My mom used to love hosting parties in her home, whether it was Diwali, a birthday, Christmas or my engagement. She would do up the place with things with such sentiment and care. I was always amazed at the level of detail. I love hosting parties, I always have. When I was single, I remember having some pretty renowned summer parties every summer at my parent’s house. When I was away in different cities working, I always had guests over; it was a sense of accomplishment. The one thing I always loved doing were tabletops and decor. Not having been the best cook, I think I made up for it with my decor interests.
Diwali time is such a wonderful time to take a moment, remember our traditions, our past and try to host a gathering even if it’s a small one with family or friends. Ever since I’ve become a mom, it feels like I have less and less time to add the touches I would like to. Between picking up kids, running them to activities work and family responsibilities, it seems like there’s never enough time to sit, think and be inspired!
Here are my top 5 tips:
- Find a theme colour The crux of Diwali is colour, so it’s a great time to experiment. Whether it’s rusty orange, fusia pink, gold or turquoise, you can turn parts of your table or home into a focal point. This year, I chose turquoise and gold for my tabletop with hints of pink. A centrepiece that sparkles is key. Find a reflective plate that you can put candles and colour on to make this a focal point for guests. I chose white candles to go with my metallic holders and sparkler-inspired turquoise holiday ornaments to add visual interest. Have any leftover pumpkins from Halloween? Bling it out! Glitter strips and a little bit of inspiration can transform your pumpkin into a nice item to add to your doorstep or on a table. You can also try a henna-inspired candle as one of your showpieces if you love DIYs. All items here except mirror are available at Loblaws.
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2. Choose a bold place setting. You want to make guests feel welcomed and want to sit down to share a meal. Growing up we didn’t pay much attention to china, but when I got married, I got some great sets as wedding gifts and there is no better time than Diwali to bring out the good stuff! I love gold and it’s a great colour for Diwali since we all know that we welcome Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity at this time of year.
Make it bold and bring out your best plates and settings. I chose a white table cloth I already had, gold placemats, a gold charger plate and my favourite wedding china to complete the look. Layering plates can make a setting have depth and adding a bowl for lentils or raitha is perfect for the top. Add a napkin with two layers one here is white linen with and Indian-inspired border plus a turquoise organza one rolled in. A wine glass (not for alcohol of course!) for a nice mango spritzer.
Tip: Don’t forget to make it sparkle! Make your settings sparkle with Cascade before your guests arrive with tips over at: foodnetwork.ca/cascade.
3. Have a mix of dishes for your vegetarian meal. Having a vegetable, bean and heartier dish as another option is perfect. Aloo gobi, chana masala and a palak paneer are the perfect pairing. If you feel like changing up your ‘traditional’ dishes, try a vegetable pilao or even a biryani, it can be just as filling instead of plain rice. You can also infuse your rice with cilantro or saffron to give more flavour. Check out our recipes for aloo gobi, saag, chana masala.
4. Encourage mingling by having a Tea Bar and give guests something to do. Having a place on a bar or countertop in your home and turning into a focal meeting point is great. Bring out your favourite teas, bagged or the ‘just pour hot water ones’ in a colourful basket along with some metallic mugs for added effect (see my reasoning for reflective elements above). Get some traditional Diwali clay diyas (lamps), and place them in a tray or thali.
5. Give guests something fun to do! Have each person pick/or decorate a diya they like and put it by their place setting. They can take it home as well as a keepsake.
6. Gift sweet boxes or sweets in fun way that will keep guests talking. We already have a great post on this here, but there’s a host of ways to either gift a sweet box to guests or serve them too!
I Choose a few boxes that I think work well, using bows and gold. You can also use small decorative boxes to just place two pieces of mathai in if you think your guest would appreciate that more.
Gulab Jamun is great for serving as is milk cake. I also lined one of my boxes with gold rose petals for a nice look inside. A coconut barfi is also great for gifting.
What are your favourite ways to throw a Diwali party? Share your ideas below!
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