Summer Entertaining Tips

Summer Entertaining Tips

I always begin with the seasons and my favourite of all is summer. Flowers are at their most flamboyant, fruit is at its ripest, fun is around every corner. The long evenings mean parties stretch past sunset too.
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Rosanna Falconer hosts a midsummer garden party

Set The Table

Summer Tablescapes

Tim Walker’s ‘Lily Takes A Trip’ (British Vogue July 2005) and illustrations of A Midsummer Night’s Dream are forever imprinted on my mind. They are my constant source of inspiration for summer parties, year in year out. It’s the abundance of flowers, hazy light and saturated colour that I always aim to recreate.

Play with light outdoors: festoon lighting overhead, tall taper candles on the table and votives in every corner of the garden – from the steps to the flower borders. It elongates the golden hour after the sun sets and renders everything so romantic.

"Garden chairs are notoriously uncomfortable. Pile up cushions and take out blankets for later. I often take our two-seater sofa outside too – people always gravitate to a sofa!"

Summer dining lacks the formality of the winter, especially if it is outdoors. I’m not afraid to use special tableware outside (I’ve never had a breakage, even at a children’s party!) but glamorous, gilt-edged designs might look at odds with a summer’s day lunch setting.

I always wanted to design a napkin as I love the way they can be styled in so many ways plus they can elevate a plain white plate. My Jaipur Bloom napkins – block-printed by hand with roses and bougainvillea – are pure summer. I love them knotted with a bow or finished with the flair of a napkin ring. Or fold them in a classic pocket style and tuck the menu inside (I enclose a matching one with all of my orders).

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Colour is such an easy way to make an impact. If you’re afraid to get started, use white as your blank canvas then add one single colour with candles and flowers (e.g. coral peonies and votives). I love traditionally block-printed tablecloths that have a full design across them. But – conscious that not everyone loves colour as much as me – I designed the Jaipur Bloom tablecloth with a simplicity in mind. The centre of the linen is plain white then a few small roses are printed next to where the plates sit. These then fall in an ombre to the hem of the tablecloth where there is an abundance of roses in full bloom. This means there’s a petal party on the table skirt but cool, calm simplicity on the table from overhead.

Villa Palladio Jaipur by Rosanna Falconer lunch

I’m certain that my 6 months in Jaipur have impacted my confidence with colour. It has made me appreciate both the bold saturation of a hotel Villa Palladio (pictured) as well as the sun-bleached tones of Nahargarh Fort. There is a place in my heart for the vivid tomato, ruby and scarlet of the former as well as the mushroom, amber and terracotta of the latter. In fact, the more muted tones are on the mood board for our house redecoration while a tablescape is a perfect time to experiment with the most adventurous palette – be bold for the night!

I love handwritten menus, flowers arranged in jam jars or place names written on leaves and shells. In Jaipur, I couldn’t source my usual colourful dinner candles so got really into painting my designs on white ones with acrylic paint (pictured). Bianca of Bable does masterclasses in this if you’d like to try it yourself! One of my favourite summer tablescapes was a festival theme where I made tickets for the menus. Another one was a country gymkhana theme with rosettes for place names! I must confess, I have a bit less time on my hands now with two children but I still find / make time for a few personal touches. I find both painting and flower arranging (not that my style of bud vases and jam jars is particularly advanced!) hugely meditative.

Most of all, remember this is a celebration at your home not a corporate event so try not to feel pressurised to produce perfection. Your mood, smile and joy will set the tone for the evening far more than a well-curated tablescape!

Article originally published thanks to The Wedding Edition.

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Rosanna's favourite summer tableware.

Peonies and spring flowers
Peonies and spring flowers

The Journal

All customers will receive a menu card printed with Rosanna's Jaipur Bloom design.

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