Fall is fully here, so we wanted to create a festive yet casual dinner setting for our nearest and dearest this season. That is why we have come up with a five-step guide to handle all of your styling needs. We start with what to serve. There are no plated dinners or multi-course meals here; we're simply serving family-style twists on old favorites and updated classics. Even with such a laid-back meal, we know that presentation, and fitting everything on the table, still matters, so we're opting for a layered approach to setting your dinnerware. Inspired by nature and getting back to our roots, we're including hearty delights like root veggies and herbs in the meal and earthy elements like foraged branches and whole squash in the decor. We are so incredibly excited to be celebrating together again, so we're most looking forward to filling our homes with clinking glasses and laughter. From an intimate dinner to Thanksgiving itself, read on for all our tips for setting your fall table.
What's for Dinner
We like a family-style meal for a more casual, intimate dinner feel rather than a formal plated experience for this holiday season. Mix and match serveware ranging from French cutting boards to oval platters and funky bread bowls keeps the overall atmosphere eclectic and fresh. A big, fresh salad with lots of herbs and lemon to start is a must. We're roasting cornish game hen for a smaller gathering with lots of garlic, rosemary, and citrus. Sides include roasted apples and acorn squash with maple and red pepper flakes, freshly baked rolls, roasted root vegetables, and heirloom corn. We love including dips and spreads like garlic butter and cranberry chimichurri, and don't forget the orange wine.
I love the look of dishware that's been collected over time, so we chose to feature our Casafina Pacifica dinnerware collection in multiple hues. By layering the bread, salad, and dinner plates with alternating colors, it brings simple texture and interest to the table and doesn't look so "out of the box."
When selecting serveware and platters, make sure to include a variety of sizes and shapes, especially when serving a family-style meal. Consider height and depth; try piling bread into an easily passable deep bowl rather than a long, low platter to save space. Serve meat on a cutting board to easily facilitate slicing and serving-don't forget to decorate with elements of the meal. For example, roast a few whole cloves of garlic and sliced citrus to scatter around a dish full of those flavors.
Layer it On
I like a layered look for festive plating. Including multiple plates for each meal portion makes the gathering feel more special than typical evenings or even weekly Sunday night pasta dinners.
Start with a large dinner plate and napkin. We loved using a clever folding technique to allow the flatware to rest inside. Make sure to include a sharp knife to cut through meat and crunchy veggies, and keep a butter knife handy for spreading. Next, layer on a salad plate and place the wine glass opposite the flatware to keep things spread out. Finish up with a bread plate and water glass wherever there is room!
Be Merry and Light
We like to start any festive event with a cocktail. Mix up champagne, fresh ginger, lemon, and top off with a piece of star anise for a sparkly and fun aperitif. Mix up a batch beforehand in a pretty decanter and pour into stemless champagne flutes as guests arrive.
For dinner, we're serving orange wine. It has the full-bodied character and depth of a red with the refreshing lightness of a white. Large stemmed glasses feel right for a festive dinner, allowing multiple clinks around the table during spirited toasts. Don't forget a small glass of water for each place setting and a stylish decanter for refills.
Ground Your Look
To conserve table space and leave enough room for family-style serving, we left off the traditional floral centerpiece and instead moved the decor elements to the sideboard. An earthy bouquet of freshly-cut foraged branches rather than a fussy arrangement adds to the casual atmosphere. Plus, a display of whole pumpkins and squash feels both seasonal and offers a subtly sculptural moment. Finally, extra tall taper candles set the mood with a soft glow.