Businesswoman, TV presenter, influencer and all round tastemaker, Laura Jackson, shares her tips on hosting the best dinner party, from choosing a great playlist to fuss-free, crowd pleasing dishes.
Few people have as good an eye as Laura Jackson when it comes to interiors, and it’s the dining table where she feels most at home. During lockdown Laura started the hashtag #makeamealofit, spurring on the country to set the table with joyful crockery, tapered candles and soft linens – even if it was just a table for one and a bowl of pasta.
Amidst the pandemic, Laura went on to co-found an online interiors emporium, Glassette, stocking one of a kind pieces that sung the same tune as her distinct style. So, who better to steal some hosting tips off than the women herself? Here she shares rules and secrets to creating the best dinner party, from dressing the table to picking the tunes and generally making sure you give your guests an evening to remember.
Have fun with it
I love a colourful table and that starts with a fun tablecloth – gingham or florals are my go-to. I love candles on the table and little stem jars of flowers or seasonal vegetables. Currently, I have been putting whole tomatoes on the table and they look very fun!
Curate a good playlist
For me, the perfect dinner party is a combination of the right crowd, great music and the perfect drink (Poretti is my fave right now). I have a playlist I’ve created for anyone hosting a dinner party on Spotify and it’s filled with catchy tunes that aren’t so loud you have to shout over the music.
Listen to Laura’s playlist here.
It doesn’t need to be fancy
A place card and hand written menu always feels special – I do think using simple A4 paper and the kids’ paints will do – it doesn’t need to be expensive or fancy, just authentic to you.
A dinner party doesn't need to be expensive or fancy, just have good music, guests and make it authentic to you.
Be a thoughtful guest
For me, if you’re going to someone’s house for dinner and want to take a gift, the more personal, the better. A unique tea towel or mini fondue sticks are great examples. Someone once brought me a vintage lemon-shaped ashtray, which I loved! I also feel like candles are such a great present for any host. Right now, I’m in love with the twisted, colourful ones at The Edition 94.
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Mix and match your crockery
Of course I need to mention Glassette, my own co-founded company. Lately I’ve been loving the CASA DE FOLKLORE Anna Horezu Serving Plates and ISSY GRANGER Ombo Glass Candlestick. Another favourite of mine is Kiosk48th for amazing homeware and crockery.
Invest in good linen
Don’t go overboard
Only cook for the amount of people you feel comfortable cooking for, there’s no point stressing yourself out. I would always tend to go with sharing platters because I find them a lot easier. I’ll do a big shoulder of lamb or a big roast chicken or a big bowl of potatoes. Things that feel plentiful, so if people are still hungry, they can help themselves. It also saves you a lot of prep time without multiple components to a dish.
Cook something that you’ve cooked before
Right now in the height of summer I am all about the BBQ. I have been making spatchcock chicken with herb sauce on repeat, served with a huge plate of BBQ new potatoes with creamy aioli, and a massive garden salad with tomato, shallots and lemon verbena!
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Be different with your drinks choices, it’s not all about wine
I am a huge beer drinker and have loved serving Poretti in its bespoke carafe at the table – it pairs with so many foods, it really is the perfect partner at meal times. I also love its Italian heritage and the fact that it’s 150 years old really shows that it’s ahead of its time when it comes to elevating food moments.
Always add a centrepiece
I love a flower display, or even a carafe, on its own. Add your own touches by making it a centrepiece on the table, perhaps with a stand out coaster, doily or floral rim to make it eye-catching and Insta-worthy!
Laura Quick FireTips For A Fuss-Free Dinner Party
- Turn the overhead lights off – favourable lighting works for everyone!
- Light candles all around the room – at different heights, this creates a perfect ambience.
- Don’t worry about the food too much, it’s about presenting it in a way that’s sociable – so sharing plates are a must.
- A place card and handwritten menu always feels special.
Shop some of Laura’s favourites below…
For more info on Poretti, visit birrificioangeloporetti.co.uk
Want more dinner party and tablescape inspiration? Check out more tips from three hosting experts here…
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