One of the most luxurious and relaxing meals you can enjoy is brunch. Why? Impromptu with a glass of fizz, it brings the girls together in conversation from mid-morning to late afternoon. Designed as a family friendly gathering, it’s a hit with people of all ages. Or as a luxury celebration for two, it’s a relaxed meal that’s versatile and intimate enough to incorporate that frisson of romance. Importantly right now though, it can also easily be scaled up or down depending on the current Covid rules in play.
Easter is an occasion that’s all about marking new beginnings too, something we all possibly want to embrace this year. So, whilst we may not be able to host big parties, Liz Taylor, celebrity event planner and hospitality consultant, thinks a stylish Easter brunch is the perfect way to celebrate with family, friends and your ‘bubble’. She shares her tips with us on creating an Easter brunch brimming with stylish ideas and luxury touches.
Pick your palette – pastel shades of raspberry, mint and lemon or bright and beautiful hues – fuchsia, sunshine yellow and teal are popular. Use one of these colours against a backdrop of grey or white. One simple style trick to bring a beautifully curated feel is to create a scheme that uses multiple shades of one colour – deepest yellow to palest lemon or dark, rich, purple to softest lilac.
One way to introduce your colour is through food. Macaroons are such a fabulous way to bring a rainbow of colour to the table, and they are delightfully delicate and elegant, too. Arrange them in groups of the same shade for a table centre that looks too good to eat. A sweet station or pick and mix is another option that’s brilliant for children – fill up lovely vintage jars and provide little bags for them to help themselves. You could of course bring colour with candy coloured Easter eggs – or commission a gorgeous technicolour Easter cake as a centrepiece especially for the day.
Cocktails are a must to add vibrancy to your stylish Easter brunch. Add crushed raspberries or strawberries to a traditional mojito for an instant hit of colour and flavour. Or try rhubarb gin by adding sugar to rhubarb and allowing it to steep overnight. Strain the juice and add the gin the next morning, then serve to guests on arrival with a splash of good tonic. One is never enough!
The table is where you can really add some personality to your brunch. Set the majority of your table the night before, leaving only the floral elements for the morning to ensure a stress-free day. Nothing looks more appealing than a beautiful table set with fresh flowers on a bright spring morning.
Keep your design simple for the most stylish effect; brunch should be clean and fresh, so choose white tablecloths and crockery. Add a splash of style for a more grown-up soiree by placing a series of small vases filled with seasonal blooms lining the table – colourful tulips or fragrant freesia are a delicate choice. In between, use pretty holders such as elegant fruit bowls or vintage cake stands filled with colourful porcelain Easter eggs. Add some coloured glassware to reflect your colour theme, and the table will be simple but stylish – the perfect combination for a brunch.
Bring the outdoors in. Use a wooden table or simple linen cloth. Create a moss lined trough to run the full length and on top, arrange different large vases of spring flowers in between place settings, so guests can still see each other. Add small, pretty bowls of seasonal fruits, clear or green glassware and keep to earthy tones with pale green napkins to complete the table.
Try bunny napkin folding for a family brunch and place a miniature basket of chocolate eggs on each place as a gift. Add a tag, and it does double duty as a name card, or use an iced Easter bunny shaped biscuit as the place marker and get the children to help with the biscuit baking.
Don’t forget to leave some space for the food. A great brunch is all about lazy, leisurely dining that spans the time between breakfast and lunch. For family households and bubbles mixing together, think about dishes that you can serve up on the table and leave for guests to share and eat at their leisure. Pancakes piled high with a selection of toppings, breads and Charcuterie boards or a selection of delectable pastries and fresh fruit would all fit the bill perfectly.
Make an entrance
Decorations are not just for Christmas, so it’s time to invest in some gorgeous Easter décor to elevate your Easter brunch. A beautiful Easter wreath on the door sets the scene, showcasing the technicolour of spring flowers in bloom. Bring out the fun side of Easter with dainty, candy-coloured eggs nestled amongst the foliage, or for those feeling more playful, a bunny shaped wreath doesn’t have to look childish – quite the opposite when stripped back and rustic. Flank the door with twisted stem bay trees and a lovely welcome mat and you have the perfect entranceway to welcome new beginnings.
Deck the halls
We often ‘deck the halls’ in December but put an Easter twist on the festive tradition with eucalyptus garlands entwined around the staircase or over a fireplace. The more elaborate your garland the better – take it trailing down to the floor for dramatic effect. A growing trend is to introduce an Easter tree – similar to the Christmas tree, but usually with decorative branches or a smaller shrub than a pine tree. It’s a lovely way to create tradition and a sense of occasion, just keep the colours to one palette to ensure a stylish finish.
The English garden
According to the current roadmap, we should be able to meet with six people in a private garden around Easter time, so creating a beautiful outdoor dining area should be a top priority for your Easter brunch.
Remember, we may be seeing lighter days, but the phrase April showers is rooted in truth, so start with a sail or canopy to provide some cover. You can trim this with pea lights, industrial style (outdoor) light bulbs, flowers, foliage or delicate glass baubles containing mini Easter eggs.
Keep the food simple. Dust off the barbecue and serve up lamb kebabs – an Easter tradition or grilled halloumi, with a selection of breads and salads that can be prepared in advance.
A great socially-distanced option, is to lay out picnic blankets with parasols for shade. Don’t forgo the basket, even if it’s just the immediate family, that’s all part of the picnic experience. Serve up individual picnic platters with traditional rustic pies, sandwiches, a selection of cheeses with figs and miniature cakes, or opt for some warm options – chicken wings or homemade southern fried chicken. Serve with individual bottles of chilled fizz – complete with a straw.
Remember when dining outdoors, plastic and paper plates can be used and whilst I accept that they are a good Covid-safe option, they are not for me. Real crockery and cutlery always. And beautiful napkins embroidered with my guest names do double duty as a gift.
And let’s remember, we want everyone to leave with nothing but incredible memories, so embrace social distancing in all your table or outdoor seating. Providing individual miniature food platters and hampers avoids sharing with non-household members. Embrace the rules by creating gorgeous bespoke designed face masks. The children can design fun face masks for guests, and you can have these printed, or you can choose a designer fabric that you love for a more elegant touch. Place in a welcome gift bag with a beautifully scented hand sanitiser for everyone.
Liz Taylor is founder and CEO of the Taylor Lynn Corporation, and has been at the forefront of the UK event scene for over thirty years. During this time, she has planned a wealth of private and celebrity events. For more information, visit tlc-ltd.co.uk.
All images courtesy of Taylor Lynn Corporation.