By Jenna Lam
Napa Valley event designer extraordinaire, Jenna Lam, has some helpful hints for harvest party-planners. These simple, thoughtful tips will wow your guests and easily make the night one to remember.
At JLE, we love to incorporate seasonal branches and leaves into our floral arrangements. A few clippings from your backyard in a beautiful vase keeps it elegant and not overdone. Make sure to keep them loose and organic in style.
If you’re not great with styling flowers, add texture to the center of your table with nuts (like acorns, or walnuts in shells), seasonal fruit (like figs or pomegranates) or gourds.
Stick to one saturated color palette. The tendency to mix all the fall colors together can ultimately look a little unsophisticated. We love the look of one rich color in various shades, like burgundy mixed with all beautiful shades of red. If you prefer a contrast, stick with a neutral cloth like a Belgian flax linen and bring in the color through the florals and napkins.
The harvest season evokes a feeling of warmth and coziness. We love bringing that out by decking the table and home out in loads of candlelight. There are very few circumstances where “more is more” but that is always true with candles. There is nothing more festive.
Make it Personal
Incorporating beautiful place cards always takes a party up a notch. We love using seasonal items like an autumn leaf with a guest’s name inscribed in calligraphy or even a split of wine with a personalized tag.
A personalized note pad could double as a place card and a great spot for tasting notes throughout the evening.
We love sending guests off with a personalized favor that celebrates the evening. A homemade seasonal fig jam or a local honey is a sweet send-off.
Wine Themed Game
Create your own version of “Table Topics” around wine. Questions like: “What bottle of wine changed the way you view wine?,” “What wine region do you want to visit next?,” “Which winemaker would you want to have dinner with?” or “What is your most prized bottle of wine?” are fun starting points for conversation.
Simple Food Pairings
We love oversized cheese and charcuterie boards that can double as a decor piece. Not only do the items on them complement the wines you are serving, they give guests a place to gather while tasting.
Photo of plate/name card: Jose Villa, wine glass: Alexander Rubin, all other photos: Amanda Crean