Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Fall Entertaining by Shanna Hatfield

Years ago, I used to sell a line of products designed to make entertaining at home easier, prettier, and more fun.

Today, I thought I'd share some of the tips and tricks I learned for hosting a fall gathering. If you are hosting a meal, buffets keep things super simple on the hostess and very casual for the guests. The three elements to setting a successful buffet table are height, color and texture. Remember those three things and you can’t go wrong.

When you are setting a buffet, start with a table covering. It can be anything you want to use. Feel free to get creative and think outside the box. I like to use flat sheets because they are inexpensive, drape well, are easy-care and come in a variety of color and sizes. Go with a neutral base. For this buffet I chose black as my neutral.

Add some height elements, remembering to keep your centerpiece on one end of the table to create visual interest. I used some cardboard boxes to create height then covered them with another black cloth. Over the top of that I layered a fun pumpkin print fabric to add more color and texture. For fall, if you don’t have a printed piece of fabric handy, use clean burlap, or anything in orange, gold, burgundy or earthy green.

The centerpiece is the next item to go on the table. Using fall florals from my yard, it was easy to pull one together. (Side note: carrot tops look green and fern-like if you don’t have anything else handy and they stand up much better than I thought they would! ) You could also create a bouquet out of leaves, pine cones, branches, dried vines or buy one at the store.

Plan where each dish will sit on the table. I like to make little party cards that say what is in each dish and then place them on the table before hand. That way, once it is time to put out the food, I know exactly where it goes. I have also been known to set out the serving pieces before filling them with food so I can see how the table will look.

Once you dish up the food and put it on the table, it will really start to pull the look together. The combination of height, color and texture found in your table coverings, serving pieces and food will impress your guests and look fantastic!

Another way to simplify entertaining is to choose a theme. Pick a fall theme then center your invitations, decorations and food around it and enjoy! See, doesn’t that sound easy? That’s because it is!  Entertaining at home doesn’t have to be complicated and themes are a great way to make a party so much easier on yourself.

Without further ado, here is a list of fall party theme ideas from A to Z!
Back to School
Crafter’s Gathering
Decadent Desserts
End of Summer
Foliage & Fun
Game Night
Harvest Festival
Indian Summer
King’s Castle
Leaves & Laughter
Maze Daze
Nature’s Splendor
Queen for a Day
Rag Time
Under the Umbrella
Wiener and Marshmallow Roast
X-ray Vision/Superheros
Zebra – (everything is black and white)

 Make sure you download your free copy of Savvy Autumn Entertaining, full of entertaining ideas for the fall season, easy recipes, and more! You can find the book on Amazon or download a PDF copy here.
And if entertaining isn't your thing, cuddle up with a cup of hot cider and read the newly released Fall Into Romance collection of sweet novellas. Ten brand-new romances set in the fictional town of Romance, Oregon, are sure to touch your heart and make you smile! 

Surround yourself in the romance of the autumn season with 10 heartwarming, sweet novellas from USA Today, national bestselling, and award-winning authors. Each story takes you inside the heart of a small town-its people-and features adorable animal friends in need of a forever home.
Get your copy today for just 99 cents!
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo | Google

My contribution to the set if Blown Into Romance.

   Artist Brooke Roberts spent her life without roots, wandering from town to town. When she seeks refuge from a freak storm in the town of Romance, she decides to stay and open a blown glass studio. Determined to immerse herself in the community, she adopts a family of pigs. Brooke is unprepared for the chaos and comfort they bring to her world, or the dashing cowboy who rescues her heart. 
  Solid, dependable Blayne Grundy runs a busy ranch, volunteers on various committees, and takes in stray animals too large to stay at the local animal rescue. Then a chance encounter with a beautiful, beguiling woman leaves him so befuddled, he can barely remember his own name. His predictable organized life is about to be blown away by free-spirited Brooke.

And here’s an excerpt:

“Hey, watch out! Get out of the way!” a man yelled to her immediate right. His deep, gravelly voice held a mixture of frustration and fear. “Whoa, Girl. Pull up there, Boy!”

Brooke’s head snapped up as two huge beasts came to an abrupt stop a few feet away from her, tossing massive heads and blowing puffs of air as they jangled shiny harnesses. Startled, she jumped back and tripped. A quick grab for a metal pole holding a traffic sign was all that kept her from falling onto her backside.

Heart thundering in her ears, she glared at the horses, noticing they pulled a large red wagon with hay bales on it, presumably for the hayrides she’d seen advertised. The angle of the sun shone right in her eyes, making it impossible to see the man driving the team of horses. If his voice was any indication, he was probably a grizzled old man, short on patience and full of cantankerous wisdom.

Brooke couldn’t help but cringe at how she’d blindly stepped right in front of the hulking team. Rather than feeling irritated at the driver for yelling at her, she should be grateful he’d caught her attention and brought the horses to a halt before she got hurt.

Never, not once in any of the towns where she’d resided, had being trampled by horses been a relevant concern. In fact, this was the closest Brooke had ever been to a horse. The unique smell of them drifted to her, along with the hint of cinnamon wafting on the breeze from the cider booth.

“Are you crazy, lady?” the man asked, although his censorious tone made it sound more like a definitive statement than a question.

“No, I just… I wasn’t…” Brooke stammered. Blunt and never at a loss for words, the ability for her to speak coherently fled the moment the driver swung off the wagon in one fluid motion.

Instead of the old man she’d pictured with salt-and-pepper stubble on his face and a rotund belly draping over his waistband, a rugged cowboy covered the distance to her in a few long-legged strides. She gauged him to be around thirty as he turned startling blue eyes on her, pinning her with a cool glare.

Brooke might have bristled at his look, except his handsome face distracted her, right along with his broad shoulders and solid chest. Dark blue jeans covered the heavy muscles of his thighs and stacked over his dusty boots. Didn’t guys only look like that in the movies or in big glossy advertisements?


After spending her formative years on a farm in Eastern Oregon, hopeless romantic Shanna Hatfield turns her rural experiences into sweet historical and contemporary romances filled with sarcasm, humor, and hunky heroes.

When this USA Today bestselling author isn’t writing or covertly hiding decadent chocolate from the other occupants of her home, Shanna hangs out with her beloved husband, Captain Cavedweller.
Find Shanna’s books at:


  1. Shanna,
    Everything about your post puts me in the mood for fall. Thanks for the Entertaining PDF, and best wishes on your latest release!

  2. You have so many great ideas, Shanna! The fall party theme ideas makes me want to set up something fun!

  3. Your skills can be certainly seen by you in the job you write. The arena hopes for even more passionate writers such as you who are not afraid to mention how they feel. All the time follow your heart.Gunmetal