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11 Tips For Planning And Hosting The Best Dinner Party |

11 Tips For Planning And Hosting The Best Dinner Party

For many of us, kids are back in school, the air is becoming crisper, days are becoming shorter and our thoughts turn from backyard bbq parties to cozy dinner parties indoors. To help us plan the best dinner parties, Monelle Totah, proprietor and founder of Hudson Grace, a lifestyle brand with several stores throughout California, and Bradley Odom, founder and principal of Dixon Rye, a lifestyle shop and interior design studio in Atlanta, Georgia, share their best tips on how to throw a great dinner party as well as holiday helpful tips.

Hudson Grace


Monelle Totah, proprietor of Hudson Grace, recommends preparing and serving southern dishes like Jambalaya, Gumbo, or Etouffee in big oversized white bowls for impact.

Monelle Totah’s Tips for Throwing a Great Dinner Party

  1. Plan it out. Planning out the menu in advance in an important part of the planning process. Totah recommends asking guests if they have any food allergies first and then keeping the menu simple so you can enjoy the evening, too. She often makes southern dishes like Jambalaya, Gumbo, or Etouffee because they are easy to make ahead, delicious and always a crowd pleaser. She enjoys serving them in big oversized white bowls, too, for impact.
  2. Set the table. Setting the table is more than just placing plates and glassware. Be creative and incorporate unique branches or seasonal fruit on the table. “Lemon trees are loaded in California right now,” she says,  “and we are filling big bowls with lemons and branches.” A good tip is to start with a white tablecloth and layer the dinnerware, glasses, flatware. “Linen napkins are the pop of color and helps set the mood,” she adds.
  3. Dim the lights. Lighting plays an important role when it comes to ambiance. “Dim the lights and light lots of candles for the perfect setting,” Totah recommends. “Unscented candles where food is being served, beautiful scented candles throughout the other rooms, starting in the entry to welcome your guests to the powder room and living room can leave a beautiful memory of the evening.” Don’t forget lighting hurricanes outside as they add a beautiful glow to the evening.
  4. Create a signature cocktail. When it comes to drinks, consider creating a signature cocktail for the evening. Her partner Gary McNatton is enjoying sidecars these days while Totah admits she’s favoring martinis. “Any cocktail in a martini glass add a touch of sophistication and cool,” she says. Don’t forget the mocktail for guests who aren’t partaking that evening.
  5. Mind the playlist! Music playing in the background becomes the soundtrack of the evening and makes for a great party. “The more energized the party gets, the louder the music can go,” she says.
  6. Totah’s final tip is to always have fun. “It’s a party, no matter how big or small!”

Sarah Dorio

Bradley Odom recommends bringing the outdoors in when considering decor. “Nature provides the best decoration,” he says.

Bradley Odom’s Tips for Holiday Planning

  1. Stay rooted in nature. “Nature provides the best decoration,” says Odom. “And in the South, you don’t have to travel very far to find magnolia, holly or other greenery that is perfect for a tablescape.”
  2. Timeless pieces transcend trend. “Trends come and go, but you can’t go wrong with a good class hurricane, be it classic or modern,” he adds. “Pieces that have this timeless quality will become heritage pieces that you look forward to seeing all the holiday seasons to come.”
  3. Mix is not mess. Odom realizes that sometimes we avoid using ornaments from our childhood, or ones that were passed down. He says we’re permitted to mix the old with the new. “If mixing ornaments on a tree isn’t your thing, group a few collections with common characteristics to display in few other settings in your home,” he recommends.
  4. Spare is not bare. “Avoid the urge to over decorate,” Odom cautions. “A good spruce tree with lights go a long way and is perfect for the person who is just starting and may not have collected ornaments yet.”
  5. Common threads create cohesiveness. “Finding a common thread and weaving it throughout creates cohesiveness around any source of inspiration,” he notes. “We were inspired by a collection of top hats that give this feel of old world luxury and loved this taffeta table skirt in this unexpected burnt orange. We then carried these common themes and color through with old world African beads and bold orange tape.”

Now, who’s ready to throw a party?

Category: Dinnerware  Tags: ,  Comments off
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