Entertaining played no part in my upbringing unless you count Sunday dinner after church at my grandmother’s house. In contrast, Mr. Mickey grew up looking forward to the dinner and cocktail parties often hosted by his parents. Over the years, I have attended some of his invitation-only parties for two-hundred of his closest friends, so I will share some of the tips I have learned from him.
Invite guests who have something in common. It could be art, music, tennis, cooking, gardening, or even Nascar. If everyone has a common interest, including knowing and liking you, they will probably have lots to discuss. Invite as many people as can be seated and comfortably move about your space. Include background music, but it should never be so loud that it gets in the way of conversation. These days most people are content with red or white wine, and it is a good idea to offer lots of water and tea. Always provide a light appetizer or snack along with the drinks. If you are serving dinner later, you should allow for about an hour and a half of socializing first.
Prepare only the dishes you have mastered or have the food catered for your party. You will want to greet your guests and be at ease throughout the evening. Worrying about overcooked chicken or otherwise stressing out in the kitchen can take away the fun, so only serve what you know always turns out well. A dinner party is not the time to try out a new recipe. If most of the meal prep is complete before the guests arrive, you will be free to enjoy their company.
If your home is tidy and comfortable, you need not worry about party decorations. Fresh flowers in a low arrangement on the table will add a festive touch. It is a good idea to walk through the public spaces of your home and look at it through the eyes of your guests. There should be plenty of tissue available, as well as fresh hand towels and a light on in the restroom. Extra cushions, stacks of books, and magazines should be put away to make room for glasses and allow for maximum seating. Pets should spend the evening in another area of the home or with a sitter. This is both for their safety and for the comfort of guests who may not enjoy them as much as you do.
The modern dress code is almost always casual when entertaining at home. Wear something comfortable that can be dressed up with accessories.
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Please share your additional helpful, entertaining tips in the comments below. Thank you for being part of this community!