Thinking about gathering up all your friends for an autumnal dinner party…perhaps even an early Friendsgiving? We at GWS are all for throwing a dinner party whenever possible: it’s a time to gather, connect, share good food, stories, and time with one another—while introducing those that mean the most to you, to others! An all-around win, don’t you think?
Well, to help us help YOU put together the ultimate fall dinner party, photographer Hannah Haston + event designer Carmen Collins are showing us how it’s done. Ready to see the top 5 tips? Let’s look!
1. Make a Statement with Bold Florals
Bold florals can make a SERIOUS statement! Whether you’re hanging an installation above the table to frame a space, or adding in centerpieces as a focal point of the table—they can add a major “wow factor.”
For this seasonal floral installation, Davy Gray wanted to create something that looked like it was floating in mid-air above the dining table. Fall foliage and texture were a MUST, so naturally pampas grass and baby’s breath were the main players. The installation instantly draws the eye in, but also complements the smaller floral arrangements on the table. How? By staying in a similar tonal range.
By hanging the larger floral piece above the dining table, guests are still able to have intimate dinner conversations without having to worry about moving centerpieces out of their way.
2. Cocktail Hour Before Dinner
Fashionably late? We’ve heard that one before! So, we suggest inviting guests over an hour before you actually plan on serving dinner for a low-key cocktail hour. What’s shaking? Greet your guests with a signature cocktail or one of our many GWS cocktail recipes (try this Autumnal Sangria on for size!).
From there on out, have plenty of wine and beer available for guests to sip on. This will allow you to spend more time enjoying your guests’ company, instead of spending the whole night mixing up cocktails in the kitchen.
3. Create Printed Menus + Place Cards
Got guests who may not know each other? No problem! Place cards + an assigned seating arrangement are your friend! Perhaps group people together based on things they have in common—so they can more easily facilitate conversations.
A printed menu is always appreciated. Let your guests know what’s being served for appetizers, entrees, and dessert. (This also means you won’t have to keep answering, “What’s for dinner?” all night.
4. Mix Rental with Pieces You Already Own
Hosting larger dinner parties can be a little intimidating. Where will everyone sit? And how long is it going to take to clean up afterwards? Put these worries to rest by supplementing your inventory of entertaining pieces with rentals from local companies and artists.
For this dinner party, the team rented vintage tables and chairs from Loot Rentals and marble ceramic plates from Eliana Bernard. Paired with glassware, flatware, and linens from their own homes, it was a match made in heaven! Best of all, clean up was a piece of cake because they only had to worry about taking care of a few items.
(Side Note: Mixing chairs is totally fine, and actually encouraged—don’t worry if you don’t have enough of the same chair for all your guests. By adding in an array of other designs you create a more eclectic + less formal environment, yet still totally cool.)
5. Serve Food Family-Style
For this dinner party, Gold Epicure served up avocado Caesar salad, grilled rosemary trout, smoked quail in rum sauce, roasted mojo criollo pork belly, and local fire-roasted vegetables (YUM).
Serving dinner family-style ensures that all your guests get as much food as they’d like. Fill a few lightweight platters with food and have your guests pass them around the table. This will facilitate conversation among your guests and take away the pressure of having to serve each guest yourself.
GWS Top 5 Takeaway Tips:
1. Make a statement with a bold floral centerpiece.
2. Host a cocktail hour before dinner is served.
3. Create place cards and printed menus so guests know where to sit and what you’re serving.
4. Mix rental items with entertaining pieces you already own.
5. Serve food family-style so guests can help themselves.
Any tips + tricks up your sleeve? We’d love to hear your go-to moves when hosting a dinner party in the comments below!
As always, thank you to the fabulous team of creatives behind this editorial!
photography: Hannah Haston // venue name: The Vintage Round Top, Round Top, Texas, USA // event design: Carmen Collins // planning: Carmen Collins // florals: Davy Gray // paper goods: Carmen Collins // catering: Gold Epicure // tabletop rentals: Eliana Bernard // furniture rentals: Loot Rentals