butler Speaks: A Guide to Stylish Entertaining, Etiquette and The Art of Good Housekeeping, puts it, “Make sure everyone has someone to talk to, and make sure everyone has a drink in hand.” Rules to live by. Thanks Charles!
4) HORS D’OEUVRES
It’s also your job to make sure no one goes hungry, especially with all those drinks in hands. So for this part, while your guests are standing and walking around, sharable finger foods and tiny bites are your best bet; something someone can easily pick up, eat, and go on with their interactions without any dialogue being interrupted. Thanks to Truffleberry Market, we got to munch on mini fried chicken and waffle fries and ahi edamame soba as part of our small appetizer menu. Setting up a spread of various snacks works great too. Also, you can never go wrong with a local or artisan- made cheese platter! Pair the cheeses with the wine you bought and your guests will be so impressed!
5) TABLE SETTING
Table décor is our favorite and we like to keep is simple and sweet. Don’t get carried away with colors and different pieces. Stick to the overall theme and maximize on one or two staple items. As you can see from our dinners, we love candles and florals. They’re so easy and you can always select them according to season. For fall, try blooms or an autumn inspired centerpiece. Succulents are also beautiful, versatile and the ultimate all seasons plant. They also make the perfect parting gift for your guests. To make the table as uncluttered as possible, set them aside and hand them off as guests start to leave. They won’t expect it and they’ll have take home token to remember the night by.
New seasons are for new beginnings and with fall just around the corner, we hope we’ve inspired you to throw your first attainably elegant, end of the summer soirée. Things to keep in mind during preparation: Pinterest is a social site and not exactly real life, so cut yourself some slack and don’t try too hard to mimic everything you see to a T. And don’t sweat taking short cuts by making dishes you’ve made before and heading to the bakery for desserts. That is perfectly acceptable! Let us know how you feel when you put that check mark next to “host my own dinner party.” I bet you’ll start planning your next one soon after! Cheers!
● Host: Lauren Kelp ● CoHost: Ashley Cooper, Graphic Designer ● Sponsor: Michter’s Whiskey ● Chef/Catering: Brittany Ferrin of Truffleberry Market ● Floral Design: Christine Janda of Christine Janda Design & Events ● Photographer: Aimee Mazzenga ● Tabletop Design: Table & Dine and Lenox USA ● Gift Bags: The Citizenry ● Outdoor Rugs: USA Rugs ● Ice Cream: Tearrific! Ice Cream