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Congratulations! Tax season is finally behind us, which means it’s time to bask in the more beautiful aspects of “adulting.” Alongside the paperwork, the bills, and the responsibility comes more agency to express ourselves and create experiences for ourselves and the people we love. It’s easy to get your friends together for an obligatory birthday or anniversary (of anything) dinner, but what says “I’m an adult” more than a spontaneous, for-no-reason beautiful meal? And I say if you’re going to get your people together for a meal, you might as well make it a big deal. Food is just one piece of the ultimate dinner party puzzle! Here’s some simple ways to spice up your evening soiree atmosphere and make your friends say “this is even better than a restaurant.”
Impress your mom, your friends, and most importantly, yourself:
- Whimsical Tablecloth: Bean flower Linen Table Cloth — $329.
- Big Print Tablecloth: Gingham Tablecloth — now $118.
- Blue-green Tablecloth: Bailey Tablecloth - $78.
- Striped Tablecloth: French Stripe Linen Tablecloth – $180.
- Table Runner: Striped Linen Table Runner - $140.
- Colorful Candlestick Holder: Delaney Candlestick - $14.
- Neutral Candlestick Holder: SIN Weylyn Candelabra - $160.
- Brass Candlestick Holder: Emmett Antique Brass Taper Candle Holders, Set of 3 — $105.
- Cutting Board: Teakhaus Cutting Board — Rectangle Carving Board With Hand Grip — $139.
- Butter Dish: Cambria Stoneware Butter Dish - $18.
- Pitcher: Essential Pitcher — $28.
- Dried Flower Bouquet: Dried Flower Bundle in Blue — 8–16″ - now $9.95.
Bean Flower Linen Table Cloth - $329.
Any random table can be made special by the right cloth. However—all squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares.Similarly, all tablecloths are cloths, but not all cloths are tablecloths. My mother (a Birmingham-based interior designer) has repeatedly emphasized to me that quilts, fabric samples, and even curtains can double as a table cloth which is why I’m so in love with Julia Amory’s wearable pareos which could totally double as a tablecloth (on a smaller table). However, if you are ready to invest in a table-specific cloth, it’s best to start by asking yourself: what’s my vibe? Neutral and clean? Bold and fun? Matchy-matchy to plates or placemats?
I’m in love with gingham and think the mega-gingham print of this Serena and Lily tablecloth is such a classic! If you’re ready for a really bold print, everything made by Furbish is totally epic, and this tablecloth is so much fun. For a more neutral cloth that isn’t just a plain color, go for a striped cloth like this one. And if you like the stripes but don’t want to cover your table completely, check out this stunning table runner. Finally, if you’re going for whimsical (like me) this bean flower linen tablecloth is yours.
Delaney Candlestick — $14.
Cool, colored glasses have hit the market hard as a trend for the past few years now. If you’re a color lover (like me) and ready to take your glassware dedication to the next level, it’s time to add some candle stick holders (that match your glassware) to your dinner party toolkit. Candles create such ambient and gentle light, and beautiful holders make your front yard picnic table feel romantic as heck! Anthropologie makes some gorgeous , handcrafted candle holders that don’t break the bank.
If you’re more of a neutrals gal, I suggest getting funky with the shape of your candle holders to create visual variety on your tablescape without the busyness of color. This wave multi-candle holder is an epic design! Another neutral, more classic option is to go with brass candle holders like these which can be used year round for years to come.
Probably my favorite way to make my dinner guests swoon is with a tray of freshly baked (still warm) bread. Before you roll your eyes at me for being a pandemic-induced bandwagoner listen up. If you haven’t baked your own bread lately (or ever), I’m going to remind you that it’s way, way easier than you think and way, way more delicious than slightly stale store-bought bread even from a bakery.It makes your entire home fill with the warm and glowy feeling of delicious goodness.
My favorite and fastest recipe is this one for beer bread by Tieghan Gierard. It’s literally five ingredients and one of them is beer. After baking this, put it on a cutting board that makes a statement (or matches your table cloth,wink wink) alongside a little dish of butter and your friends will declare you a Michelin star chef even if you make nothing else on the table.
Essential Pitcher — $28.
One of the easiest ways to get the party started is with a batch cocktail in a big glass pitcher. Think sangria, Moscow Mules, or Aperol Spritz, in bulk! Make a batch of two servings for each person you invite over then store it in a large cooler or bottle in your fridge. Pour what you can into a beautiful pitcher like this one, supply your guests with matching glasses, and let go! Your party has begun.
If you want to go the extra mile, stow some special ice for the cocktails somewhere accessible to guests so they can still serve themselves. I like using unusual shaped or large ice maker squares with a mold then putting them in a small cooler near the dinner table. I also add a final touch to my table with fresh flowers from my local grocer. If buying fresh flowers over and over again feels like too much to you, consider getting a dried flower bouquet instead that you can use endlessly with no problem.
And remember to enjoy the process of party preparation! Dive into the magical moments of creating a little world for you and your buddies to enjoy. Celebrate random Thursday nights and obscure holidays. Gather together people you know who don’t know each other. Assign a creative theme and require costumes. Do whatever it takes to make good use of your pitcher and matching table cloth, share your summer party scenes with our crew, and H.A.G.S.!