New recipes

How to Create an Elegant Spring Table

How to Create an Elegant Spring Table

Embrace the season and add a touch of panache to your table

Mixing elements and colors creates a lush and welcoming atmosphere.

Many elements of spring can be very elegant, especially certain flowers and soft pastel colors that can make for nice soft designs on your spring table.

Lush flowers like peonies are perfect to stand alone, but buds like tulips and garden roses are great when paired with succulents and greens.

Adding these seasonal blooms will create an easy palette and your table will come to life in no time.

Egg Vases: Fill ceramic egg cups with small flower arrangements.

Tiered Flower Centerpiece: Use a tiered cake stand or cupcake display and fill each layer with various types and colors of flowers for a beautiful, towering display on your table.

Floating Flowers and Candles: In a clear glass bowl, fill with water and float flowers and votive candles.

Flower Ice Cubes: Freeze edible flowers in ice cubes to make a beautiful addition to your water or drinks. You can also do this with fresh berries like blueberries or raspberries.

For more on spring, check out our guide to the season here.

Jennifer Barnum is author for Maine Cottage Furniture, and she enjoys writing about home decorating tips and ideas.

How to Set a Beautiful Spring and Summer Table

Disclosure: Some of the links on this post are affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission if you click a link and purchase something I have recommended. While clicking these links won&rsquot cost you any extra money, they will help me keep this site up and running and keep it ad-free! Please check out my disclosure policy for more details. Thank you for your support!

Floral arrangement by floral and interior designer Wendy Mercer of Gatherings by Mercer. Her style is elegant and classy, and her creations will leave you in awe! Add to that, she is absolutely friendly and easy to work with! Be sure to follow her for tips and tricks and floral and design inspiration!

Spring has sprung and summer is around the corner! Things have transitioned into the new season with warmer weather, longer daylight hours, budding plants, and blooming flowers.

Now is a great time to rejuvenate your home with fresh linens and colorful dinnerware sets! With all the vaccines being administered, we can soon safely gather again and throw a dinner party or two.

From decorative plates to gorgeous floral arrangements, you&rsquoll find a stylish tablescape that can inspire you to create your own hosting style!

Arrange Fresh Florals

Springtime blooms are out, and what an excellent time to arrange them into a beautiful centerpiece! When I host a party, I usually buy fresh flowers to cheerfully brighten the room. Besides, it also makes your guest feel special.

We had Wendy from Gatherings by Mercer as our special guest, and she created a couple of centerpieces for us. One of the arrangements had a romantic and fanciful feel to it, with luxurious pink and peach-colored roses and tulips, garnished with greenery including seeded eucalyptus and finished with curly willow, wrapped in a pretty jasmine vine.

Read and watch the blog tutorial on how to create this flower arrangement.

Add Spring or summer-inspired accents

For this year&rsquos look, I found these beautiful pieces! The motifs of flowers and bees are definitely screaming for spring and summer!

For my dinette, I opted for a more French Country style décor, which included a crisp yellow and white table runner with Meyer Lemon print and light-green leaf design. I stayed with the same collection for the napkins and salad plates but used what I already had when it came to the faux wood chargers and white dinner plates. The woven wicker basket from the floral centerpiece completed the rustic look.

With the abundance of blooms available, it&rsquos no wonder that you&rsquoll find bees around as well. For the formal living room, I went with the honeycomb and wildflower pattern. I love the white, black, and gold theme for this inviting table.

The tablecloth has hive-inspired patterns throughout, and I used two different designs for the napkins: one is the same fabric as the table, and the other is a flax-hued honeycomb pattern. The accents of gold flatware and fluted edge gold charger give the table that plush feel.

Light candles

Candles definitely add to the ambiance. It&rsquos a simple and elegant addition to your table setting. Scatter them in the middle of your table or fill in empty spaces.

Decorate with All-White Theme

There is something to be said with an all-white décor &ndash it&rsquos clean and simple, yet it brings quite an elegance to the room. Take, for instance, this floral grouping centerpiece Wendy put together (the all-white vases are from Homegoods, but you can use whatever you have at home or some recommendations here). This grouping is channeling spring with all white flowers such as ranunculus, lollipop mums, and mini-daisies placed in all-white containers of various heights, sizes, and styles.

You&rsquoll see here I created another mostly white floral arrangement using hydrangeas, tulips, daisies, and mums.

By the way, use what you already have when it comes to flower vases. I&rsquom sure you have white pitchers or vases (or cups and saucers) somewhere in the house, so utilize them to come up with your own unique look!

Use Fruits to Spruce Up the Table

We used lemons to add a pop of refreshing color to the formal dining table. You may also use other citrus fruit varieties like limes, oranges, or kumquats.

Shop the Post!

*affiliate links are included for your convenience*

I hope you’ve enjoyed my first spring tour of the season, and that I’ve given you some ideas that you can use in your own home. With some flowers and a few nods to spring, you can create an elegant but simple look that doesn’t break the bank, and that can last all season long! I’ll be sharing another spring tour next week of the other areas of my home, so stay tuned! And if you want to check out last year’s spring kitchen tour, you can get to that here.

Now, pop over to Beth at Home Stories A to Z (you will love her gorgeous home!) and check out her dining room decorated for spring, as well as the other talented ladies participating today! Also, don’t forget to stop by again tomorrow as there will be six more bloggers sharing their spring decorating ideas as well!

Tuesday’s posts:

Designthusiasm | Maison de Cinq | Home Stories A to Z
Tidbits | Ella Claire Inspired | Decor Gold Designs

Wednesday’s posts:

Craftberry Bush | Zevy Joy | CitrineLiving
Remington Avenue | Sand & Sisal | So Much Better With Age

Use Woven Plate Chargers for a Farmhouse Look

The warmth and coziness of farmhouse decor in your home does not have to stop at the dining table. Consider using natural wood-toned elements like woven chargers. Also, place striped or gingham tea towels between the main plate and the salad plate to complete the rustic look.

Elegant Fig Bites

These fig bites turned out to be quite the favorite among the family!

  • This appetizer makes the most of those fresh figs in fall.
  • I used Finlandia Vanilla Bean creamy gourmet cheese to top the figs, but you can also use sweet flavors of cream cheese as well.
  • You can use pecan halves in place of the walnuts. Or, sprinkle on chopped pistachios.
  • A little finishing salt is a nice complementary flavor to the sweetness of the figs and creamy cheese spread.

If you like this post please PIN, SHARE, or sign up for our NEWSLETTER at the top of the page. Cheers!

25 Spring Centerpiece Ideas to Steal for Your Next Dinner Party

Ready for spring? Start by refreshing your table with crisp linens, potted blooms, and a pop of bright colors. If you weren't getting ready to throw a dinner party already, you will once you see these gorgeous spring centerpieces. Warning: They may outshine your entree. From modern decorative displays to gorgeous floral arrangements, you'll find a chic tablescape that speaks to your hosting style below.

Photographer/author Ngoc Minh Ngo collaborated with floral designer Nicolette Owen to design the table, complete with flowers in small containers of varying heights and styles.

Designer Heather Taylor recreated the motif on her great-grandmother's plates for a garden party's bouquets. "Even if guests don't notice the reference, it's a lovely detail that adds a fun symmetry," she says of the bluebells and marigolds.

This floral arrangement by Alicia Lund of Cheetah Is the New Black adds a fun, tropical quirk to the contemporary dining room. It proves that a contemporary dining space can feel like an island getaway with the right floral arrangement, no matter how land-locked you truly are.

Designer Donna Karan created a natural tablescape. "I love this tree!" she says. "It looks like it's growing out of the table, creating a canopy. Wood adds so much warmth."

This painterly-inspired throw blanket turned tablecloth by Australian textile designer Shilo Englebrecht sets an artful scene at this dinner table. The pink, red, and orange flowers contrast with the cooler tones and inkier hues of the walls and table cloth alike. There are also knitted linen napkins and ceramic vases for a perfectly unfussy finish. It's no surprise that this brunch situation was set up by California designers Mat Sander and Brandon Quattrone of Consort Design.

At this brunch party hosted by interior designer Charlotte Moss, the woven rattan place settings and garden pots of dainty, unpretentious yellow flowers on a lemon-printed tablecloth feel classic and upbeat while the splatter painted green plates add a modern art feel. An umbrella to create shade is also always a nice touch for al fresco dining.

Roses paired with citrus and wispy branches makes for a dramatic and colorful centerpiece, no matter the season. Surrounded by black candles, this tablescape is the perfect blend of edgy and whimsical.

This pretty outdoor setup is in the Woodstock, Vermont garden of Zoe and James Zilian, the ceramicists behind Farmhouse Pottery. The earthy textures and tones of their ceramic pieces blend in beautifully with the surroundings, and those potted plants on the table are actually edible. So if you're looking for spring centerpiece ideas that'll beautify the table while also adding some functional flavor (literally), take note.

Mix and match vases and candles of various heights to give your table a sense of movement as it changes from one end to the other. Then choose a tablecloth with a small, repeating pattern as well as a tight color scheme for something that's both consistent and cohesive, unique and full of surprises, at once.

Liven up a country kitchen or rustic breakfast buffet table with bright yellow wildflowers. An aged vase will contribute to the historied feel. This is the perfect spring centerpiece when you want the meal to feel casual yet thoughtful and special.

A bright lilac linen table runner that matches the pink salad plates is an nice cheerful surprise and contrast against the darker plates and wooden table. To keep your floral centerpieces interesting and laidback, simple lay the stems on the table as is. Then offset the flowers with decorative objects, like painted antlers, petrified wooden objects, tea light candles, and crystals, as Alicia Lund did here.

Designed by Martha Angus and Katie McCaffery, this little dining nook in a San Francisco home is classic and pretty yet refreshingly contemporary. The painted porcelain tableware makes it feel consistent while the cheerful tulips add just the right punch of color for upbeat dining every day.

Exude an effortless elegance with a minimal linen runner, fresh white florals, and and simple ceramic plating. For a touch of character, lay an unexpectedly colorful cloth over every other chair. And if you're outdoors, hang some string lights overhead, as done at this dinner bash hosted by Alicia Lund.

Textile designer Michael Devine conjures a romantic, swoon-worthy alfresco fete. "To complement the floral arrangements, I chose crisp yellow-and-white table runners in my Chantal fabric," he says. "Vintage blue-and-white chinoiserie-pattern dinnerware was paired with napkins tied with striped ribbon." He wired fanciful faux butterflies into the arrangements, making them appear to be fluttering throughout the Queen Anne's lace.

Florals in rich, deep colors will anchor a more whimsical country chic tableware set and tablecloth. With dainty painty flowers, these John Derian plates are channeling spring and reflecting the floral theme throughout. The rattan chairs keep things casual and comfortable, too.

Pretty in pink and green, a combo synonymous with Palm Beach, the table, designed by Mimi McMakin, is dressed with china, crystal, flatware, and linens from Mary Mahoney.

Arrangements in the dining room echo a New York farmhouse's deep purple living room. Paired with lavender glassware and linens, full-petaled sweet peas, and anemones add their own shot of color that usher the dining room into the spring season.

Head outside and take the china! Shabby Chic designer Rachel Ashwell loosens up the formality of teatime. "Pile your plates," she says. "It makes the table happy and accessible."

If you're hosting a spring brunch party, celebrate the changing seasons and better weather with an aquatic theme. It's classy and timeless yet festive and stands out as unique, making it perfect for a special occasion. Serving seafood will earn your bonus points for matching your decor to the menu.

Interior designer Cathy Kincaid's breakfast room is food-centric and stylish, the two best ingredients for both hosting and dining&mdashjust look at that painting. For a unique spring tablescape, consider scattering your florals in bud cases or even displaying them in ceramic egg holders.

For an outdoor lunch, designer Miles Redd &mdash a Pisces &mdash draws inspiration from the sea, filling his table with glimmering objects and watery hues. "The table has an iridescent quality &mdash like the inside of a seashell. Light dances, which gives the eye a lot to play upon and makes the whole dining experience so exciting."

With a love of gutsy hues, Los Angeles-based designer Oliver M. Furth finds that his table is a fun place to experiment with color. "On a table, you can do something trendier or more fashion-forward than you might ever attempt in a whole room," he says.

Real style is about mixing it up. And fashion designer Rebecca Moses wouldn't have it any other way. "I love polka dots and stripes together," she says. "Dots are sophisticated &mdash and so happy. We have to create happiness in our homes, and for me, the starting point is the table."

Lulu de Kwiatkowski knows how to set a pretty table without going too girly. "I think of the table as a collage," she says. "I always try to mesh colors and patterns in a way that keeps you entertained, but not so much that it's exhausting. You shouldn't overaccessorize to the point of showing everything in your cabinet."

For Tory Burch, setting the table can be the most creative outlet of all. "Just try different things," she says. "Patterns you wouldn't think to put together can surprise you, and look great."

10 recipes to make you feel like spring is here

Discover BBC Good Food’s top 10 springtime recipes, featuring seasonal ingredients and our favourite dishes including meat, fish and veggie options.

There’s nothing like delicious dishes and fresh ingredients to celebrate the turn of the season. Take a look at our seasonality table to find out which foods are at their best this month, then read on for our favourite recipes to get in the spirit for spring.

1. Forager’s ravioli

Parcels of fresh pasta are filled with foraged wild nettles in this elegant vegetarian dish, dressed with butter and crunchy hazelnuts. For those who aren’t fans of foraging, you can swap the nettles for baby spinach leaves for an equally tasty meal.

2. White chocolate mousse with poached rhubarb

This simple yet indulgent dessert is a perfectly light finish to a spring dinner party. Layer up sweet and tender poached rhubarb with a light-as-air white chocolate mousse, finished with a crunchy oat crumble mixture to add texture and bite.

3. Red wine poached halibut with bacon & mushrooms

White-fleshed halibut comes into season in March, and poaching is the perfect way to make the most of its firm, meaty texture. The red wine in this recipe keeps the fish succulent and reduces down into a flavourful sauce, spooned over buttery mushrooms and spinach, and finished with a rasher of crispy bacon.

4. Wild garlic & nettle soup

Vibrant, healthy and packed with greens – what more could you want from a spring soup? This is the ultimate dish to show off those foraging finds, incorporating young nettle and wild garlic leaves with finely diced vegetables, blitzed into a silky blend that’s as pleasing to the palate as it is to the eye.

5. Saddle of lamb

A classic Easter favourite, this stuffed saddle of lamb is the perfect centrepiece for any roast dinner. The herby breadcrumb stuffing is flavoured with garlic, shallots and pancetta and is sure to have the whole family asking for seconds.

6. Elderflower & herb cooler

This light, gin-based cocktail is given a picture perfect finish with ice cubes made from edible flowers and sprigs of rosemary and thyme. Elderflower liqueur and rhubarb cordial lend a sophisticated touch of sweetness to this refreshing blend.

7. Lemon & marzipan hot cross buns

Hot cross buns have to be one of the season’s greatest pleasures. We’ve given this classic bake a lift with zesty lemon peel, layers of marzipan and a lemon curd glaze. Serve split and lightly toasted, with an extra dollop of creamy lemon curd. Delicious!

8. Spring vegetable broth with shredded chicken

Spring may mean lighter soups, but the chunky ingredients in this quick and easy dish are sure to satisfy. It’s made from nourishing chicken stock, spring greens, asparagus spears, peas and beans, topped with homemade crunchy Parmesan croutons.

9. Crab fritters with cheat’s chilli & crab mayonnaise

Crab comes into season in April and May, and this recipe puts the shellfish centrestage. Mix white crabmeat with Gruyère and fry until crisp and golden, then dip into sriracha mayo enriched with brown crabmeat and zingy lemon juice. The perfect snack to share with friends over a glass of white.

10. Asparagus & new potato frittata

With only six ingredients and just over 20 minutes in the kitchen you can whip up this delicious frittata, filled with tender new potatoes and seasonal asparagus. It’s a quick, low-calorie main that even includes cheese – what more could you want?

The Most Elegant, Guest-Worthy Meal Ready in 20 Minutes

We turned to our Recipe Editor, Sharron Wood, who has years of experience editing (and taste-testing!) thousands of our recipes featured in our catalogues, cookbooks, on our website, and on our blog. An avid entertainer and craft cocktail maven, she shares her favorite quick-but-elegant meal to serve guests when her husband spontaneously decides to invite people over. Read on to learn just how she gets dinner on the table for eight on a weeknight!

Although I’m fond of planning elaborate dinner party menus that take days to assemble, my husband is a little more, ahem, spontaneous, preferring to invite guests at the very last minute for impromptu dinners. And though he’s fine with ordering in takeout for said guests, I much prefer serving a homemade dinner. (Cooking, after all, is my love language.)

So, when my husband breezily calls me as I’m leaving work to tell me that we have dinner guests arriving at 6, I fall back on my secret weapon for impromptu entertaining: the French classic mussels marinière. Inexpensive, practically foolproof and easy to find at almost any fish market or grocery store with a halfway decent seafood section, mussels with shallots and white wine are the quickest way to get a company-worth dinner on the table in minutes once you’ve done the (very simple) grocery shopping.

Here’s how I put together the most impromptu of dinner parties . . . and how you can too.

I leave work. Luckily, there’s a good grocery store on my way home.

5:15 PM

I run into the grocery store and pick up 5 pounds of mussels (if I’m cooking for 8), which should have a “fresh sea” smell, with no trace of ammonia. Next, I toss some shallots, a bunch of parsley and a baguette (okay, maybe two baguettes) into my basket. Finally, I add some pre-washed arugula or mixed greens for a salad and I’m out the door.

5:30 PM

I get home and throw the salad greens straight into a bowl. If I don’t already have some salad dressing in the fridge, I take three minutes to whip up this super-simple traditional French vinaigrette.What I love about it is that it requires nothing more than a few pantry essentials: Vinegar, Dijon mustard, olive oil, salt and pepper.

5:35 PM

After setting the oven to 350°F (180°C), I scrub the mussels, chop up the shallots and parsley, and pop open a bottle of dry white wine for the mussels, pouring myself a glass while I’m at it. I arrange all my ingredients next to the stove top.

5:45 PM

I toss my baguettes in the oven to warm them up. Tip: You could also slice the bread first and toast them to make crostini, but warming the baguettes whole saves me a good 10 minutes, and I prefer a serving the whole loaf anyway, toasted just until it’s lightly crisp on the outside and still tender within. Then, I combine some wine, shallots, butter, bay leaf and pepper in a Dutch oven (or two if I’m doubling the mussels recipe). If I happen to have some saffron in my pantry, I crumble that into the pot too, because, although it’s not traditional, just a pinch adds a delightful aroma and gorgeous color to moules marinière.) Five minutes later, the mussels go in and steam just long enough for the mussels to open. Remember: Don’t forget to throw out any mussels that don’t open.

5:55 PM

I dress the salad greens with my homemade vinaigrette. If I have any leftover bits of Parmesan, Pecorino Romano or goat cheese in my cheese drawer, I grate or crumble the cheese into the salad and toss again.

6:00 PM

I ask a guest to pour the remaining white wine (and open another bottle, of course) while I plate the mussels and salad and wrap up the baguettes in a clean dish towel. And voila, dinner is served to my impressed guests, and I can enjoy dinner knowing that cleanup will go even more quickly than the dinner prep.

Culinary editor Sharron Wood has edited (and taste tested!) thousands of recipes for Williams Sonoma’s catalogs, website and blog. Before joining Williams Sonoma five years ago, she spent 15 years as a freelance cookbook editor, food and travel writer, and restaurant reviewer.

An avid hostess, craft cocktail aficionado and baker, she enjoys entertaining at her San Francisco apartment and cooking as many of Williams Sonoma’s 7,000+ recipes as humanly possible.

Recipe for a Happy Holiday Table

The holidays are all about entertaining, whether it’s a casual open house or a classic Christmas dinner. There’s a perfect setting for every occasion — it all comes down to a great table and a festive environment. With these five tips, you can free yourself from holiday stress and enjoy your party!

Your Perfect Menu

A holiday menu can be anything you want it to be. Start by choosing your party style — from casual and relaxed to elegant and sophisticated. Once you’ve decided how you want to celebrate, it’s easy to create a menu filled with foods that will make the meal special.

Set a Festive Scene

Create the perfect atmosphere for your party. The menu establishes the mood — and tableware and decorations set the scene. Even if you just own white dishes (a versatile choice), you can add color and pattern with bright linens, festive glassware, candlesticks and centerpieces.

A Warm Welcome

Whether you’re having a sit-down dinner or a buffet, your table should feel warm and inviting. Handwritten place cards always make guests feel special. Salt and pepper shakers at either end of the table are a must — and beautiful napkin rings create a perfect finishing touch.

Serve It in Style

When it comes to parties, presentation is everything. Create an inviting table by mixing beautiful serving pieces in wood, glass and silver. Take out the pieces early in the day and mark each with a post-it note to remind you what will go inside.

Just Add Friends

A great party is one where everyone is relaxed and having fun — including the host. So forget the last-minute frenzy and just add a few finishing touches. Remember, everyone looks wonderful in the glow of candle light. Crank up the carols, pop the cork — and enjoy your celebration!

About the author: Monelle Totah, a member of Williams-Sonoma’s tabletop and home team, has been with the company for over 10 years. Along with her team of designers, she develops seasonal tabletop and entertaining stories. Born and raised in the South, Monelle grew up decorating and entertaining: “Entertaining should be a reflection of who you are and what you love…its about a house full of family, friends, laughter…and plenty of ice!”

How to plan your menu

Here are some simple ideas for structuring your dinner party menu, from prepping canapés ahead of time to choosing a centerpiece and serving up cocktails and sides.

When catering for numbers, the old adage ‘less is more’ is worth bearing in mind. A well-planned simple cold fork buffet can be more appetising than lots of different contrasting flavours and foods. Read on for top tips from catering experts Anna Duttson of Anna Duttson Events and Lin Neillands of Food Unlimited.

General hints for planning your menu

  • Think about flavour combinations and avoid clashes, as people often pile a little bit of everything onto their plate.
  • Choose different colours and textures for an impressive spread.
  • Work out what space and equipment you have and make sure you have enough hobs, oven shelves and surfaces for the menu you want to serve.
  • Do as much as possible in advance – there will be plenty to do when guests arrive without undue fussing over food.
  • Be clever with your budget – it can be expensive catering for large numbers, so choose cheap ingredients and be inventive with them. Use cheaper cuts of meat in slow-cooked one-pots to great effect.

Presentation tips: When you’re planning a buffet, think about good colour combinations and creating varying heights to make food look interesting and inviting. Space canapés out well on simple trays and the food will speak for itself.

Snacks and nibbles

To keep guests happy and allow you time to get the main food out, serve static nibbles, such as marinated olives, parmesan shortbreads and tapenade on toasted croûtes and replenish as needed. It’s also worth remembering the end of the evening – a cheeseboard is good for later on, and bacon sandwiches after midnight are always a winner.


This may sound like the easy option, but canapés can be labour intensive. Make it easier:

  • Serve 6-8 canapés per head.
  • Serve a mixture of hot and cold.
  • Prepare as much as possible ahead.
  • Choose canapés that look beautiful but don’t require a lot of last-minute assembly.
  • Presentation goes a long way so use (borrow if necessary) beautiful dishes, platters and trays. Think about unusual ways of serving the food – for example, on a mirror or piece of glass. Decorate with edible flowers and long sprigs of herbs.
  • Think about serving ‘bowl food’ in place of some or all of the canapés. These are larger than canapés (perhaps a quarter of the size of a main course) and good choices include Thai curry with rice, sausages & mash or risotto. The food should be well-seasoned and ready to eat. Serve in miniature bowls with a small fork, and make sure everything is small enough to eat easily.

Take a look at our selection of canapé recipes.

Cold buffet

  • Choose a centrepiece for your spread, such as a roasted salmon or baked ham.
  • Make salads to go with this in a variety of textures, colours and food groups. For example, you could serve a grain or pasta salad, potato salad and vibrant tomato salad.
  • It’s always good to have bits to pick at, so offer deli plates of cold meats or smoked salmon (if this isn’t your centrepiece), dips and crudités.
  • Serve different breads and breadsticks.
  • Serve 2-3 desserts, again opting for different shapes and textures. Good options are a crisp lemon tart, pillowy tiramisu and exotic fruit salad or berries and cream.

Take a look at our selection of buffet recipes.

Top tip: When planning your menu, remember that at most parties it’s best if the food can be eaten with a fork only, one-handed. Avoid meats that require cutting with a knife and fork unless you have seating and tables for all guests.

Hot buffet

  • Pick a couple of one-pot style dishes and a carbohydrate like rice or potatoes that can go with both. You can pick a theme, like Indian, British classics or Chinese, so that people can mix and match. If you are making spicy food, make sure at least one is mild as not everyone likes chilli. If you’re catering for vegetarians too, make one veggie or add a side dish with vegetables, lentils or beans that everyone can dig into but will suit for a vegetarian main course too.
  • The beauty of a one-pot is you don’t have to deal with complex timings. It can be prepared in advance and left to simmer on the stove or kept on a hot plate.
  • To make the meal feel more special, add in extras to complete the theme, such as naans and chutneys for an Indian or foccacia and marinated olives for Italian.
  • For dessert, 2-3 cold options make a sensible choice. If you want to do hot desserts, choose ones you can assemble earlier and serve straight from the oven. A hot apple pie or fruit crumble is always popular. Serve with double cream to avoid messing around with custard.

Look at our buffet recipes for more ideas.


Plan your drinks menu to make it easy for yourself. Cocktails can be made up in jugs beforehand so you don’t have to prepare them as guests arrive. An interesting soft drink, like elderflower or ginger beer, adds impact. Make sure you have plenty of drinks on ice – there’s nothing worse than champagne, white wine or beer that isn’t chilled enough.

Take a look at our selection of cocktail recipes.

Party recipe ideas

Here are our favourite sweet and savoury recipes, plus all the ideas you’ll need to put on a fabulous spread.

Canapé, finger food and buffet recipes

Impressive centrepieces

Get more inspiration from our collection of dinner party mains.

Drinks recipes

Children’s parties

Celebration cakes

More recipes

Do you have any tips for planning a menu? Leave a comment below…

Tops tip from catering experts Anna Duttson of Anna Duttson Events and Lin Neillands of Food Unlimited.

Other Ideas

When it comes to Ostara baskets, the more creative, the better! Use your imagination, use what you already have and use what you find in nature.

Consider any one of these:

-Floral essential oils (like chamomile, rose, or lavender).

-A jar of wildflower honey from the farmer’s market.

-Bulbs for spring planting.

-Jars of homemade rose water.

I always love to hear your ideas in the comments, so feel free to add your own!