A New Season is Near
Join me as I host a dinner with dear friends and celebrate a time to relax and to share a meal together. This month I have curated a special, seasonally inspired dinner party centered around elements of autumn and gathering around the table.
The transition of seasons is always exciting and inspiring. To me, 'Back to School' season signifies the start of autumn, so I took a cue from seasonal colors, textures, and flavors when planning the details of my gathering.
I came across a French recipe by Mimi Thorisson I knew I wanted to make for the main course, and from there decided to incorporate a few more French touches to the gathering.
Every month, six girlfriends and I get together for dinner at one of our houses. With the busy life of work and family, it's typically hard to get away, but this has become such a special time for us to catch up.
This month, it was my turn to host, and I wanted to make sure this dinner was a time we could all just relax and enjoy before the hustle of the school year starts, while making it a little extra special and memorable.
I wanted to spend as much time sitting around the table, enjoying each other's company. I knew for us moms, it wouldn’t be realistic to have a 5-hour dinner party like the French, so instead of spending a lot of time conversing in the living room during appetizers, I wanted the flow of this party to be around the table. Which meant, I needed to make the table a space to encourage lingering a little longer.
A Few Key Elements to my Autumn Table:
A mustard tablecloth to set the foundation for the rest of the look to come together.
Our Blush Collection has a feminine, yet seasonal touch, and the pieces fit my menu perfectly.
Since the food wasn't going to be served family style, I went with a fuller centerpiece to bring in more seasonal elements. I grouped together dried foliage for a punch of color, piled up some extra squash I had, and lit candles in festive leaf votives.
The MenuIn true French fashion, I planned a coursed meal with drink pairings to formalize the occasion a bit. To avoid being stuck in the kitchen all night, I chose a main course and accompanying courses that could be prepared ahead of time and served periodically as the night progressed.
L'Aperitif: Olives and Champagne
L'Entree/Hors D’oeuvres: Baked Squash with a Garlic Cream Sauce
Palate Cleanser: Sorbet
Salad: Simple Greens with a Champagne Vinaigrette
Cheese: Assorted French Cheeses
Spiro Wine: My dear friend Spiros recently started an online boutique wine store that delivers wine locally to their home in Tampa, as well as ships within the state of Florida. As an expert on wine, I knew he’d be the perfect person to choose the pairings for each course. I sent him the menu I had planned, and he planned the pairings!
L'Entree/Hors D’oeuvres: Belena Macon-Villages Les Roches 2017
Main Course: Chateau Puech-Haut Prestige Rouge
Salad: Alain Graillot Crozes-Hermitage
I chose a calming, French playlist from Spotify for the evening to not only fit the theme, but to add a relaxing element to the dinner party.
- Printed Menu
- As a guest at other events, I've always admired a printed menu at my place setting, especially when it features the intricate pairings to take and reference later.
Macarons from Au Péché Mignon
- I swung by a local French bakery for a quick, simple party favor to fit the French theme. Assorted packaged macarons doubled as a happy surprise for the kids at home!
Host Your Own Autumn Celebration
Here are some simple steps to set your table for your next celebration. I was able to create a big impact with minimal effort for my friends and made them feel special.
1. Gather your Table Components
- Pull together elements of textures and seasonal colors to give your table a sense of direction and theme.
- Consider your menu, what are you serving? Here, I set the table with a dinner plate for the final courses and layered a bowl for the first course.
- Layer in napkin, utensils, and glasses as finishing touches. I went with warmer colors, textures and tones to keep it seasonal for autumn.
- For my dinner party, I served a coursed meal, so the centerpiece was able to be fuller instead of having to leave room for serving dishes.
- I always add candlelight to a gathering for a nice, cozy factor. Plus, soft lighting encourages guests to linger around the table longer.
- Don’t forget to include your seasonal elements with some autumn leaves and a few extra ingredients from the menu for a nice cohesive touch.