Entertaining with Rosanna Falconer
Rosanna Falconer is a brand consultant, creative and lover of all things colourful. Her tablescapes - which started as a new year's resolution in 2018 to hold more dinner parties - have featured in British Vogue, Glamour and The Daily Telegraph, with clients including Belgravia, Habitat and Cath Kidston.
Over the years, we have loved teaming up with Rosanna on an array of fabulous tables so we have asked Rosanna's tips on hosting the perfect dinner party.
What are your top 3 tips when designing a tablescape?
Seasonality is where things begin for me. When dreaming up a theme, the seasons provide rich inspiration, plus you can be sure you are choosing food and flowers at their most magnificent and plentiful.
Once I have a broad, seasonal theme, I add personality. Personal touches are the talking points that your guests remember and cherish. I love handwritten menus, flowers arranged in jam jars or place names written on leaves and shells.
Finally, it's so important with something as transient as a tablescape to remember sustainability. Try to invest, borrow or seek out second-hand. Glitter, balloons and plastic cutlery are the décor equivalent of those annoying guests who never leave. Forget a midnight departure: you could be waiting a millennium for these to decompose!
What inspired you when designing this tablescape?
"I don't have anything big planned. Just a giant blowout party with all the Barbies." That quote from the new Barbie movie captured the pure joy of hosting and putting in the extra effort to elevate the everyday. I loved the film and I’m fully aware of the irony of this quote though!
It was a coincidence that my first collection of table linens is block printed in every shade of pink but I’m delighted they coincide with the summer of Barbiecore and they worked so well here, especially alongside the Watermelon Sugar bouquet. I particularly love the Sheffield Park roses. They are so flamboyant and full. The picture perfect vision of a rose… I can just see them in Barbie’s Dream House!
What are your favourite summer flowers to use on a table?
Garden roses, especially fluffy marshmallow ones like Rosa Aphrodite. Those summer roses were the motifs I drew in pink and coral for my first collection of linens. As supporting characters in table bud vases, I adore English sweet peas and the way they dance across an arrangement.
What is one thing you think every dinner party should have?
Candlelight of every kind and height! Tea lights in jam jars, taper candles in candlesticks of different heights, pillar candles in the corners… It brings romance, atmosphere and mystery. I’m forever inspired by a dinner in India on honeymoon where there must have been 200 candles lit in an ancient step well!
What is your favourite part of hosting a dinner party?
Bringing together new friends. Back in 2018, entering my thirties, I realised that my social life wasn't as dynamic as 5 years before. My husband and I made a New Year's Resolution to host a dinner party every month to introduce new friends. Only about 30% of guests at each dinner would know each other and it’s brought about such wonderful new relationships: an author and his publisher… a designer and her strategic advisor… And yes, lots of romantic dalliances too but no marriages (yet!)
What is your favourite dish to serve?
My triple chocolate brownies. I’ve perfected the recipe over the years and always add chopped dates and Mars bars. Then I watch them like a hawk in the oven so they don’t overcook. There’s such a fine line between undercooked and perfect fudge brownie. My recipe is based on this one from Jo Pratt. The best thing is you can make them the night before. Serve with ice cream, berries and Nigella’s fudge sauce (2 minutes in the microwave).
What is the biggest tablescaping trend you’re seeing this year?
My background is fashion and I find that - happily - the world of interiors and tables is more timeless than clothes and shoes. That said, I’ve picked up on a more relaxed vibe: effortlessly knotted napkins (like here), abstract floral arrangements made using flower frogs and creased linens that look like they have been dried on the washing line outdoors.