Entertain In Style In 2017

TOAST shares the hottest entertaining trends for 2017

With 2017 well under way, it's time to move out of the winter blues and start planning your social calendar for the year ahead. But if you want to make sure your the hostess with the mostess laying on instagram-worthy gatherings, then it's time to get up to date on this year's hottest entertaining trends as TOAST talks to some of the UK's top event experts about how to entertain in true 2017 style, and their top tips for planning like a pro!

Fresh and Revitalising Colour 

A new year of entertaining means a fresh start, and nothing could be fresher than colour experts and all-round trendsetters Pantone and their chosen colour for 2017 – it’s called Greenery. Described as ‘a refreshing and revitalizing shade’ and ‘symbolic of new beginnings’ – it’s chic, uplifting and optimistic – just what we need in 2017! Plus, it’s an elegant and versatile shade that matches well with 2017’s other hotly tipped colours. 

This year we expect to see swathes and swathes of greenery used to dress and decorate homes and venues. Garlands over doorways, on top of welcome signs, on tables, you name it!” explains Jen Sinclair, founder of Bellaboo and Beau, a creative wedding and event styling company based in Kent

And blush/rose pink with golds and white are going to be big too. Rose gold finishing touches and metallic pops! Bring these out in your table decor, stationery, paper decorations, and signage for stylish effect.”

Emma Peak, Creative Manager at award-winning venue styling company Pumpkin Events agrees;

It's about the botanical garden look - think lush greenery, lots of foliage with additional touches of nude florals and gold accents to add an element of luxe.

Botanicals (such as succulents, herbs and cacti) and less formal greenery (lengths of rustic ivy and other informal foliage) are perfect for decorating the table at home, offset by paler pink tableware and splashes of metallic. For added drama add jewel-toned accessories that complement greenery, such as elegant emerald and soothing amethyst.

Another print set to be big this year is marble; from beautiful marbled cakes to elegant stationery, it is effortlessly stylish, timelessly sophisticated and provides the perfect partner for lush greenery and metallic pops. 

Bellaboo And Beau Table Names

(Image: Bellaboo and Beau Events)

Blue Ribbon Waterford Crystal Imagery

(Image: Blue Ribbon Right is Emerald Glassware is Waterford Crystal and the marble with gold edge platter is Aurum Home, florals from Nikki Tibbles Wild at Heart imagery by Holly Clark Photography Second Image:  Treasure Collection by Sieger by Fuerstenburg image from Blue Ribbon)

Marble Cake By SWT Cakes

(Image: Marble Cake by SWT Cake Company)

Get Personal

When it comes to the overall feel and atmosphere of entertaining this year – the buzz word for 2017 is personalisation. Smaller, more intimate gatherings will rule over typical larger formal affairs, and that means taking a little more time to make your guests feel valued.  Of course, with this small is beautiful ethos, just making the guest list will be enough for some guests, but to make them feel extra special  personalise your event as much as you can. From the style and theme of your occasion being designed to fit shared passions for specific theme or cuisine to table stationery and your décor there are a multitude of thoughtful ways to create a personal touch. Just cooking yourself shows care and thought without having to spend too much. 

Entertaining that displays your personality is really what gets remembered, so choose something about yourself, or about you as a couple, and create something unique” advises Pumpkin’s Emma Peak,

“Love to travel? Create a travel-themed table plan or themed personalised place settings at home. Love the countryside? Create your centrepiece from wellington boots and wild flowers. Whatever you decide to do - it’ll be the unique, tailor-made ideas that will keep everyone talking about your event for years to come”

Entertaining Just Because

Now we know there doesn't have to be a reason to get together with friends and family but 2017 is billed to be the year of 'Just Because' entertaining - a mantra that we at TOAST firmly believe in! Let’s face it – we live in somewhat uncertain times so it's time to have some fun, and what better than to gather your loved ones together and enjoy each other’s company, just because!

Expert event consultants Apollo have been creating extraordinary and inspiring events since 2002; Managing Director Tim Hanbury recommends teaming up when it comes to entertaining this year.

We’ve certainly noticed an increase in families celebrating joint birthdays and anniversaries together e.g a combined 50th and 21st. If you’re investing in a party then it makes sense to get the whole family involved, and there’s nothing more special than seeing friends and family of all generations coming together to PARTY!” he laughs.

And if you’re planning something bigger for later in the year, then it’s time to hop down to the cinema for some inspiration.

Films will continue to make great themes for parties this year,” explains Tim. The Great Gatsby and James Bond are always winners and we’re sure that La La Land will be high on the list this year too. They all have one thing in common – GLAMOUR and glamour is really in this year. Plus, it’s the perfect excuse to get dressed up!”

“For real glamour factor – sequin linen is another huge trend that in continuing into 2017 with blush, rose gold and champagne still being a favourite for colour palettes” recommends Pumpkin’s Emma.

“And the use of lighting to create an ambience and luxe feel will rise. From festoons of fairy lights and hanging candles, to lights wrapped around marquee poles and trees - you name it!” adds Jen of Bellaboo and Beau.

Just Because

Eccentric and Interactive Food 

Once the table is laid and your home is looking fabulous, you’ll need to think about the food and the good news is that fuss is out, and feasts are in.

“Food is set to be less formal and have more of a “family-dining” feel, with buffets, barbecues and grazing stations seeing a definite rise in popularity” says Caroline Green of bespoke wedding planners The Planning Lounge. 

Food stations, like doughnut walls and sweetie tables and interactive food bars, such as build-your-own-burrito bars are set to get even bigger and better this year, with hosts and their guests seeking more interactive elements and much more theatre. Think about presenting your food extravagantly, such as whole fish or a whole lamb that everyone can tuck in to.

“If you’re planning a larger event then consider providing your guests with smaller, varied offerings rather than with one huge meal. Like a couple of street food options,” adds Jen of Bellaboo and Beau. “This will mean that no matter what time it is, if people are hungry, they can eat!”

“Locally sourced and in-season produce will continue to dominate menus, with a wider selection of raw foods and superfoods on offer for the health-conscious” adds Caroline. And leading the way in international cuisine this year will be Mexican and Nordic foods, taking prevalence over the recent trend for Eastern and Oriental inspired dishes” 

When entertaining at home, the emphasis this year is on thoughtful, home-cooked unfussy food using ingredients that have been sourced locally. Using pre-arrange recipe delivery services like Hello Fresh and the Mindful Chef will continue to be popular, allowing gourmet standard menus to be served affordably and without too much fuss in your own home.  

Vegetarian and vegan food is also gaining more and more popularity by the day with a variety of food festivals coming to the UK. Not everyone wants to eat meat anymore so  consider serving up a simple but delicious vegetarian dish as the main, at your next dinner party. 

Kalm Kitchen Dessert Tables

(Images: Kalm Kitchen's incredible dessert displays)

Drinks Go Back To Basics

The less fuss trend should also be applied to your drinks offering too. Unusual craft beers and wines from less obvious regions such as Hungary and Macedonia are set to be popular, and cocktails will see a return to classic options such as Manhattans, Old Fashioneds, and Dark and Stormies. It’s all about using fewer ingredients – quality over quantity, as the saying goes.

Yes with cocktails we’re definitely seeing a lean back towards older traditional British classics, such as the Pimms Cup, White Lady and Temperley Sour” says Caroline.

So whether you’re planning an intimate dinner for two or a summer party for 200, don’t forget to entertain in style this year. And before you go - here are the events expert’s top tips for planning it like a pro! 


The Event Experts Top Tips for Entertaining in 2017 

Stay focused

'It is all too easy to want it all! When planning any event, be it a large wedding or an intimate dinner party, be wary of an out-of-control Pinterest board that lacks direction, consistency or quite often the case - achievable results. Plan the fundamentals and then see what budget you have for the ‘fun bits’ - Jen Sinclair, Bellaboo and Beau.

Limit your options

'Speaking of Pinterest – when searching around in the initial stages of planning, the endless possibilities can seem overwhelming! Try to set a limit of no more than 5 options for each element of whatever your planning in order to avoid a lengthy - and sometimes stressful - decision making process' - Caroline Green, The Planning Lounge.

Don’t sweat the small stuff

'Whenever you’re entertaining – make sure that you enjoy it. Planning comes naturally to some but to others it can be torture! Make the most of friends and family who offer help where they can!' - Jen Sinclair, Bellaboo and Beau.

Get help!

'If entertaining doesn’t come naturally to you to you - get help! A planner can hold your hand and guide you through every aspect of it.  Dealing with one point of contact will save time, money and a whole lot of stress, enabling you to really enjoy your own party.' - Tim Hanbury, Apollo Events.

Work with what you’ve got

'One of our top tips is to aim for a cohesive scheme that works with your venue or home’s current décor. Choose colours that tie in with the room’s current décor and pick out accent colours in the florals and tableware'. – Emma Peake, Pumpkin Events.

Don’t neglect the linen

'Consider hiring in your table linen - stark white table linen wont do any scheme much justice if you’re going for gold! It doesn’t have to be luxurious satin or sequin linen, even an ivory linen will provide a much softer base for your scheme, although sequin linen is another huge trend that in continuing into 2017. – Emma Peake, Pumpkin Events.

Keep a seating buffer

'When planning a wedding or larger event - if you’re not assigning a set seating plan for your guests, allow an additional 5% buffer in the number of places available. Not everyone will be confident enough to sit with people they don’t know, and this small buffer can avoid any seating mis-haps on the day'. - Caroline Green, The Planning Lounge.

Give yourself plenty of time

'It’s far more enjoyable only having to sort a few things out per month. Get a save the date out early, official invites to follow.  That way you don’t waste invitations on those who can’t come!' - Tim Hanbury, Apollo Events.

Trust your instincts 

'When it comes to suppliers there is so much choice! Sometimes it can be really hard to decide who to employ for your special day. Listen to recommendations from people and websites that you trust, sample their services/products when you can but most importantly, trust your instincts. If it doesn’t feel right then it probably isn’t.' - Jen Sinclair, Bellaboo and Beau.

For more information on Bellaboo and Beau, Pumpkin Events, The Planning Lounge and Apollo Events you can find their individual profile pages in TOAST’s Little Black Book, along with a wonderful selection of talented caterers, entertainers, event stylists and more who can help bring your entertaining ideas to life! 


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