The fall weather has been glorious these last couple weeks. Our Stagg Design stylist, Melissa, has been itching to throw an outdoor party. She is a master entertainer and themed the gathering “Fall Favorites by the Fire.” Today we’re sharing all of the swoon-worthy details so you can throw your own fall favorites party!
Melissa’s plan was simple enough: create an experience with appropriately themed and easy decor, and delicious food. Every details had to be centered around a cozy fire outdoors. In addition, each of the attendees would be asked to bring one favorite item that embodies the fall season to give away!
Melissa’s biggest tip for a gathering is to prep ahead of time. She can’t emphasize this enough. The hostess should enjoy the party too, and her biggest secret is to prep as much as you can ahead of time. Finding recipes for your menu that can be made in advance is a huge time saver and stress reducer. For the menu, she wanted to go the direction of something rich, warm, and satisfying. She chose to serve Beef Bourguignon (a classic braised french beef stew) which she served over buttery, creamy mashed potatoes. Rich, warm, and satisfying? Triple check. Even better, both can be made a day in advance. She kept the pre-made items in the fridge, and then brought them to a hot, serving temperature an hour before the party.
By making the main dishes ahead of time, it keeps your kitchen– and lets be honest your brain– less chaotic the day of the party. She assigned some friends to bring a couple appetizers. On the day of the party, she compiled a fall salad and baked some easy flaky parmesan puff pastry rolls. It was the perfect fall menu.
The decor called for something pretty, autumn-esque, and simple.
Simple tablecloths with a natural color scheme set the scene. For centerpieces, she selected some inexpensive filler stems at the grocery store picked two days before. The day before she arranged them in small vases and extra pitchers. And finally the day of the party, she dotted them throughout the tables. To accentuate the autumnal feel, small white pumpkins accompanied the little vases. Evening outdoor gatherings just beg for lots of pretty lights, which came in the form of candles, bistro hanging lights, and natural glow of the fire.
Melissa is a firm believer that the hostess can and should enjoy the party as much as the guests. The crux to that enjoyment is prep ahead of time and practice, practice, practice. The more you practice “party throwing”, the better you’ll be at finding a balance between keeping it simple and special.