I should do it more often. And now that we have created an outdoor space perfect for entertaining, I am making a promise to myself that I will. That is a promise to more often have an easy going (stress free hostessing!) evening with drinks, foods and friends.
This past weekend, I threw together an at home happy hour with girlfriends to celebrate the start of fall. It was a magical, crisp autumn night where we were able to sip wine outside in comfort. We sat on the patio and grazed off platters of cheese, crudites and charcuterie. As the sun set, the table was lit by candlelight and a fire was started in the fire pit so our time outdoors was extended that much further.
It was an evening where I was able to sit, relax and enjoy myself just as much as my guests. And the the key to doing this, is being able to prepare as much as you can ahead of time.
Tips for Effortless Fall Entertaining
I find anytime I have a system down of doing things, it is that much easier to take things on. The same holds true for entertaining! While I love the idea of a sit down dinner, providing a social gathering where I get to be a guest too, makes for a less stressful evening. Here are some tips that help me do this!
Use Neutral Serving Pieces.
I collect white serving pieces and wood cutting boards that I can whip out anytime of year. They are perfect for easily putting together food spreads.
Incorporate Small Bowls.
I love filling assorted small bowls with olives, nuts, crackers, dips and chocolates. They complement the platters nicely and add some dimension to the table setting.
Add Seasonal Color (with food and florals).
Colorful food and florals indicative of the season are the perfect way to dress up your neutral serving wear and add ambiance to your table. For this time of year, I love peppers, dried fruit and a salad filled with grains and root vegetables. Perhaps my favorite part of putting my table together is creating a floralscape. Greens are my favorite with added pops of color. For autumn, I love using seeded eucalyptus leaves and fruit.
Fill Platters Ahead of Time.
What I love about using platters and bowls is that everything you place on them can be done ahead of your guests arriving. Use an assortment of cheeses, meats, dried fruits, veggies and dips. I usually create one simple dish ahead of time as well. In this case, I made my Fall Harvest Salad.
Mix in Formal Pieces.
To add your own personal touch to your table dust off those wedding gift pieces! I love mixing and matching basic serving wear with a few formal items. I incorporated my mother of pearl knives from my grandmother, antique jelly spoons, crystal and vintage barware and sterling silver serving wear.
Set the Mood.
If your evening takes place outdoors, lighting candles and building a fire set the perfect mood for when the sun goes down. I also love filling an outdoor basket with blankets and wraps that my guests can grab if they get chilly.
Velour jumpsuit here
Sources for Effortless Entertaining
I stick to two stores that I know I can count on to gather food for entertaining. Trader Joe’s has the perfect size containers of nuts, crackers and chocolates for filling small bowls. I usually pick up an assortment of veggies, dips and dried fruit there as well. And I ALWAYS gather my greens and florals here for making my centerpieces. For cheeses, meats, olives and wines I am lucky enough to have the best cheese store in town, Caputos, to help me finish off my list.
If you watch my Instagram stories, then you know hardly a week goes by that I am not popping into Seasons 440. I am always finding entertaining inspiration in this beautiful space! Planters, serving plates, jute basket, and throws all provided and sourced from Seasons 440.
Over the years, I have collected various neutral serving pieces. If I see something interesting and functional, it usually ends up in my shopping cart! I have linked a good portion of my go-to retailers for this below.
Jute Bag, Throws, Wood Board all Seasons 440
White Serving Pieces:
Photos by Jules Kennedy
Thanks for stopping by!