Thoughts on Entertaining
Lots of planning.
I am going to share me my philosophy of entertaining. This is what works for me and if you take one idea away from today, then we are golden. At this event last year Laura Bolton spoke and, for me, her best advice was to know in advance what you are going to wear.
I always try to be a guest at my own parties.
There is no point inviting friends over and then spending the whole time stuck in the kitchen. For me the key is creating a menu which calls for little last minute prep and allows for most of the work to be done ahead of time. For large numbers a buffet probably works best with most of the food served at room temperature.
Make everyone feel welcome as they arrive
Try and be ready for your guests so when they arrive they instantly know it is going to be a good evening. Create a wow factor, decorate the table where food will be served, light candles or tea lights, and think about which flowers work best. If you are outside fairy lights in the trees look beautiful, in cold weather have a roaring fire and music always helps. If I run short on time I always choose to give the surfaces one last clean and sweep the floor. I am often still finishing appetizers when my friends arrive, but that is a fun thing to do together (in a way that sweeping the floor isn’t!)
Themes are great
I love themed parties as it gives you a chance to be creative with the menus and decorations. I think it is also fun for guests. Country themes are great where all the food and wine comes from one region. My husband came up with a fantastic theme for his recent birthday and invited everyone to Comicon Darien on New Years Eve. He mocked up invitations, complete with ticketmaster email confirmations. We decorated the house with all the geeky things we could find and were blown away by all the costumes are friend wore on the evening. For my last big birthday which falls near Christmas I wanted something really special so sent out printed invitations asking everyone to attend a Sparkling Winter Ball. With the help of my wonderful friends we decorated with snowflakes and fairy lights and everyone turned up looking fabulous. As it was my party I had the best dress, full length, strapless, fishtailed silver sequined ballgown,which leads me to my next point
You can never be too sparkly
I think that point is fairly straight forward
Informal yes, casual never
Attention to detail. Personally if friends are going to give up time to be with me I like to use all my favorite dishes and glasses.
Accept help, but don’t rely on it.
Cheat..buy stuff. My daughter wanted macaroni chreese for thanksgiving so I bought it from Costco. As my friend Irene Trautmann’s mother said ‘Once you have bought you will never make it again’.
Don’t penalize the guests who do turn up for the ones who don’t. If anything, if your numbers are lower than hoped for put extra effort into the event.
At some stage accept that it is what it is. So you didn’t manage to make that fifth dessert, or the turkey is a little overcooked. Its fine, relax, ,you are with friends, as my new hero Adina said ‘Let it go!’