How to Host a Chic Dinner Party, According to Trouvaille’s Britt Barkwell
Britt Barkwell has really good taste. In fact, she’s built a business on it with her brand Trouvaille, which helps on-the-go women discover and define their personal style via inspired editorials, curated collections and customized styling solutions.
As we head into the season of hosting, we caught up with Britt in her impeccably styled home to talk all things tablesetting, featuring some of her favourite Misette pieces. Here, her top tips for hosting a memorable gathering.
1. It’s all about the accessories.
“I am definitely a table minimalist,” says Britt. But that doesn’t mean the decor is dull. “I prefer to keep it casual and forgo a tablecloth, but I love to mix textures and favour natural linen napkins that look great against my hand-carved white oak table.”
From there, Britt leans on candles to up the ambience (our Natural Marbled Hand-Painted Candles, seen here, are a perfect complement to Britt’s neutral table). “Lighting is everything,” says Britt. “I love to set my table with a mix of candlesticks and votives in all different shapes and sizes.”
2. Keep your menu simple.
Now is not the time for an epic twelve-course meal. When hosting, Britt opts for unfussy food that leaves her more room to spend time with her guests. “We do a lot of seafood towers with fresh king crab, shrimp, lobster and oysters—my husband is an expert shucker,” says Britt, who often sticks to family-style serving for ease. “I also love to make mussels and frites. They are really easy and inexpensive if you’re entertaining large groups but still feel special.”
3. Give your guests a warm welcome (and goodbye!).
A welcome cocktail is a fun way to get the night off to a lively start. “I always have a bottle of champagne open or a signature cocktail for guests as they arrive—there’s no better way to set the mood,” says Britt. Lately, a classic crowd-pleasing gin and tonic is her go-to, with dehydrated limes for a photo-ready finish.
End the night on the same note by sending guests home with a little gift. “I love to visit a local flower market and make my own small arrangements in vintage vessels for the table,” says Britt. “At the end of the evening, I let my guests take one home to enjoy the next day.”
4. Don't be afraid to split up couples.
Want to make the party feel lively? Britt likes to separate couples around the table to encourage conversation and mingling. "I use simple handwritten place cards so there is no awkwardness about where to take a seat," she says.
5. Add layers with glassware.
“I am all about elevating the experience and using a variety of glassware,” says Britt, who styled Misette’s Bubble Glass Tumblers in Smoky Topaz along with the matching Champagne Glasses. “I love the mix of shapes and sizes and think it adds interest to any tablescape.”