Five Favorites: Fall Entertaining Tips


As we head into the cooler months, we're inviting guests back indoors for cozy autumn gatherings. While prepping for fall's first dinner party, we asked our own entertaining expert-- Events Manager Diane S.-- for tips on hosting this season. She says, "I love to entertain in the fall. The weather is usually great, so you can start the evening on the porch with a cocktail and music, then move inside for an informal dinner as the air gets crisper." Read on for Diane's five best tips for fall gatherings.

1. Start prepping a few days in advance. "I pull out all the serving ware, platters, and glasses I'm planning to use, along with silverware, linens, etc. For a smooth, stress-free event, I put a Post-It on every serving piece, labeling what will go in each one, so I can mentally map out the night."

2. Welcome guests with music. "I have my husband (who is a total music guy and played a guitar in a band for many years) select a playlist for when visitors arrive. I want guests to feel instantly at home and comfortable, and music helps set a relaxing tone."

3. Create a signature cocktail. "This is a must for all my gatherings, making it easy for guests to select a drink. During fall, I love to celebrate the season with ginger, apple, or pumpkin. I'm a big fan of an apple cider sangria! I like to also have a white wine, red wine, and a good beer on hand, in case any guests aren't in the mood for a cocktail."

4. Start with a snack. "My family is big on having home-popped popcorn as a crowd-pleasing appetizer. I like to flavor mine with truffle salt or pink Himalayan sea salt. It's such a simple thing to make moments before guests arrive, as well as an easy snack to enjoy while chatting."

5. Keep dinner casual. "I prefer to serve a lighter, buffet-style dinner, so guests can choose how much they put on their plates. I often opt for a green salad with a truffle oil and balsamic dressing (can you tell I love all things truffle?), and then a casserole. Casseroles sound old-fashioned, but they're a simple way to entertain without being chained to the kitchen, since they can be made beforehand. I want to be with my guests catching up, not in the kitchen missing the fun! Finally, I aim to have dessert be a one-bite option– so that guests don’t feel guilty indulging." 

Diane adds, "My most important tip for entertaining anytime is to take a moment before your guests arrive and relax; I try to grab a quiet minute or two and have a drink with my husband. Your house is clean, the prep work is done, and now it is time to enjoy your friends and family!"

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