Everything You Need to Throw a Fall Cocktail Party

Hey, we see you over there, secretly trying on all your new suede booties and moody florals to coolly transition to the new season. But instead of sliding slowly into fall this year, how about giving it a big, warm festive welcome with a showstopping fall cocktail party? Because fashion may be seasonal, but cocktails are always in style.

Create an Irresistible Appetizer Spread

Heavy bites are a crucial part of any cocktail hour (you probably know from personal experience that all drinks and no food never ends well). Whip up a few sweet and savory apps that are easy but filling, like seasonal mini apple tarts, sweet potato crostini or anything with puff pastry. And don’t even think about skipping the cheese board. Up the ante with a spread fit for a food blogger: Woven runners, rustic wood serving boards and galvanized metal cake stands emulate the rich textures of fall, and an assortment of little pumpkins (waxy and metallic) make it all the more appetizing.

Provide a Well-Stocked Bar Cart

These serving vehicles are so much more than small-scale liquor cabinets—they’re the decor trend du jour that you’ve probably seen splashed across home blogs everywhere. Wheel yours out from the corner and use it as a functional focal point for all your drink-related supplies. Serve up your signature cocktails elsewhere (more on that below), and use your cart to house these other necessities: glasses, wine bottles from guests, extra napkins, barware accessories, coasters and a bucket of ice. Here, a few tips for when you’re ready to start arranging.

Serve Big-Batch Cocktails

Large quantities of festive treats are just more fun, plain and simple. Find a glass dispenser with a tap to get the fall juices flowing, and place it on top of a rustic tablecloth. (Hint: Elevating your drink dispenser so that guests can easily stick their glasses under the tap will save you a lot of sticky-spilled grief. A sturdy box or cake stand slipped underneath the table runner works perfectly.) Then, place natural accents like live wood trays and seasonal fruit around your spread. Top it off with a cake stand full of more sweet bites…after all, enough spiked cider does make a girl forget she’s on a sugar cleanse.

Set Up a Board Game Arena

Nothing encourages natural mingling like a little friendly competition (of the board game variety). Stock your coffee table with board games, placemats, and, most importantly, assorted bowls filled with salty snacks. Since guests aren’t restricted by available chairs and can gather around on your seating or the floor, everyone can squeeze in for a turn to bond over a nostalgic game of Checkers. Scatter a few cute coasters across the table like fallen leaves, and consider the new season officially kicked off

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