If you’re hosting your first dinner party, remember this: A beautifully set table can take a simple dinner gathering into much-talked-about status for your guests. But also know this, it does not necessarily need a whole big production to set a wow-worthy one. While hosting a first-time dinner party can feel quite daunting, Beverly Hills-based TV host and soon-to-be mom-of-two Alyssa Julya Smith told us it doesn’t have to be quite so intimidating. 

“Everyone’s style is different and I try not to be a perfectionist–a little chaos can be fun,” suggests Smith, who’s been busy finishing her home with her husband the past few years, but that hasn’t stopped them from hosting gatherings nearly every weekend since they moved in during the holidays. “I’m also new to this, so I’ve been figuring out my ‘dinner party flow’ if you will, but the more you do it, the better it gets!” 

Here are four easy tips from Smith to keep in mind on setting an effortless, compliment-worthy table for first-time dinner hosts. 

Pull inspiration from your own house for your table

“We have dark green accents in our kitchen (like our oven and dining chairs), so the dark green Colorblock Embroidered Linen Napkins and Placemats, and the Squiggle Hand-Painted Candles are perfect ways to tie in that color. Plus they all feature these squiggly lines, which is a recurring theme in our house through some of our furniture and art. It’s also why we fell in love with the squiggle cutlery–it has that contemporary look, while being unique and playful.”

Break out the really fun pieces

“When guests come over, I love to take out the plates with charming designs, colorful cutlery, crystal glasses and embroidered napkins. I love having eye-catching pieces for the table because it just makes it more fun–and eating should be fun!”

Keep decor minimal but impactful

“Because we usually serve our guests family style, there needs to be room for serving dishes on the table. I use multiple small floral arrangements and candles throughout the tablescape and buffet, so you can always see who’s across the table.”

Lighting is key

“A mix of dim lights and candles are a must–it really turns the whole dinner party into an experience for all the senses.”

March 06, 2023 — Renée Tse