Make your next dinner party cozy and comfortable as well as easy to pull off, with these expert entertaining tips.
Of course I love hosting large celebrations and parties, but there’s something special about an intimate gathering at home, bringing your closest family and friends around the table. A smaller group allows for conversation and community while enjoying a delicious meal. I always recommend keeping the menu simple; using tried-and- true recipes and adding seasonal twists makes for foolproof dining. For the setting, I go classic and rich
Planning the Menu
I am always dreaming up dinner parties in my head, but I usually start the actual planning about a week before the party. I love adding seasonal twists to old family recipes and other go-tos. Simple takes on favorites makes the menu personal, festive, and delicious. Roasted chicken, tri-colored potatoes and a seasonal salad are some of my staples.
Having a fun, seasonal drink on the counter to welcome everyone as they arrive helps create a relaxed atmosphere. Who says sangria is just for summer? I used fresh orange and pomegranate to add some warmth to this easy-big batch drink. Served in my Liberty Double Walled Beverage Dispenser, guests can serve themselves with ease.
When hosting a party of any size, it’s important to have something for everyone so I always like to serve a variety of different bottled beverages in a large beverage tub. This Liberty Double-Walled Beverage Tub is one of my favorites because it’s large, and since it is insulated, it doesn’t sweat all over your table! This is key to keeping your drink
station pretty all-night long.
I always place extra glassware on the drink station as well. These Liberty-Double Walled Stemless Tumblers are a fabulous option because they won’t break like fragile glassware might. I also love the bright copper color and they are so well made, they don’t show finger prints! My biggest pet peeve!
My settings are full of personality, and like my menus, nothing is too contrived or uptight. I love using pieces from all over my home to work within my tablescape’s color palate or theme, and then adding elements inspired by the season. Few things brighten a winter tablescape and bring it to life like florals and these Peony Flower Arrangements always look beautiful. No one will know these flowers are faux, and it makes decorating your table incredibly simple. Usually I place three small bouquets down the center of the table. You may also want to add flowers to your drink station since it can brighten things up, especially when they are displayed in a gorgeous glass vase. Next all you need to do is place a few candles around the table. Although those warm scented candles are hard to resist, let the food ignite the senses—save aromatic candles for the washroom.
Table Setting Etiquette
Throw out the ‘rules’ for table decor and place settings (unless you are hosting the royal family!). Be creative and have fun. Your friends are more likely to admire your exquisite details than judge you if your water glass is 90 degrees above the knife. For some dinner parties I make place cards. It is a lovely additional touch and especially helpful if you have a few guests who don’t know everybody. Be sure to place them next to new friends — and allow the conversation to flow.
Hosting and cooking is all about bringing people together around the table and sharing great food, drink, and company. At any dinner party or event, I always love to find creative ways to include my guests and host a more memorable and engaging event. One way is to take a course and turn it into a potluck. This is easiest when done with dessert or pre-dinner eats and drinks. Ask guests to bring a sweet that sparks nostalgic winter memories — it could be something store-bought or a rendition of their grandma’s favorite cheesecake. Enjoying these sweet treats and sharing memories around the
table can create some of the richest conversations of the evening and make certain the dinner ends on a sweet note.
This week I am joining my friends at Balsam Hill and these talented ladies as they share their go-to entertaining ideas. We currently have a giveaway on Facebook where readers/followers can tell us their Balsam Hill entertaining essentials for a cozy gathering and complete the entry actions for more chances of winning.
The contest is January 22 to January 30. Read more here: http://bit.ly/BHEntertainingGiveaway