Back in August we hosted a small dinner party with stylist & friend of Meadowlark, Julia Thompson. All the guests wore Meadowlark and danced until the early morning. Julia writes below how to host an iconic dinner party and the nostalgia that drives her.
When Claire asked me to make a Meadowlark playlist for a dinner party I couldn’t help but think how wonderful it would be to live that moment. I feel lucky to orbit the beautiful world that is Meadowlark and to bring that into my home felt like a gift. A chance to share, to take a moment, bring friends together and to remember (with a huge cup of intention) that we can create a little slice of magic… just because.
I vividly remember the dinner parties my parents would throw when I was a child. All the senses that evoke good memories come flooding in. It’s the taste of cake batter Mum let me lick off the spoon, it’s the sound of George Benson Dad put on the record player, and it’s the smell of their perfume reserved for special occasions. It’s the low light and the moment of calm just before the feeling of excitement that begins to rise in anticipation for the guests to arrive, for a story about to unfold. It was a vibe. And I have chased it ever since.
I adore entertaining and for me it is all about generosity. I think cooking for other people is such an expression of love & care and it doesn’t have to be fancy nor expensive, just considered.
The key for me is to prep, so you can be present. I say, do as much as you can in advance, so it’s just a case of boiling the water for the pasta and dressing the salad.
It takes a bit of effort to appear effortless on the night but it’s worth it not to miss out on those beautiful moments that unfold. I find spacing out the courses helpful, it gives you time to engage in conversation and be at the table rather than in the kitchen.
I often set the table the night before, it’s like dressing a film set for me and I like to take my time as I find it creative and deeply enjoyable. Lighting is an essential at my table. I am obsessed with always having candles lit at the table, no matter what meal. It’s amazing how much candlelight can add a little sense of magic. And always flowers. I like to take a bunch for the host when I am a guest.
Speaking of guests – an intimate dinner to me really, is about the company. A space for laughter, for discovery and meaningful conversations. I love introducing people that I think need to know each other. I also love inviting a friend that none of the other guests have met. It makes for interesting conversation and hopefully everyone leaves having made a new friend, or having deepened a connection with a once previous acquaintance.
The playlist is so important, it really does set the mood and tone of the evening. I always include plenty of bangers at the end so you can push the table aside and get a dance floor happening with your new favourite friend. Hopefully you’ll be dancing into the wee hours!
Lastly, ENJOY YOURSELF, surrender and let the night unfold. Leave the dishes 'till your last guest has departed and the messy table to ‘read’ in the morning. You might just glean something you missed the night before...
Digital imagery by Yasmine Ganley. Film images by Claire & guests – Rosie, Brendan, Brodie, Zac and Anne.