Carla McDonald of The Salonniere - Neiman Marcus
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Carla McDonald of The Salonniere

Regina Campbell

September 24, 2014

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With the beginning of autumn, the change in season has us thinking of celebrating. A new cozy knit dress, a fresh shade of lipstick and a fall cocktail welcome the change in scenery. Who better to provide fall entertaining tips than Carla McDonald, founder of The Salonniere, the playful and delightfully informative blog dedicated to entertaining?

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NM: The key to a good fall cocktail party…
CM: is a fun, interesting and diverse group of guests with great summer stories to tell.

NM: To make any cocktail party fun and festive, don’t forget…
CM: to create a playlist that reflects the sounds of the season. It’s a subtle – but instrumental (pun intended) – party touch. Some songs to consider are “Autumn Leaves” by Nat King Cole, “Sweet Potato Pie” by James Taylor, “September” by Earth, Wind and Fire and “Forever Autumn” by the Moody Blues.

NM: When it comes to the decor…
CM: reflect the colors, textures and tastes of autumn by using warm-toned linens, thematic serving pieces like the leaf platters and bowls from Michael Aram and floral arrangements that include the fruits, vegetables and herbs of fall.

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NM: Drink recommendations…
CM: A signature cocktail is a great way to set the right party tone. For fall cocktail parties, there’s nothing like a classic Manhattan to put your guests in the mood for the cool, crisp days of autumn.

NM: And for food…
CM: serve a variety of warm, earthy nibbles that feature squash, pears, fennel, figs, apples and the other flavors of the season. Butternut soup served in shot glasses and garnished with fried sage leaves is a delicious seasonal touch that looks beautiful passed on trays.

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NM: Best way to start the conversation…
CM: “What’s your favorite memory from summer?”

NM: The chicest fall table decor always…
CM: has lots and lots of candles to make everyone look and feel gorgeous, and draw them toward the center of the table as though they’re gathering around a hearth.

NM: Most memorable cocktail party…
CM: To me, a fun party is an unforgettable one.

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