Gathering: fall dinner parties

Poached pear on our Essential Salad Plate in Blush

Setting the tone for your own dinner party feels like the hardest part, even more difficult than finding a night that works for everybody on your guest list.

Want to know a secret? It’s actually not that hard… you just have to know where to start.

You know the tell tale signs: a slight chill in the air, an instinctive increase in movie nights, the shift from bare shoulders to morning sweaters. Yes, early fall has arrived, and with it, we’re feeling more relaxed, more contemplative, and even more communal than before… even if the weather in some parts of the country is still summer in full swing.

But seasonal decorating is often a delicate balance and, for lots of us, maneuvering through the usual suspects — gourds, falling leaves, and pumpkin-flavored-everything — can feel like a feat of its own. We suspect that’s why you’re here, reading this article. Because that’s why we’re here, writing it.

In typical Hawkins style, we like to embrace this seasonal shift from a different angle. We’re eschewing the expected seasonal tropes for their timeless, understated counterparts. We’re drawing inspiration from crisp black and white and distinct, artistic interiors. We’re mixing textures and materials to create a more nuanced, more modern energy. We’re trading Martha Stewart for NYFW, with a hint of Apartmento. And our first stop is dinner parties.

To kick off our journal, we’re starting with cozy, curated dinner parties. No matter how many seats are around the table, you can make any dinner party feel as intimate as a date night when you start on the right foot. So instead of establishing the grocery list, or even the guest list, first, we like to set the scene: the table.

By planning the table before making any other preparations, you can identify and elevate the experience you’re aiming for inside your home. Whether your guests are longtime friends with busy schedules in dire need of reconnection, or a core community who always makes time to get together, choosing your dinnerware, decor, and lighting first encourages you to reflect on the intention behind each gathering and prioritize connection over dinner table optimization. After all, it’s a party, not a commercial kitchen. 

To channel your fall spirit, introduce rich hues into your tabletop and mix them with bright accents — on or off the plate. Our Essential Dinnerware Collection offers a great selection of warm neutrals and bolder tones to mix and match. Once you’ve chosen the most conducive combination of glassware, candle holders, and silverware, you’re primed and ready to build out your menu. 

Within your newly established dinnerware perimeters, your dinner party menu will materialize in a pinch. Keep in mind transferring cookware to serveware (which can make matters more complicated if your casserole dish has seen better days), and how much space you have on your table for any extra dishes thoughtfully brought by your guests. After deciding which recipes are ready for the spotlight, and how much preparation you’re willing or able to provide, it’s finally time. Send out those invitations, select your dining soundtrack — which we’ve conveniently curated just for you — and get to gathering.