Marcus Longinotti, creative director at Sydney's Gastronomy, and Georgie Kay, owner of Georgeous Occasions in Melbourne share their tips for this season's hottest party looks.
There are two on-trend colour palettes this season, Kay says. It's either bright pops of colour or metals, marble and wood. Add some theatre. Food trucks arriving at the end of the night or stand-alone stations such as the slider diner, hot-dog stand or soda bar add interactive fun.
Be consistent and keep it simple. Don't mix themes and don't complicate food on a platter. As a rule of thumb, one style of canape per platter.
If you've got a sideboard or kitchen island, put it to use. Buffet style is big news. Guests love to choose their own; it lets them mingle and refill at leisure.
1. The skinny on dips
Bowls are not required this season - just smear dips on the platter in generous proportions.
2. A moveable feast
Marcus Longinotti from Gastronomy sets the record straight. "The noodle box has earned its place in culinary history, but its time is not now." Try mini tin buckets as an alternative.
3. The platter matters
From crudites to petit fours, wooden boards are the serving tool du jour. Artfully line them with paper (brown, then baking) and add a handwritten menu note for extra style.
4. Bright idea
Liven up your white platters with removable wall dots. Each canape gets a new coloured sticker. Pen the menu item on the dot.
5. Be bold
Take a break from white china with beautifully enamelled Moroccan bowls (see an example in the photogallery above).
6. Action stations
"We are using jam jars as decorative tools this season - not for drinking or eating," says Kay, of Georgeous Occasions.
7. Get crafty
GP tongue depressors, but not as you know them (pictured above). These medical staples have countless uses - sturdier than regular sticks, cheaper than cutlery. They're $2 for a bag of 100 from your local $2 shop. Sticks were hand-dipped in Murobond paint, $10 per sample pot, murobond.com.
8. Subtle style
It's not all about colour. The other massive styling trend this season is rustic marble, metal and wood.
9. Colour-coated candy
If you have the time, then DIY is an easy way to inject colour. Buy or create lolly recepticles and match them to the colour of the sweets.
10. Perfect perspex
Perspex trays can be custom ordered in any colour.
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What styling tips do you incorporate to make your parties sparkle? Share a photo of your shining home entertaining moment and be in the running to win this great prize plus a Samsung Sparkling French Door fridge. Details: www.goodfood.com.au/sparkling-parties. Entries close December 19. #sparklingparties