Laid Back Dinner Party Inspiration from Laura Jackson & Stella Artois

Laid Back Dinner Party Inspiration from Laura Jackson & Stella Artois

A few weeks ago we spent the best evening with Stella Artois. They took over the Bourne Hollingsworth buildings in Clerkenwell for the evening. We listened to live jazz swing music, we drank our way through an awful lot of Stella (I even learnt how to pull my own pint!) and sat down to a fantastic, Mediterranean-inspired meal put on by Laura Jackson and her team. As we’re rapidly approaching the holiday season, I thought I’d share some of the entertaining tips I picked up for throwing a perfect evening, at a perfect evening!
Laid Back Dinner Party Inspiration from Stella Artois

Candles, Candles Everywhere

Aside from the stunning venue, I think what made the evening so magical from the moment we arrived was the fact there were little, flickering candles everywhere. Grab as many spare glasses and jars as you’d got to stop your surfaces getting damaged – and keep them away from places pets can reach – and you can capture some of that magic that is starting to glitter out of shop windows in your own home for your holiday parties.

Buckets of Stella Artois
Dinner Party Inspiration from Laura Jackson & Stella Artois

Let People Help Themselves

Yes there were a few wait staff who started carrying drinks around when the party started to fill up, but I think what made the evening feel so comfortable and relaxed from the start was the fact we could just help ourselves to the beer that was being poured at one bar, and from the buckets of iced beer and lines of cidre cocktails lined up on the other. Letting your guests help themselves will also take some of the pressure off of you as the host!
Dinner Party Inspiration from Laura Jackson and Stella Artois
Cafe Society with Stella Artoire
Party Inspiration from Stella Artois

Party Inspiration from Laura Jackson
Dinner Party Inspiration from Stella Artois

Lay The Table, But Let People Seat Themselves

I love a beautifully set table, but when you’ve got a lot of people, especially when you’re mixing different friendship and social groups putting together a seating plan can be stressful. So, set the beautiful table and let people seat themselves – this works especially well if you have to set several tables in a room for people to sit at rather than one long one – because who actually owns a table big enough for all their friends??

Laid Back Dinner Party Inspiration from Laura Jackson
Whole Roasted Trout with Charred Lemons
Whole Baby Roasted Potatoes
Laura Jackson Dinner Party

Put Out All The Food & Let People Help Themselves

Usually my default go to dinner party method is to make a load of dishes (some new and some tried and tested favourites so there is always backup if one of the new recipes goes wrong!) and just put them on the table so people can help themselves, family style. I did a five course Italian lunch this summer but I honestly did not enjoy it as much as I usually do, so letting everyone help themselves from big platters is definitely the way forward. Laura Jackson did a fantastic job putting a delicious Mediterranean-style spread for us: if you have space, set it up in another room so there is the wow factor when you call everyone to help themselves to food!
Laura Jackson's Vegan Blood Orange Poppy Seed Cake
Dinner Party Cheeseboards

Keep Things Casual With Dessert

Keeping with the relaxed vibe, not everyone wants dessert or the cheese course – or has room for it after a family or buffet-style meal! Once things look like they’re starting to wind down with the main course, put the desserts and cheese out, and let your guests know it is there so they can help themselves, but also let them know where there are more drinks available to continue the party!

I hope you find all these entertaining tips useful! A few of my favourite entertaining blogs if you’re looking for a bit more holiday party inspiration: College Housewife, Camille Styles, Salt + Wind, Sugar and Charm, Style Me Pretty Living, The Everygirl, The Glitter Guide.