A particular crispness is, or will soon be, in the air—it is almost autumn. Before the chaos of Thanksgiving and the winter holiday season begin, why not throw an at-home party? From planning the get-together to primping the party space, these pros haves ideas and tips to make your next soirée superb.

Gail Weller, The Service Bureau

Creative invitations. “Setting the stage for any party starts with the invitation. You can get creative with themes or motifs,” says Weller, noting recent autumn party projects featuring Oktoberfest beer steins.

Mood lighting. “Whether it’s on your table or scattered around the room, lighting sets the mood.” 

Good Guest. If you’re attending a party this season, Weller reminds to not arrive empty-handed. “Remembering a hostess gift—a beautiful candle, a serving piece, note paper, wine—is a nice touch.” And don’t forget to RSVP!

Barb Wehking, Bloomin’ Buckets

Mix it up. Wehking is all for an element of surprise. “Add crystal with branches or fuchsia with autumn colors."

Glass and gold. Gold taper candles inside clear glass wine and soda bottles can make quite the statement. To keep the look autumn-appropriate, Wehking recommends placing berries or other fall foliage around the bases.

Lots of lanterns. “Adding a lantern to a table gives it a very fall look, and you can put a pillar candle or several pillar candles inside and use it as your centerpiece—then, you can create the floral pieces around it.” 

Ellen Gutierrez, Bride's Vision Weddings and Events

First thoughts. Before you begin any type of planning, Gutierrez reminds hosts and hostesses to decide on a few basics, such as the level of formality, meal type, location within your home, number of guests and whether it is an adults-only gathering.

Fall décor. “There are so many fall options that aren't just orange pumpkins and red leaves. You can do grapevine wreaths, rattan and dried flowers,” Gutierrez says. She explains that she once covered faux pumpkins in glue and glitter to create a new twist on a class fall centerpiece.

Light a fire. Gutierrez recommends patio fireplaces as an interactive party tool. “You can do hot dogs, you can have S’mores…anything you can cook on a stick!”

Tamsin Mascetti, Tamsin Design Group

Ready the room. “Getting rid of extra pieces is nice to make a little more room. It is good to have seating areas, but it is also good to have a lot of areas for people to stand.” 

Mixed metals. “We layered some metals on the table with a gold charger,” says Mascetti of a tablescape she recently created for a client. Other festive additions included gunmetal metallic plates and jewel-toned napkins.

Artificial Options. Mascetti recommends the use of high-quality artificial branches in party décor, as they are reusable and “a very simple statement like that can create a beautiful centerpiece.”

Katie Fogerty, Kate & Company

Weather ready. “Don’t let the weather scare you,” Fogerty says. “You can always incorporate fun things for cold weather. You can fill your backyard with blankets and hay bales, and encourage snuggling around the fire.”

Be natural. “Incorporate elements of nature. It's been done before, but I think you can incorporate them with a new twist,” she says, explaining leaf name cards as a possible option. She also notes that pumpkins decorated with metallic pushpins can be used to spell messages or names in a festive way.

Theme away. “People shy away from theme parties, but there are a lot of themes you can do that don’t mean people need to dress in theme or you need to decorate your house.” This time of year, she recommends a football-themed event.

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