West Elm’s Ben Hanley, UK Head of Home Styling, provides us with his top tips on how to host a low effort, high impact autumn dinner party!
Half the stress of entertaining is timing. Making sure everything is ready at the right time, and in the right order, can leave even the greatest of hosts tearing their hair out. Take some pressure off by styling your table BEFORE you get your hands dirty in the kitchen. That way, even if you’re running behind schedule, your guests will be none the wiser and all you have to do is deliver the food.
VEGANS, VEGGIES, GLUTEN FREE – THE LIST GOES ON!
The chances of not having at least one dietary requirement at a dinner party these days is slim. Make it simple and opt to serve a selection of sharing platters that cater to various diets. This allows your guests to take what they know they can eat and minimises food waste too!
CREATE A, SIMPLE BUT EFFECTIVE, TALKING POINT
Do you have a signature cocktail or a way with flowers? Are you secretly a dab hand at calligraphy? It’s the little touches that make all the difference, so dust of those hidden talents and impress your guests with something that might seem simple to you, but will no doubt knock their socks off!
LIGHTING IS KEY
Autumn is a beautiful season, but it comes with a strong helping of summer blues! The days are cooler, the nights begin to close in and everyone is missing the long, lazy evenings and alfresco dining! Lighting is a key component in creating a cosy and welcoming environment, help your guests embrace the season using low level lighting and lots of candles – there’s no such thing as too much when it comes to candles!
DON’T BE SCARED!
It’s cold outside and your guests will be pleased to have a relaxing, warm place to eat good food, drink great wine and enjoy one another’s company – they aren’t there to judge your culinary, styling or hosting skills! Embrace the season, graciously accept offers of help and keep your fingers crossed that they will repay the favour soon!
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