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For our “Goodbye Summer” Dinner Party, we wanted to soak up the last of what summer had to offer. Where better to achieve this than in a backyard? The fall chill has set in, giving us the ability to create a warm and inviting atmosphere in a dining room. If we had more time, we would have loved to host this dinner to the barn. Fall dinners yearn for rustic and simple surroundings – perfect settings for candlelit dinners amongst friends. If you have options, choose a venue that sets the mood. If not, do not fret! It is always possible to create the right mood wherever you chose to host the party.

Candles set any dinner party apart. For ours, we chose a stunning pair of vintage brass holders, the perfect color compliment to our floral centerpiece. When choosing your candlesticks, make sure to test them out. You do not want your guests’ line of sight to be impeded by the holders. In addition, search for candleholders that do not overpower the table or take up too much room. For our fall dinner gathering, we wanted to keep the feeling casual. To achieve this, spatially arrange the table to keep food close to each guest. This ensures that guests will be able to avoid bothering others with phrases such as “Excuse me” and “Do you mind passing the bread?” Keeping food close to guests also guarantees that all of your food will be eaten, as guests will be free to graze throughout the evening.

The floral centerpiece is low enough so guests can converse across the table with ease. As mentioned, the candleholders are sparse and easily avoided, allowing for maximum eye contact.

To continue the simple theme, we chose a wonderful white ironstone plate. Ironstone plates work seamlessly with our collection of ironstone service-ware that we used to serve the meal. Choose something complementary for your table: not too flashy or gaudy. Additionally, make the table setting easy for your time commitment. You do not want to stress out all week and then be too tired to enjoy the evening you worked so diligently to prepare. Use what you have on hand and make do; your guests will be impressed no matter what! Our table took very little time to perfect – this is exactly what you should strive to achieve. With a bountiful floral arrangement made days in advance and candleholders that were pulled out of storage, we were ready to entertain.

With casual fall relaxation being the name of the game, we went with white linen napkins laid upon each plate. Cloth napkins may seem like a large amount of effort, but they have great benefits. Cloth is a simple way to be environmentally friendly while adding a touch of class that we seem to have lost in much of our daily life. Plan on setting the table a few days in advance, giving you the time to make changes. Avoiding last minute table preparation will ensure you have ample time to prepare the meal and feel ready the day of the dinner.

We all want to be a gracious host and the best way to do so is to simply be relaxed yourself! Not everything will go perfectly but be creative and have fun!

In the next post, we will show you how the evening goes, give you a timeline for the day of the event, and help you find the perfect playlist!

-Happy Preparing!

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