November is the perfect month for celebrating with family and friends. But for people who aren’t innate hostesses or tablescape designers (i.e. most people), dinner parties can be a bit overwhelming. We’ve come up with 3 November specific dinner party layouts, including decor and recipes, that’ll have your guests in awe of your hosting capabilities.
Alas, November. The brief respite of Columbus Day seems waaay too long ago, let alone summer with its glorious pool parties and warm vacations. Even in the most temperate climates, cold has begun to set in, leaving us despairing at the long wait until holiday break.
So, how to obtain relief? This year, we’re advocating for family, friends, parties, and food. Thanksgiving, the most famous dinner party of all time, is coming up, but we’re not waiting until the end of the month to celebrate November and neither should you.
We’re choosing to focus on the things that make November fabulous. We’ve set up 3 dinner parties (one per weekend until Thanksgiving), so you can too.
WEEK ONE: NOVEMBER NIGHT
There a lot of reasons to celebrate in November. So let’s kick it off with a bang! Spend your first weekend doting on the things that November is known for. Here’s a few of them: November is the birth month of the Scorpio, the month’s flower is the delicate chrysanthemum, the stone is the yellow topaz, and national carbonated caffeinated beverages and national pomegranate day fall during this month.
In any case, we think you’ll agree that November things are worth a little extra love. Parents, give yourself a break, and make this an adults only party. If you’re childless, meet up with your friends and treat yourself. Basically, this party should be a moment to appreciate the beauty of November and unwind amidst the craze of work-heavy fall.
A night without little kid fingers means you get to use the colors that are off-limits every other night of the year: WHITES.
Place a creamy off-white runner over a natural wood table. Use plates with a hint of yellow topaz color and gold or rose gold flatware to embrace that autumn flair. (They come in plastic, disposable versions—we aren’t pretentious.)
Roll up your beige cloth napkins (we lean towards rose tones), and tie with leather cord or thin velvet ribbon, ideally the deep color of sweet pomegranates. Feeling creative? Make your own herb napkin holders. Take a sprig of rosemary, loop to the desired size, and tie ends together with a bit of string.
For a floral touch, use chrysanthemums as the centerpiece. Place them in tall, glass vases, and tie rosy string or ribbon around the vases as a finishing touch. If you’ve got a scorpio on your guest list, pay a little homage to their star sign in the decor!
National caffeinated carbonated beverage day occurs in November. While we acknowledge all carbonated sodas as great human inventions, we’re inclined to say Coca Cola products take the cake. Try this “Coke-jito” recipe with fresh mint and lime. For you non-drinkers, you’ll love this “Dirty” Diet Coke mixture.
Nothing says fall quite like the colors and flavor of butternut squash. Start the meal with this sweet and satisfying Butternut Squash Apple Bruschetta.
The infamous forbidden fruit. Pomegranate. Its national day occurs in November too. Incorporate it into your main dish with this simple Parsley and Pomegranate Chicken. We’re pretty sure all taste buds will be pleased.
With an appetizer and entrée like that, your meal has thus far been quite sweet. Balance it out with a bit of satisfying bitterness for dessert. We suggest this Olive Oil Cake with Bittersweet Chocolate and Rosemary. (Okay, it’s still a little sweet.)
WEEK TWO: FREEDOM FESTIVITIES
In 2017, November 11 falls on a Saturday, which is a perfectly appropriate day to host an affair. This year, celebrate our veterans and remember their sacrifices by getting together with your family and friends. And, of course, you can use the opportunity to celebrate all the things that make our country great—freedom, equality, and the opportunity to dream big.
To help keep the real reason for the party in mind, put together a care package for a soldier. You supply the packaging and postage. Then, ask guests to bring donations of beef jerky, DVDs, books, magazines, and leftover Halloween candy to your home. If you have kiddos running around, ask them to write notes to soldiers, thanking them for their service. If you don’t have a specific soldier in mind, call a nearby military base to find out how to best reach troops. (Packages addressed to “any soldier” will be refused for safety reasons.)
There’s nothing wrong with the classic red, white, and blue. However, when it comes to the use of patriotic colors in decor, we tend to think that less is more. Using white as the base color, add red and blue pops of color where and when you like. Let what you already have direct how you decorate. For example, if you already have blue plates, use a white tablecloth and white napkins, with red napkin holders.
For centerpieces, keep it simple. Use several mason jars to hold hydrangeas or your favorite flower. Make a knot around the rim of the jar with red, blue, or white patterned ribbons.
And, of course, don’t forget to hang your flag and all-American bunting on the walls! These are the final touches that will make your party decor come together.
We recommend these Pecan Cheese Wafers, which, let’s face it, just sounds Southern.
Veteran’s Day is about celebrating the things that America is good at. We apologize to those averse to red meat, but that means the textbook burgers and fries. Try this delicious Bacon Blue Cheese Burger with Carmelized Onions recipe, using your home-grown veggies to top it off. Then, surprise your guest with a healthy twist on fries—Rosemary Parsnip Fries.
It may be that American food culture generally falls short compared to Italian or French cuisine, but our desserts definitely hold their own. This original take on the quintessential chocolate chip cookie is sure to make everyone happy.
WEEK THREE: SADIE HAWKINS SOIRÉE
“Sadie Hawkins” probably brings up obscure memories of ‘that one’ middle school dance you attended years ago. You know, the one where the girls were supposed to ask out the boys. Seventy-five years after the first Sadie Hawkins day, this concept is substantially less progressive, but we still love what it stands for—empowering women and young girls to take initiative and lead.
Lucky for us, Sadie Hawkins day AND National Men Make Dinner Day fall in November. Which means, it’s time for a celebration of women. Use this dinner party has a moment to reflect on all the women that have made this world great, and all the women that have shaped who you are—political leaders, artists, mothers around the world, and of course, grandma.
Really, this one’s up to you. Women power means it’s your choice. Choose your favorite theme, color, flower, or plate set, and go to town!
If you’re stuck, choose your favorite powerful woman, and center the decor around her. For my family, it’s Wonder Woman, which seems like it should be a casual, all-paper place set party. Find all the comic book party supplies you can (my go-to stores are Target or Party City), or check out this preassembled party set on Etsy. Give out paper Wonder Woman headdresses for dinner, and place bowls of red sixlets and gold rolos in the center of the table for post-meal snacking, replete with go-to containers for guests.
Use your home-grown radishes to make these addictive Radish Chips. You can eat this as an appetizer or as a side to your entrée, but either way, the chips will be a hit.
After dinner, a light refreshing tang is always welcome. Finish your meal off with this fun Lemon Verbena Cream!
Words like “tablescape” and “hosting” can seem intimidating and out of reach. But these adaptable suggestions are a way to illustrate how stylish, playful dinner parties are attainable no matter your taste or budget. Three parties for three weeks of November—November Night, Freedom Festivities, and Sadie Hawkins Soirée. The fourth week of November, of course, is Thanksgiving, but that requires a post of its own at another time.
In sum, we just want you to take this busy, stress-filled month, and find a moment to relax and socialize with your loved ones. A dinner party with good friends and family is the ultimate way to refresh our mental and emotional capacity for life, to remind ourselves what is truly important, and to recommit to our reasons for working so hard every day.
We invite you to unleash your creative power with November and relish this invigorating, occasionally chaotic, time of the year with your nearest and dearest. Add your twist to these party plans, and let us know what you’ve created by tagging us on Facebook and Instagram.