Last week, I was able to host an end of summer dinner al fresco up in New Jersey with some of the dearest women in my life. I lived in New Jersey for the majority of my life, and all but one of my seven siblings are still up there. My sister was visiting NJ from California, so it was the perfect opportunity to put together this special gathering and come together around the table. For this beautiful dinner, I worked with Noonday Collection to introduce my friends and family to the brand, and shop for beautiful jewelry and accessories handmade by Artisans around the world. I love the philosophy behind Noonday Collection; they encourage their Ambassadors to partner with Hostesses in their communities. Hostesses gather their friends together to shop and get styled, while Ambassadors share the incredible stories of transformation behind each Artisan-made piece. Noonday cares deeply about bringing people together to create meaningful opportunities.
My goal in hosting a dinner is to create a welcoming space where friends and family don’t ever want to leave. I try to keep it simple, but do like to be attentive to needs and details. A few neutral layers from the tablecloth, plates and napkins. A pop of color from a few bucketsful of local blooms. My favorite source for blooms are pick your own farms, which will give your table a unique, seasonal look. For this table, I was able to pick zinnias, thistle, gomphrena, cosmos, hydrangeas, and a few filler greens. When local farms aren’t an option, or it’s the middle of the winter, visit your grocery store’s floral department, and see if they can place a special order for you! I love using eucalyptus and tree fern, which tend to be more affordable than larger blooms. Then you can add color with a few blooms, and if you choose blooms that are in season, the cost per stem will be less!
I like to keep the menu hearty and satisfying, like a roast chicken with potatoes, tomato and beet salad, fresh corn on the cob, hot baguettes straight from the oven, and a stone fruit cobbler. Roast chicken is an easy choice, because you put it into the oven well before your guests arrive, and it cooks on its own until it’s ready to serve, which frees you to prepare other items, greet your guests, and be present! And the cobbler can be prepared ahead of time, and just pop it in the oven when you sit down for supper.
As the sun sets, I like to have the perfect amount of lighting: a few candles and most definitely twinkle lights dangling from the trees above. This invites guests to keep lingering after dark, my favorite part of a gathering.
I love the way that our small actions are able to impact others for the better. When women host Trunk Shows on behalf of Noonday Collection, Ambassadors here in the United States are able to grow their businesses and support their families. And when women purchase jewelry at Trunk Shows, they are supporting Artisans and their communities in different countries. Hostesses earn free Noonday jewelry and accessories. Let’s gather together and make a difference! September is Hostesses Appreciation Month — click here to sign up to host your own Noonday Trunk show and to check out the extra special Hostess Rewards Noonday is offering in September.
Photography by Anna Novak for A Daily Something
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