One of the things that has been the hardest from me during the pandemic is not being able to gather and entertain. Planning and hosting large parties literally gives me life. From putting together the menu to assembling the place settings and tablescape, I love having an outlet for my creativity that results in breaking bread with family and friends. It’s just the best!
Luckily, over the past few months we have been able to socialize selectively and responsibly with close family and very few friends. We gathered with immediate family to celebrate Kevin’s 30th birthday, as well as my sister’s birthday, both outside and with everyone quarantining leading up to the gathering. After we moved, we were able to host an intimate party with my immediate family to celebrate my other sister’s engagement that occurred earlier in the summer.
It has been so important for us to be able to spend some in person time together, which is why I am posting this hosting idea. Whenever we gather we take necessary steps to ensure we are keeping one another safe and healthy. My sister even got tested for COVID prior to her engagement party to make sure her flu-like symptoms the week before were not the virus. So that is my friendly little disclaimer when hosting; have a plan, discuss what your guests are comfortable with, and keep one another’s health at the center of your decisions.
Now onto the fun stuff, hosting your autumnal brunch! I think that brunch is the perfect meal to gather with a small group of people; it is cozy, inviting, and honestly, who doesn’t love brunch food? If those people exist, we aren’t friends. We set our menu with all autumnal inspired twists on brunch classics: maple and brown sugar bacon, pumpkin spiced waffles, apple caramel yogurt parfaits, and cider mimosas.
For the pumpkin spice waffles we used this recipe I found online. We love baking from scratch but you can also use a pumpkin waffle mix, like this one. To add some festive flair, we utilized this mini pumpkin shaped waffle maker to make the perfect personal serving sizes. On our honeymoon we picked up bottles of Vermont maple syrup, which we love to add to pancakes and waffles. You could also served whipped cream and an apple compote as toppings to your waffles.
The maple and brown sugar bacon was divine! We followed this recipe and used our go-to Applegate bacon which is a favorite from our time on Whole30. We added some glazed maple pecans to garnish the serving dish. YUM.
For the apple parfaits, we did a fine dice on 2 larger honeycrisp apples and then layered them in glasses with vanilla greek yogurt, swirl of caramel sauce, and vanilla granola. Our berry yogurt parfait bar always seem to be a hit at our Christmas brunch, so we wanted to give them an autumnal spin for our fall brunch.
Lastly, the quintessential brunch drink; a mimosa! For our brunch we are subbing the orange juice with apple cider. To add a festive touch you can also rim the glass with a cinnamon sugar mixture. We suggest a ratio of equal part cider to champagne to really get that cider flavor.
Once our menu was decided, I moved on to setting the table! In addition to wanting to take advance of the gorgeous weather we can experience in the fall here in Michigan, we also thought hosting outdoors would be a good idea in the current coronavirus climate. AND since we just finished our backyard patio, it was a great excuse to host on it.
We didn’t buy anything new for the place settings, but I found either exactly the same items still in stock or nearly identical ones to link if you want to recreate these place settings! Both the burlap and white decorate chargers are several years old and I use them all.the.time. We used our white Corelle dinner plates, they are my favorite hack for durable, low maintenance, simple white plates that go with so many place settings! Finally, we topped with a season pumpkin plate (linking similar) and orange cloth napkin to match the gingham pillows and cute mini pumpkins.
For a smaller dinner party, I love to be able to set the food on the table and share family style. Because space is limited, that meant no large or very elaborate centerpieces or tablescape, since the food is the focus. I opted for white and orange mini pumpkins scattered casually among the food and 2 low-height faux plants to anchor each end of the table. We supplemented the cider mimosas with carafes of water and plain cider on each end of the table. I love providing pitchers on the table to ensure guests are able to enjoy their meal without needing to leave frequently for water or drink refills.
One of the reasons we fell in love with this home while we were house hunting this summer was the back porch. We loved how spacious and unique it is. From the pavilion style covering to the recessed lighting and ceiling fans, to the intentional jog in footprint to separate entertaining spaces, we could instantly envision a life out here. Once we moved in, furnishing the space became a top priority so we could utilize it as much as possible before winter came. We wanted it to feel like an extension of our indoor living space and included a full dining and living area complete with area rugs, blankets, and lots of throw pillows.
In the sitting area of the porch we set up a little tea tray so that guests could mingle more comfortably on the couch and oversized chairs while enjoying some cinnamon tea. You could also turn this into a coffee tray by switching the honey for cream and sugar, and a kettle for a French press.
To decorate for the occasion, we added fall themed pillow covers, bought some mums and pumpkins, and filled the firewood holder. We also brought out a few neutral blankets to cozy up the space, plus if anyone was chilly, there was something for them to cuddle up in. These were simple and easy touches that made our back porch feel ready for fall!
I’ve rounded up all the links in this post below for you to easily access all product information if interested. I hope you enjoyed this post on hosting an autumnal brunch and also seeing our back porch reveal for fall!
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