This post comes courtesy of Monelle Totah, a member of Williams-Sonoma’s tabletop and home team.
Entertaining should be fun — for the guests, and more importantly, for you! When you think of the word “entertaining” it connotes a formal, conventional party, but having a friend or two over can be just as much of a party as hosting 40.
Here are a few of my favorite entertaining tips:
Entertaining doesn’t have to happen at night.
If you enjoy the mornings, a brunch, luncheon, picnic or backyard barbeque can make a great entertaining opportunity. It’s up to you to have the party when you want to have it; it’s about having fun, and that is something we can all use more of. In fact, it’s the only real reason to entertain!
It starts at the door.
I read once that “a party starts at the front door.” A wreath on the door, no matter what the season, is one of the most welcoming signs one can be greeted with. Second to that is the warm greeting your guests receive when they walk into your home.
Let the style determine the food.
Once you define your style of party — a buffet, a sit-down or a casual gathering — then you can decide on your menu. Keep it simple or try a new menu; I’ve never met a person who doesn’t love a home-cooked meal.
Take time for your table.
If you’re hosting a sit-down dinner, take the time to plan your table. Hand-written place cards add a personal touch; though often thought of as formal, there are fun, clever place card holders that set a festive theme. Place salt and pepper shakers at either end of the table. I use votive candles sprinkled throughout and small floral arrangements so as not to block views to any of the guests.
Keep it flexible.
Buffets are great fun, because you can accommodate as many guests as you want. Also, as a hostess, it frees you to spend more time with your guests, and it’s a more informal atmosphere, which many prefer. You can set your table ans formal or informal as you like, mixing French white porcelain platters with antique silver. I love serving food on wood serving boards, too; the combination of glass, silver, wood and porcelain can create a beautiful table.
About the author: Monelle Totah, a member of Williams-Sonoma’s tabletop and home team, has been with the company for over 10 years. Along with her team of designers, she develops seasonal tabletop and entertaining stories. Born and raised in the South, Monelle grew up decorating and entertaining: “Entertaining should be a reflection of who you are and what you love…its about a house full of family, friends, laughter…and plenty of ice!”