My most cherished memories are those centered around a table, enjoying delicious food with my closest friends and family. Even from a young age, I remember my mother taking such pride in every little detail when having guests over. Each year, we look forward to the various parties she hosts from her infamous Halloween costume bash to the traditional Christmas dinner with just the immediate family. Big or small, nothing is ever spared down to cloth napkins and centerpieces. What I always take away from these get‐togethers is how much the guests enjoy themselves.
So I asked my mother to impart her entertaining wisdom to inspire and help you prepare for your next soiree, whether it’s your upcoming holiday party, a birthday or other special occasion:
This past year’s Mardi Gras soiree!
1. Create the atmosphere/mood. Think about how you want it to feel to your guests. Details matter! Small details can make a huge difference in setting the tone for your party. People do notice as a great party appeals to all the senses. You want a great smell whether it’s the food cooking or a scented candle. Also, the decorations are very important in creating excitement; it can be flowers, china, candles, fabric — whatever helps create a special atmosphere. Use cloth napkins, good glasses and dishes — things that feel good to the touch as well as look good. Lastly, don’t forget the music!
2. Find ways to make guests feel special and welcome from the minute they arrive at your party. I think lighting and lanterns hung and displayed outside do that from the minute guests arrive at your home or event. Walking in the door and being wowed by decor, candles, beautiful table setting, fab food and drink all set a festive happy mood, which makes people feel special and welcome. Little details like beautiful or funny cocktail napkins, great drink options and glasses, visually appealing and delicious food (I like an abundance) all allow the guest to feel as if you are making to be enjoyed by them! Color of food is important and generally a variety of colors on a plate is nice.
3. Serve your guests their preferred drinks! Another way to make your guests feel special (if you are familiar with your guests) is to serve things they love and make sure you have the alcohol and wine they prefer. (Examples: I always have Crown and sprite and Rose for my friends, tequila for those drinking tequila and water (popular these days cause low carb and calories), martini makings for those that love a classic martini, and the kind of beer I know people will like.)
Megan and I with Chelsey at her rehearsal dinner.
4. Light the candles! Candles create a magical, warm atmosphere. Use a lot of them! Lighting is very important so try dimming the lights, in addition to having candles.
5. Have as much done as possible before your guests arrive so you can greet them and enjoy the party yourself. When you relax and have fun yourself, most likely your guests will then do the same. In general, I’m big on things that can be prepared ahead of time and are easy to eat.
Megan and I enjoying this year’s Halloween costume bash!
6. Create a theme.
It’s fun to have a theme party like a fiesta or Mardi Gras and serve appropriate food for the theme.
I always look to Pinterest
for inspiration, but take the inspiration you find online and combine ideas to make the decor your own. I like to make it elegant but fun, which means no paper plates, etc! And remember the invite should reflect the theme. I find paperstyle.com
has great selection. Once again, the details make your party special!
The table setting for this past year’s Mardi Gras Soiree!
Have fun planning your upcoming party and infusing your personal touches throughout! For inspiration, be sure to follow my mother on Pinterest HERE
where you can find ideas for tablescapes (her speciality) and tons of other inspiration for special occasion hosting. Stay tuned for more on how she is going to turn this passion into a reality for everyone — coming in 2020!
Want to know what to wear for your next special occasion? Join the SYC
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