When it comes to dinner party ideas, fashion designer Jenni Kayne never fails to impress us. Her latest grand coup: a magical Feed Supper in collaboration with West Elm, hosted to provide meals to children and families in need. The intimate event took place in the Beverly Hills backyard of Candace and Charles Nelson—best known for Sprinkles, a cupcake bakery with cult following. Guests mingled and dined alfresco under a canopy of arched olive trees, illuminated by dozens of flickering candlelights—all imagined by Kayne.
When we got wind of the event and its majestic setting, we had to chat with the designer about every last detail—and get her top tips on hosting an intimate dinner for fall. From what to use in your centerpieces to how to set the mood and serve your drinks, this hostess knows it all. Gather your friends in style before the weather drops—we've outlined Jenni Kayne's perfect plan.
To accommodate an impressive guest list—which included notables like Molly Sims, Rachel Zoe, Jessica de Ruiter, Estee Stanley, Marlien Rentmeester, and Nathan Turner—Kayne rented a series of dining benches from Found Rentals and topped the extra-long table with an elegant white tablecloth.
Found Rentals Joey Reclaimed Industrial Bench (price upon request)
As a party favor, Nelson made delicious cookies for guests to take home, individually wrapping them in pretty cardboard boxes set on each guest's seat.
The dinner was catered by Pizzana, Candace Nelson's new Italian restaurant, and guests were greeted with antipasti and cocktails by Annie Campbell. The menu followed with wood-fired meatballs, acorn squash with crumbled goat cheese, ricotta broccolini, charred artichokes, chopped kale salad, and hand-crafted Neapolitan-style pizzas by chef Daniele Uditi.
"Fall is a transitional season," says Kayne, "so I try to keep that in mind when I'm thinking about inspiration and florals for an event. I always like to incorporate natural elements onto my table so it ends up feeling pretty seasonal, from the décor to the menu."
To create the autumn-themed centerpieces, floral designer Kristen Caissie of Moon Canyon thought far beyond flowers. "Kristen used bowls filled with seasonal veggies and blooms to create a lush Italian countryside feel," says Kayne. "She incorporated artichokes, tomatoes, kale, and even butternut squash."
When it comes to choosing a centerpiece, Kayne advises to get inspired by locally sourced in-season items: "Make sure your florals and greens reflect the season and incorporate fall elements—adding something live to the table always elevates the mood."
To create atmosphere, Kayne recommends using flickering lights and lots of them. "Light candles around your house and get a fire going to make the atmosphere warm and cozy," she says. On the table, she layered an array of votives and hurricanes in different sizes. At night, the table just glowed.
As a last entertaining tip, Kayne suggested setting up a cocktail station: "Always set up a bar and show your guests how to create their own signature cocktail so they feel comfortable helping themselves and you aren't stuck behind the bar all night!" With this smart tip, the host was instead able to enjoy the company of her 30-some guests in a candlelit wonderland.