When it comes to party planning, a lack of square footage can quite literally cramp your style. But your small apartment doesn’t necessarily mean you’re off the hook for hosting duties. Celebrity caterer and home entertaining expert Andrea Correale proves that with the right setup and seasonal elements, hosting a fall dinner soiree is totally possible.
Map outyour space
“To me, it’s all about logistics — it’s really creating a space within your space,” says Correale, president of Elegant Affairs catering. “So many of the apartments are so small, how do you invite 10 to 20 people to this space?”
The key she says is to consider where people congregate. “The bottom line is, wherever you put the bar, that’s where people are going to go first to mix and mingle,” says Correale. “So wherever your biggest space is, that’s where you should set up the bar.” She also emphasizes making use of what you have, or getting it out of the way. “If you have a TV unit, or a bookshelf, clear off what’s normally there and use those shelves for glasses,” suggests Correale. “Or maybe you want to remove a piece of furniture to open up the space to create a flow.”
Set the tone
Ultimately, you want guests to feel warm and welcome. “If you don’t have a fireplace, light lots of candles,” says the party expert. “Tantalize the senses with a pot of fresh apple cider on the stove. Let that permeate through the house. As soon as guests come in, greet them with a little sake cup of soup that warms them up and sets the tone for the fall party.”
Focus onthe theme
In this case autumn. “It’s all about nature,” Correale says. “I love using things that come from a wooded area. It could be acorns, chestnuts, artichokes or pears. I use any kind of pumpkin, gourd or eggplant. Anything that represents harvest.”
Correale suggests filling bowls with your nature knickknacks for your centerpieces or investing in a beautiful tablecloth reminiscent of the season.
“On the dining room or the kitchen table, you want one focal piece that screams the season,” she says.
It’s really all about the food
Of course, guests will be attracted to a table if it’s fully stocked with good eats. Correale suggests making a singular flavor the theme. “Sometimes [for fall] I’ll make pumpkin the theme,” she says. “First I’ll pass out a pumpkin soup in little sake cups. Then we’ll pass out bowls of pumpkin gnocchi or ravioli. You can do roasted pumpkin fries, which are baked in the oven with maple and curry and cumin.”
Another way to fully utilize space and get guest involved she says is to set up a soup bar right on your kitchen stove. “Have two really graceful soups on the stove,” Correale says. “One can be a pumpkin bisque, another can be a corn potato leak soup. Put out a tray of either carved-up pumpkins or bread bowls, and let people help themselves.”