Harvest Moon Party: Celebrating the End of Summer in Style

Time Several Hours

Budget $ $$$

Skill Level

WORDS BY Gillian Grefe

Fill 1Created with Sketch.

Published on September 26, 2017

It’s been a long, hot summer. Even though it’s already October, it felt wrong to bring the focus inside after spending so long prepping our patios for summer entertaining. The weather is cooperating, too: it’s still warm in the sun, and the slight chill in the evening air gives the perfect excuse to break out our favorite light layers. Plus, there’s a harvest moon rising, and after the summer’s eclipse, we’re all about astronomical events. So, we decided to throw the ultimate outdoor harvest moon party at Shelby’s house. It’s a weird, transitional time that can be hard to pin down. But, we prefer to think of late summer/early fall as a time of creative freedom–allowing elements of past and future to meet in one fantastic, fun blend.

Curating the Occasion

Shelby, Havenly’s Head of Design, hosted us on her fabulous patio space. We joined her there early in the afternoon, where she designed a gorgeous tablescape worthy of the occasion. We re-potted her big platers with interesting fall plants, including grasses and cacti that brought drama and height to dark, moody flowers. (Pro tip: there are major sales on outdoor plants this time of year!) Shelby’s layered planters were the perfect way to bring lush greenery to her urban backyard, without the commitment of a planned garden. A great way to make the tablescape feel more organic and less formal is to place branches of greenery among the table settings. In this case, we chose sun-faded eucalyptus branches interspersed among shimmery votive candles.


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Cocktail Hour

Shelby made sure to have plenty of seating for her guests, and created conversational groupings out of comfortable rattan chairs and a contrasting iron sofa. At her long plank table, she kept things shady with a broad umbrella, and brought architectural interest with contrasting chairs: bamboo at the head of the table, modern metal on the sides. It was still hot at that hour, and Shelby stayed cool with a wide straw hat and breezy linen blouse.


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As the guests began to arrive, we played eclectic playlist to set the mood. The cocktail was a delicious Aperol Spritz, and Shelby had fizzy Topo Chico for everyone, a fun treat that paired perfectly with the festive appetizers. The beet hummus started conversations–its brilliant color made its taste even more delightful. And, as the light began to slant and the shadows grew longer, Shelby proved the perfect host. A gorgeous chiminea warmed the scene, and light blankets gave guests the perfect layer against the evening chill.

Dinner is Served

Everyone was utterly wowed as the sit down dinner began. The meal thoughtfully blended fresh summer vegetables and moodier fall flavors. The colors of the meal were incredible, and while everything was still light, the hint of colder weather came from elements like herbs and root vegetables, along with untraditional treatments of summer fruits (like grilled peaches) that brought fall spices into the flavor profile.


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The food paired beautifully with heady Spanish Rioja and lighter Mexican beer. For dessert, Shelby outdid herself with champagne garnished by pomegranate seeds. It was all served in eclectic dish ware that shone with warm, lustrous tones and brought artisanal textures of pottery and bone to the table. Even Shelby’s napkins riffed on the fun, playful setting. Altogether, the meal was warm, intoxicating, and unforgettable. It helped that conversation flowed freely in the glow of the candles sprinkled throughout the setting.

Shelby’s harvest moon party was the perfect close to one season and perfect beginning for another. While it marked the slow transition into colder temperatures, it built anticipation for the warmth of flavor and company in the months ahead.

If you need help decorating for your own event, be sure to shop our Harvest Moon Party inspiration board, with all of the products Shelby used for her own event. And if there’s anything else you need, be sure to ask our designers