Bring the luck of the Irish to your tablescape with a few key pieces just in time for Saint Patrick's Day. When it comes to your traditional Irish feast, dishware for your stew and stout will make your meal memorable, while green linens and gold accents offer a lucky touch. Once your table setting is complete, the only thing you'll need to do is pour the Guinness!
While some people believe that dinner parties can only be thrown on a Friday or Saturday night, I happen to think that any evening is a great time to host a dinner! Annie, of TrèsSugar, agrees because she hosted one last night, on a Monday! Before she left work, I offered some of my suggestions for a successful weeknight dinner. To find out what they are and to share your own, keep reading.
Last-minute dinner parties can be stressful, but can also be incredibly fun! Some of the best gatherings I've hosted have been spontaneous. The key, though, is not to overreach — trying to pull off an elaborate four-course meal at the last minute is definitely more stressful than fun! I like to keep a few dishes in my back pocket that are tried and true, crowd-pleasing, and that I know I can pull off on short notice. Homemade pasta is one, and my dad's recipe for roasted lemon-rosemary chicken is another.
What's your go-to meal for a last-minute dinner party?
Last week, San Francisco royalty Alexis and Trevor Traina held a luncheon at their stately Beaux Arts manse to fête the De Young's new "Balenciaga and Spain" exhibit curated by American Vogue's Europe editor at large, Hamish Bowles. Dripping in sophistication and sprinkled with irreverence, the house in posh Pacific Heights is everything you'd expect the home of a well-connected Internet entrepreneur and the creative director of Swanson Vineyards to be. Just one look at the gorgeous couple's dining room interiors and I'm bursting with inspiration for an equally chic Spring celebration of my own.
Here are some ideas for re-creating this look:
- Choose a cool color to use throughout your textiles like a grassy green, and add touches of a warm color like cranberry in accents to balance it.
- Dining chairs upholstered in avocado green chevron ikat are one surefire way to create a gorgeous luncheon setting. But if your guest list exceeds your seating supply, rent some gilded chiavari chairs to accomodate more of your fabulous friends.
- Paint your walls a crisp, classic white like Benjamin Moore's Decorator's White and stain your wood floors a dark hue. Then layer in the color and glamour with accessories, textiles, and furniture.
- Have a seamstress make a pair of pintuck curtain panels for every window made of the richest silk you can find. Make sure they're long enough to romantically spill onto the floor.
- Give your table a youthful look by surrounding it by a loveseat or sofa on one side. Have it upholstered in a fresh, floral damask fabric like Designers Guild Campanile Wedgwood.
If you're entertaining friends at a Spring soiree, you need a setup that's as fresh as the produce you're incorporating in the meal. With rustic touches and a nod to the crisp green asparagus in this vegetarian lasagna and the ruby-red strawberries in the bruschetta appetizer and berry curd cake, I've put together some seasonal party must haves that are sure to be a hit. For your entrée, serve guests on these pretty De Vincennes dinner plates ($24), and for dessert, scoop vanilla ice cream into these berry-red Latte Bowls ($20). Don't forget to decorate your table with these ceramic fruit baskets ($20-$38) filled with flowers. To shop the rest of the look, click on the images above!
Even if the weather isn't reflecting the season quite yet, the markets in Northern California are showing signs of Spring. What better way to celebrate than by inviting friends over for a delicious meal? I've looked through our recipes and created a menu that's perfect for entertaining at this in-between time. It features the beloved produce of the season (strawberries and asparagus!) and the majority of the dishes are vegetarian, but more importantly, they can be made in advance, which is a must in my book for any successful dinner party.
YumSugar editor Katie Sweeney recently hosted a Moroccan-theme dinner party and shared a photo of her decor with the Lovely Little Vignettes group. She writes, "Here is the tablescape from my half birthday dinner party last night. I did a Moroccan menu and had everyone sit on the floor around my coffee table." The table setting looks fabulous, doesn't it!? Not only do I love this exotic style, but it caters to those of us (like yours truly) who don't have a dedicated dining room. I have a small bistro table that seats a few guests, but my large coffee table would much more easily seat a party of eight for a cozy bash like this one.
Now I'm feeling inspired to whip up some couscous and a lamb dish for friends in my own home. So I've done some shopping and rounded up some Moroccan tabletop decor for the fete. Check it out below!
With Christmas just around the corner, you may find yourself doing more than your fair share of celebrating at other people's houses. And, as good as classic holiday dishes are, they tend to be rich in flavor because they're full on fat. It's definitely OK to indulge a little, but to balance out all of the high-calorie meals being served this season, bring a dish with you. It's an easy way to guarantee that there will be whole grains and fresh veggies wherever you are.
The next time you're invited to a dinner party, check with your hosts to see if you can bring a healthy appetizer like this chipotle hummus with veggies or a filling side dish like this quinoa with roasted butternut squash. While I've yet to encounter anyone who has taken offense, gauge your hosts first — chances are they won't say no once they know you're bringing a batch of these pumpkin-carrot bars with cream cheese frosting!
With a few simple additions, one can transform an everyday dining room into a harvest-themed haven. Start by putting a festive wreath on the front door, guests will be in the spirit from the moment they arrive. Cover the table in a luxurious army green cloth and set with cream-colored plates. Bake the potpies in individual vessels like these Le Crueset ramekins (which are on sale for $10). Pumpkins and gourds double as decorations when arranged with pretty votives on the table. Place a punch bowl on a nearby banquet table and have everyone help themselves to a glass of kumquat-pomegranate punch. Serve the pumpkin rice pudding in clear glass bowls — I love this set of 12 from Crate & Barrel ($19). Don't forget mood lighting and a bouquet of fresh seasonal flowers!
Have you hosted a dinner party recently? How did you decorate the table?