It’s the perfect time of year to invite a group of friends over for a small Autumn dinner party. Fall feels like the time to get cozy with candlelight, comfort food, and good conversation.
Here’s how Howard and I gave an intimate Autumn dinner party (including recipes) in San Francisco that was casual and stress-free so that we could enjoy our guests.
This is an updated post for 2023!
Small Autumn Dinner Party
I like to set the table a couple of days in advance. It’s enjoyable for me. Usually, it’s a mix of things I already own.
Setting The Mood
These peachy pink dahlias and dark red leaves in a black vase nod to Autumn colors.
A grey and rust table runner is paired with earthy red linen napkins and my favorite round placemats. I mentioned on Instagram how I don’t really iron the napkins, I just take them out damp from the dryer and smooth them out by hand.
I bought the white chargers in Mexico (can’t find them here). The salad plates are by Juliska.
On my iPhone, I have lots of playlists and two or three specifically for dinner parties (that I add to whenever I think about it). When our son, Tommy was here and we were relaxing at an outdoor cafe in North Beach, he and I both loved the music, so I asked the owner who it was. He said it was Antoine Villoutreix “Paris Berlin” on Spotify. I downloaded my favorites from the album on Apple music. It was playing during dinner and one of our guests asked for it, too.
You can play this while you read the rest of the post!
I simply used our two tallest taper candlesticks (similar) with two votives in wire baskets that I’ve had for years.
Four Dish Menu
Howard and I split the duties and everything was made in advance. Since it’s a hearty menu, we didn’t have appetizers. We served white wine before and with the salad and a bottle of special red wine (that Howard brought back from France from when we lived there 20 years ago).
I’ve been making this recently since our trip to Greece. Everything was chopped and sliced in advance so that it just took a couple of minutes to assemble.
This made our house smell good all day (Howard had it cooking while watching football)…and had a great aroma for arriving guests.
Decadent but worth it. You could serve a smaller portion size (Howard doesn’t though).
I like to make this tart but this time I cheated and went to a B. Patisserie and purchased their Meyer lemon tart.
It’s really pretty simple to make your guests feel special by hosting a small autumn dinner party. We sent them home with leftovers (and you know the short ribs will be even better the next day).