October 11, 2021 | Cooking

7 Keys to Hosting a Great Fall Dinner Party

meat and vegetables

The fall season is here! That means beautiful colored foliage, a social calendar that is slowly filling up, a little pumpkin spice added to everything, and a feeling of coziness in the air. This season is favored by many – likely since it is the kickoff to the holiday season. 

Before too many fall events take away free time, why not plan to have a great fall dinner party that will get everyone in the fall mood? 

Here’s the thing, though – if you are going to do this, you are going to do it right. You cannot just have people over to eat around a pumpkin centerpiece. No, no. You need to go big. From the moment they walk in the door, your guests should feel like they have been transported to your own little version of a harvest fest. 

Are you ready? Here are 8 keys to hosting an unforgettable fall dinner party.

1. Indoors or Outdoors?

Fall is the perfect time of year to be outdoors. That cool, crisp feeling in the air that makes you want to grab a fuzzy blanket and curl up by the fire only adds to the most magnificent backdrop of oranges, yellows, reds, and browns. Of course, fall outdoors can vary depending on where you live. You want your guests to be comfortable, not too cold or too hot. So base your decision on your location.

For those of you who have invested in an outdoor kitchen, hosting a fall dinner party outdoors is a great time to use it. 

2. Don’t Over Think the Menu

Just because you are encouraged to go above and beyond for an incredible dinner party does not mean you need to make it all complicated on yourself. 

Instead, opt for things that you can easily make, you know will taste great, and that everyone will love. 

3. Create a Signature Cocktail

When you host a dinner party, your guests are going to want a drink. Unless you have an entire bar full of various liquors and mixers, as well as a selection of beer and wine, it is going to be difficult – and expensive – to serve everyone’s tastes. However, if you can focus on one signature fall drink. and make it the signature drink, then you can appeal to all interests and save yourself a little bit of money and aggravation. 

Your signature fall cocktail could have flavors of apple, pumpkin, ginger, nutty, and more. There is so much you can do with these fall flavors. Mulled wine is another perfect option. 

4. Make the Table Count

The table for your fall dinner party should be beautiful. It should be fancy enough to have a tablecloth and cloth napkins that both screams fall when you walk into the dining area. But it should also have a simple centerpiece that consists of fall-colored flowers or pumpkins or gourds. You can even partake in some DIY centerpieces using things like candles, pine cones, candy corn, and other things. You can create something beautiful and breathtaking in a matter of minutes. It doesn’t have to make your great fall dinner party fancy, but it could if you wanted it to. 

The idea is to make your guests feel like this is a special night. It is not just another paper plate, throw hot dogs on the grill and drink a beer sort of get-together. And a set table with all the fixins’ is the perfect way to make that statement

5. Have a Campfire

If you have a fire pit or the ability to have a fire in your backyard, you should do so after dinner. Invite everyone outdoors around the fire. Supply some cozy blankets and comfortable seating. This is a great way to incorporate the fall season into the evening — by enjoying the fall weather you’ve waited all year for. 

If you want, you can even make a dessert out by the campfire with things like s’mores or chocolate marshmallow banana boats

Gather everyone up, bring the drinks and the sweet treats, maybe turn some music on low, and finish out of a fantastic evening. Having an outdoor refrigerator to keep the drinks cold or an outdoor kitchen storage cabinet to keep everything you need close by can make the process even smoother. 

6. Make it Fun

Make the evening memorable and fun for everyone. That means you have to have some entertainment. And, no, we don’t mean anything formal like hiring a band. See, the conversation is great but sometimes you need a little activity to break the ice and get that conversation flowing — or just to lighten the mood or allow everyone to laugh and just feel good. 

Depending on your crowd, this could mean pulling out the board games, creating a fun game of charades, or make it a drinking game. Though, the latter may be the best option as an after-dinner shenanigan. 

7. Give Yourself Enough Time

Finally, just make sure you give yourself enough time to prepare. Hosting any dinner party can be overwhelming and tough — especially a great fall dinner party kicking off the season. It is a lot of pressure,  but it doesn’t have to be if you allow yourself time. 

Start planning in advance – way before you even invite anyone. That way, when you do, everything is in order and ready to go with ease. Get your supplies for your table setting, determine an easy menu — and maybe even do a test run to make sure the recipes are good and the food is enjoyable, and try a few signature cocktails until you find “the one.” After all, your entire night can be planned beautifully, but if the booze is bad? Well, let’s just say that’s a definite party foul. 

Let’s be real, though – the fall season makes us all a little giddy so just getting together with friends to celebrate it is enough to earn the title Great Fall Dinner Party.