Black candlesticks, gold etched glasses and rich jewel tone foliage created the warm and intimate ambiance of Rebecca Gallop's (you may know her as A Daily Something) Foxfire Mountain House fall gathering. To celebrate the changing of seasons, Rebecca gathered her guests during her fall retreat, An Intentional Autumn, for a formal dinner equipped with vintage rugs and persimmons. With a mission to pursue all facets of life with intention (think gatherings, our relationships, ourselves, our homes), it's clear that Rebecca’s forte is in the details.
How does she achieve the affectionate balance of a moody, candlelit meal? Rebecca discloses all of her hospitality and design tips including why you should never iron your napkins. You may have seen wrinkled napkins splashed across the feeds of your favorite food stylists and adorning the tabletops of beautiful dinner parties everywhere - it just very well may be one of 2017's best table trends. Lucky for all of us, Rebecca is sharing the scoop on how to attain the perfectly imperfect unfussy napkin look for your upcoming holiday gatherings this season.
What prompted your Saturday evening dinner? Who were your guests?
This dinner gathering was inspired by the changing seasons and was held during my fall 2016 retreat, An Intentional Autumn. This dinner was our more formal gathering during the retreat, and I wanted to surprise my guests with the dinner and table details! Gathered around the cozy table was an intimate group of dear new friends.
Tell us about your dryer-wrinkled napkin tip.
I love including a variety of textures on my tabletops, and napkins help to achieve this. My pro-tip: don't iron your napkins! With linen napkins, lay them flat when they come out of the dryer, and they'll be perfectly dryer-wrinkled (without any obnoxious wrinkles)! Leaving the napkins un-pressed makes the table more welcoming and casual and adds the perfect texture! And it makes your life easier as you're preparing for guests. When you're ready to set the table, either fold or just drape (unfolded) on top of the dinner plate and hold in place with the salad plate/bowl!
What inspired the design direction of the gathering?
For the design, I wanted to celebrate the changing seasons while keeping things neutral! We were gathering in the midst of the winter holiday season, and I wanted my guests to take inspiration home with them for the holidays! When you use a foundation of neutral items on your tabletop, you can add different seasonal details to make it appropriate for the specific holiday you are celebrating.
Where did you source the decor & florals for the tablescape?
Most of the tabletop items (plates, napkins, glassware, and flatware) are from Anthropologie! The brass candlesticks are vintage and from my prop collection; I ordered the black taper candles from Amazon.
The grandiose centerpiece was made with seasonal foraged branches and flowers & foliage ordered from a favorite source: Florabundance. The centerpiece included peonies, switchgrass, protea, ferns, lisianthus, garden roses, smilax, anthurium, chocolate Queen Anne's lace, foxglove, euphorbia, rice flowers, olive branches, and pampas grass. We also placed pomegranates and persimmons (still attached to the branch) down the center of the table, which provided a just the pop of color needed to tie it all together.
Can you share your favorite gathering tips for those of us hosting events this holiday season?
1. Think about lighting! Flickering flames provide incredible warmth to a dinner, whether from a roaring fire or drippy taper candles. These are the mark of a tray coy gathering. If you aren't able to dine fireside, think about turning off harsh overhead fixtures and bringing alternate lighting into your dining space to help set the mood--maybe a table lamp placed on a buffet, or a floor lamp off in the corner!
2. Don't forget to keep it simple this holiday season! We always have pressure to make our tables Pinterest worthy - and it's ok if they do - but don't forget about what really matters: simply creating a space that welcomes your guests and communicates love and care through uncomplicated details. I always have the table set when guests arrive; when they walk through your door and see that the table has been set, it is the promise of good things to come.
3. It isn't always practical to incorporate a large floral centerpiece, especially if you are serving dinner family style. A bundle of fresh herbs or foraged foliage at each place setting is enough to provide a seasonal touch while keeping things more budget-friendly and leaving room for the food!