Fall is one of the best times of the year to host a gathering with friends or family because the weather starts to cool down from the hot and humid summer, and the scents of cinnamon, spice and pumpkin seem to appear everywhere. In addition, the beautiful rich colors and delicious hearty meals associated with the season make fall the perfect time to entertain. Charleston-based photographer, Lucy Cuneo, shares her tips for hosting in the fall, and let’s just say, the use of extra candles and lighting the fireplace are top on the list to create a comfortable and cozy ambience that guests are sure to fall in love with. Find out more about Lucy and her advice for hosting a gathering this fall below.
Describe your overall entertaining philosophy in 3 words?
Cozy, candlelit, fun
How often do you entertain and what are your favorite types of gatherings to host?
We entertain a lot! We have a big kitchen and dining room table (from my mom —open plan—and find that we have friends over a few times a week. We have ‘family’ dinners with our dear friends in town, usually on a Monday or a Tuesday, and end up staying up way too late. These are my favorite nights.
What’s your favorite thing about Fall entertaining?
I love being cozy, and lighting extra candles and the fireplace! In Charleston, the fall is like summer in the Northeast. The nights are crisp and we can throw open the windows and let the cool night air come in—it’s wonderful.
What 5 things do you always have on hand in case of unexpected guests or visitors?
Talenti ice cream (salty caramel), tons of tealight candles, wine (white or rosé), the number for our neighborhood pizza place and arugula (and avocados) for a salad!
Do you have a go-to cocktail?
Honestly, we’re a wine-led household. I suppose if I were to make a cocktail, it would be a margarita! I wish we had a margarita maker, but we haven’t purchased one yet!
Favorite fall dishes to serve?
I love apple crumbles with vanilla ice cream! Like this with apples!
What’s your go-to hostess outfit?
A little dress and sweater.
What’s on your dinner party playlist?
We listen to a lot of Van Morrison, George Michael, Eric Clapton, Elton John, Kygo and Clean Bandit when we’re dancing!
What’s your best tip for making your guests feel welcome and relaxed?
Make them laugh right when they come through the door, let them help in the kitchen (hardly, but so they have something to do) and give them lots of wine.
What’s the one piece of advice you’d give for someone hosting their first party or dinner?
Don’t stress! Being relaxed is contagious.
Do you have any advice for people who entertain in small spaces?
Any entertaining tips for people on a budget? I love flowers and food from Trader Joe’s. The wine is also great—I lived off of TJ for years!
Fill in the blank: When it comes to summer entertaining, you can never have enough____
What’s was your biggest entertaining fail?
I once made a really healthy gluten-free, sugar-free cake, but it tasted like a protein bar!