|Entertaining is about connecting with your guests.|
I like to entertain friends and family, but to do it well, you've got to be prepared. Here are my top priorities when entertaining:
- A clean house is at the top of the list.
- Keep your guest list simple or small, this makes it easier for you.
- Plan the menu days in advance and purchase items no later than the day before. Avoid last minute running around, which equals stress.
- Keep your menu simple, the food is not most important, visiting with friends and family is. A homemade pizza can be wonderful when served with a great salad.
- Create atmosphere with lighting. Avoid all lights on at maximum wattage. Soft lighting allows people to relax.
- Light candles. Nothing is more soothing than candles. Always have a stash of candles to replenish those that burn down.
- Serve a light appetizer when guests arrive, and serve dinner forty-five minutes or so after arrival. Don't make guests wait hours for dinner or give them the opportunity to fill-up on snacks.
- Create a comfortable dining table, and dim the lights so you can linger and talk after the meal is done. Create a low centerpiece so all guests can see each other.
- Serve dessert in the living room. This allows guests to truly relax and lets you enjoy another room in your home.
- My personal plan is to serve snacks or appetizers in the kitchen, while I finish up the meal. I serve dinner in the dining room, and dessert in the living room. I like the progressive approach and the change of scenery moving from room to room is fun.
- When having a casual dinner, I like to serve in the kitchen. It is easy and guests always feel comfortable when I serve in the kitchen.
- Remember that the most important element of entertaining is to connect with guests, so keep your menu simple, plan ahead so you can relax and spend time with your guests.
Julie Fergus, ASID, is a nationally published interior designer. Her studio and showroom is located in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. Julie's clients are primarily in the Lakes Region and Mount Washington Valley, however, she will travel throughout the state and North East. www.JulieFergus.com | www.DesignByMail.com