6 tips for easy and beautiful autumn entertaining that will help to create beautiful spaces and take the guesswork out of fall and Thanksgiving gatherings.
Fall is the perfect season to spend time with family and friends. From delicious comfort foods, to cozy throws and the warm glow of candlelight, Autumn has the ability to make us want to gather a little closer together and reconnect. For me, entertaining is about loving on the people I care about more than anything else.
The beautiful thing about Fall entertaining is that it can be as sweet and simple as putting out a dessert for everyone to enjoy buffet style, or more intricate with place settings, a centerpiece and full tablescape. I have made a list of a few of my favorite Fall entertaining tips that can also be perfect for the big Thanksgiving dinner as well.
I am sharing these tips as part of a fun blog tour today. If you are coming over from The Happy Housie, Welcome!
Keep Entertaining Basics on Hand
Whether it is a cake being served buffet style or a decked out tablescape, the bones are the same- basic plates, flatware, and serveware. One of the things that I have tried to do over the years has been to collect key pieces that make putting together (often throwing together) a tablescape quick and easy. I have basic white dinner, salad, and dessert plates, classic everyday flatware that is pretty enough to entertain, quality neutral glassware, and a collection of white platters and serveware. I even keep a stash of basic white heavy paper plates, and nicer plastic utensils and clear cups for those times where I am entertaining a large crowd or simply don’t want to have to do the dishes.
Note- they don’t have to be white, but I do recommend they be neutral in some form. Colors come in and out of style, but neutrals will last much longer.
It doesn’t have to be expensive either. The best part about this approach is that you can collect these basic pieces over time as you can afford them or as you find the pieces that you truly love. I generally have a high/low technique where I invest in my must-have key pieces and fill in with more budget friendly options. For instance, I purchased my plates on clearance at Walmart 10 years ago but I have also invested in nice cookware which doubles as serveware like my favorite cocotte (here). Garage sales are a great place to find these basics as well as great linens. I bought a set of 20 beautiful linen napkins at a yard sale once for around $10. It would easily cost that for a single linen napkin that was new, so it was a great deal. I have just recently upgraded my clearance plates (to these) but I still love the clearance ones I found years ago too.
Other neutral basics to consider keeping on hand- candlesticks, neutral colored candles, table runner or table cloth, chargers, serving spoons, and simple, classic vase.
Supplement with the Seasonal and Trendy Items
Once you have your collection of neutral basics as your base, it is easy to change the look and feel of your tables with accents of varying color palates and decor. A colorful napkin, a patterned bowl, or a beautiful centerpiece can all add personality and seasonal coziness to your space with very little commitment. Printables, fruits, and flowers are all great way to do this as well.
Adding (washable) pillows and throws also adds texture, warmth and charm.
Create an inviting Autumn Centerpiece
My very favorite thing about putting tougher cozy entertaining spaces for fall, is creating fun centerpieces. There are so many beautiful leaves, pumpkins, berries, apples, and other clippings that make this the perfect season to forage for a centerpiece. Even the weeds in the fall are beautiful.
Generally, I use this formula for the center of my tables:
- table runner
- floral arrangement or other natural elements
- sometimes I sprinkle extra little pumpkins, leaves, etc.
Layering is the key to making a table look elegantly and beautifully designed.
These are the general steps I take to build a place setting. I change things up to accommodate certain meals (i.e. soup needs bowls). Note- I am not describing a fancy dinner with traditional table etiquette, but much more of a family-focused approach to create an inviting atmosphere to entertain.
- dinner plates, salad plates, bowls, dessert plates
- layer the napkin on top of (or in between the plates). It can be folded, gathered in a napkin ring, or casually draped.
- I love to add a finishing touch- a piece of fruit, a place card, a printable, or even a little dessert
Sometimes Casual is Best
Sometimes it is easy to get caught up in all of the overwhelming details that we forget that the most important part of autumn entertaining is visiting and reconnecting with family and friends. A stack of plates and forks on the counter next to a cake is a great way to create a cozy space to visit. Even a fall picnic is a special way to gather loved ones.
Focus on the Food
From warm fall soups, to crusty breads, or favorite family dessert recipes, food can play an important role in entertaining. Julia Child said, “A party without cake is just a meeting,” and I have to agree. The wonderful thing about having all of your serveware and basics on hand is that it takes the guesswork out of setting up your cozy entertaining spaces. It leaves more time to focus on the real star- the food!
The biggest thing to remember is that entertaining is a reflection of you, your home, and your style. If you can curate a collection of table and serveware that is true to your style, you can always be prepared to welcome in, and care for, loved ones.
Next stop on the tour is Sand & Sisaland you will love her inviting fall table with pops of beautiful red accents!
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