Designs for Winter Dinner Parties

I’m finding that the winter chill these days makes me reluctant to venture outside once the sun has set. But what’s a socialite to do? I say, stay in and let your friends come to you with a fabulous dinner party they won’t forget. I’ve been to quite a few and always appreciate a well-thought design that unifies the meal, drinks and decorations.

Most designers begin with a colour scheme but I’ve always been inclined to be bold and pick an entire theme. You could embrace the new season with Winter Woodland Glamour; think lots of wood, neutral tones and little woodland creature touches here and there.


Start with a centre piece and work your design outwards. Grand winter centrepieces could make use of bushels of holly with bright red berries, pine needles, some white-dusted pinecones, mini pumpkins or simply a stark wintery branch hung with twinkling silver and gold ornaments.

Other wintery touches around the table could be antlers, vintage silverware, place names handwritten in ink, tall white candles to scent the air and softly illuminate the corners, faux fur hanging on each chair or a single feather left on crisp white or sooty brown linen. It’s all about the details.

I once attended a dinner party in  Double Bay with a centerpiece of winter greenery and halfway through the night I noticed a tiny woodland mouse ornament sitting among the leaves, watching me. He was so quaint! It just goes to show that sometimes the smallest touches are the most memorable.

The main affair

As for food, I’m quite the fan of hot soups, hearty pies and pudding. Or perhaps borrow from our American friends and introduce your guests to a spiced pumpkin pie for dessert. And don’t forget the wine. Personally, I can never go past Glühwein, that warm mulled wine from Germany, spiced to perfection with cinnamon, cloves, citrus and star aniseed. Now that’s winter.

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