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Fall Entertaining Tips From Celebrity Event Planner Andrea Correale

Stack your apps for instant appeal. If you're feeling fancy, trim with a cookie cutter. (Photo courtesy of 1-800-Flowers)

Summer parties seem to come together in a flash: Toss some flowers in a vase and put it on the picnic table, light up the grill and flip some burgers and dogs. The low-key, relaxed vibe of the season doesn't hurt either! Fall can provide some unique challenges, with cooler climates, fewer fresh decorations and different guest cravings. So we turned to Andrea Correale, celebrity event planner, caterer and expert, to gather some tips about how to throw the perfect healthy and fun autumn dinner party.

  • Let the sun shine. Use a sunflower color scheme to harken back to those summer blooms. For a fall feel, "accent it with burlaps or bronzes," Correale recommends.
  • Make shapes. Cookie cutters are a quick tool that add elegance to your meal presentation. "Try making an appetizer by stacking beefsteak tomatoes and fresh mozzarella and cutting a shape that fits your theme," Correale says. Stock up on a leaf or acorn pattern, or swap the tomato for roasted squash and use a pumpkin-shaped cutter.
  • Cater to your guests. This tip fits for any season: Ask your guests ahead of time if they have any favorite dishes or dietary restrictions. The whole crowd will be happier and it might save you some last minute stress! "I did an event last summer where Mary J. Blige was on a special diet and had to have homemade guacamole," Correale says. "So we drove through rush hour traffic in the Hamptons to get the ingredients and make it happen!"
  • Get them talking. "Edible bouquets are a visually beautiful option for a centerpiece and they're also a conversational piece," Correale says. People will gather around the fruit to snack on their favorites and you'll save money by combining your flowers and food.

(Additional reporting by Lauren Cardarelli, editorial intern)

Now tell us: How do you make your fall parties festive?