Perhaps more than any other month, September is the definitive month of transition. Culturally engrained in Americans from an early age, September is the month of back to school, a drop in mercury, and falling leaves. Fall fashions in sober palettes appropriate for a return to work are a serious antidote to the carefree summer months. After a summer filled with vacations, beach houses, and outdoor living - September marks the return to the city, and preparation for a return to indoor living.
Autumn offers an array of holidays and entertaining opportunities, from the Jewish holidays, to Halloween, to Thanksgiving, and year-end celebrations. The transition month of September is the perfect moment to take stock of your cupboards, pantries, and sideboards to ensure you are prepared for the months of entertaining, celebration, and merry-making ahead.
What follows is our punch list of must-have items in your Fall entertaining kit.
As daylight hours grow shorter, candles are essential in setting an atmospheric mood. Whether in a jack-o-lantern, adorning a holiday table, or used for religious ceremony – candles are an entertaining must. Stock up on a variety of shapes and sizes – pillars, tapers, and votives – so that when you need them, they’re available for use.
Coat Rack and Hangers
A decidedly unglamorous yet essential element of a well-planned event is a smooth-running coat check. Set one up for your guests in a hallway or entry foyer as an auxiliary cloak room. Manhattan Wardrobe Supply offers a variety of options that fold simply for storage when not in use.
Quality Audio System
Next to good lighting, nothing quite sets the mood like good music. Whatever your taste in this category, it will sound better when transmitted via a high-quality sound system. Even a simple Bose sound dock will envelop a room in a richer, fuller sound.
A well-stocked Bar
Photo courtesy of Seriouseats.com.
Now is a great opportunity to take stock of your provisions and resupply as needed. A well-stocked bar should include at least one bottle each of Vodka, Gin, Whiskey, Rum, and Tequila. Once you’ve got the basics down you can begin building upon these categories and introducing specialty items. Have a few bottles of champagne always chilling in the refrigerator as you never know when you may have something to celebrate. Take stock of barware at this time to ensure you have appropriate glasses, mixers, and disposables – replace as necessary.
Fall is a season of unexpected guests – from holidays to after school playdates. Be sure to have a plethora of dry snacks in the pantry that have a long shelf life. We particularly like pickles, especially when our own, but there is room for variety and creativity here!
Entertaining for more than a few people requires different vessels than day-to-day. From staples like cheeseboards, to oversized bowls and platters – it’s downright essential to have the right vessels handy when entertaining large parties. Buy now at garage sales and flea markets while the weather is still fair – it’s much better to have these ready for you than to scramble when you really need them.
It’s always fun to have something on-hand to start and facilitate conversation. Entertainment can range the gamut from compelling coffee table books to old-school favorites like etch-a-sketch, playing cards, and Mad Libs. Each host must find their own style, but entertainment should reflect both the personality of the host as well as the mood, look, feel, and purpose of the event.
Guest Towels and Scented Candles for Powder Rooms
Always on last minute shopping lists – high quality paper guest towels and tasteful scented candles (Cire Trudon, Diptyque) are thoughtful touches for one of the most intimate rooms in your home. Guests will appreciate the subtlety of this detail.
Seating is often a challenge when entertaining at home, especially in New York where space is at a premium. Whether you have a stash of folding chairs or large floor cushions and pillows that can be arranged to create engaging conversation areas – be sure to think about where people are going to sit and guest comfort.
A Signature Dish
Most importantly, fall is a time for highlighting tradition. You should be really good at making one great dish. Whether it is sweet or savory, guests will remember and look forward to that one really great menu item that you do so well. It will become your signature. So, in the waning days of warm weather, while idly flipping through books and magazines on the beach, ask yourself: what do I want to be known for? What do I do really well? If you can answer that question, you may already be an accomplished host. If you can’t, well, hope for an indian summer.