Guest Post: 8 Tips for Great At-Home Entertaining, by Elizabeth Rago

23rd June 2014

It’s summer, which aside from the promise of beautiful weather means one thing: party time! Whether you’re planning a family barbecue, or an indoor get-together with friends, you’ll love these top tips from Elizabeth Rago of Circular Home over at Inside Shopper. Elizabeth loves her home and is on a continuous quest to ensure it’s both ‘comfortable and a welcoming place to gather’.  A journalist, copywriter and storyteller, Elizabeth works from home while bringing up three small children. Elizabeth, our proverbial hat goes off to you! Over to you…

Elizabeth Rago

Above: Elizabeth Rago

Planning a get-together does not have to be complicated or stressful. Looking for ways to express the bits and pieces of your personality and opting for perpetual décor instead of spur of the moment pieces is the key to successful entertaining. That, and some yummy food. Here are eight tips for low-key entertaining:

1. Make a fuss about your entryway

The front door is not always the first point of contact for guests, case in point, my home. No one ever enters through the front door, making the rear entry of my home a gated patio the first greeting for visitors. Display a beautiful vintage sign or sandwich board to say hello before they even meet your eye. Pair with a fresh topiary on a small buffet table or make your own concrete planter/bar.

2. Don’t over-think the nibbles

Think – a simple crudité and items that can be eaten in one bite. The hors d’oeuvres should not take more time to create than the entrée. Better yet, investigate seasonal fruits and veggies, highlighting the flavors of the moment.

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3. Have a dessert table

Invite guests to move about once they are finished with dinner and relocate to a sweeter scene. Placing a dessert table away from the main meal will give guests a second wind and switch up conversation. If the weather cooperates, some fresh air will revive the energy of the gathering, so meander outdoors for indulge.

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Above image via Wedding Chicks

4 . Splurge on the centerpiece

Take some time to put together a centerpiece that is long lasting instead of a short lived impulse purchase.

5. Reveal your quirks

Let a little bit of your inner eccentricities out by way of interior décor and get the conversation started. Unconventional styling could be as simple as a wine bottle chandelier or displaying your strange obsession with the octopus.

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6. Have a toast or read a poem that defines the intended mood of the gathering.

“I like to have a martini,
Two at the very most.
After three I’m under the table,
after four I’m under my host.”

-Dorothy Parker

7. Have goodie bags

This does not have to be elaborate, rather, the more simple the better. Tiny pots of succulents to-go are a beautiful favor that will allow the spirit of the party to live on. Having friends over to watch the World Cup? Find out guest favorites and provide flags or vuvuzelas.

8. Entertain in the morning

I hate waiting until the evening to entertain. The anticipation kills me! Opt for a breakfast or brunch instead when guests are well-rested and full of energy.

Remember, guests are attending your soiree because they enjoy your company. Allow a few elements to really reflect the favorite tastes, sounds, and smells that frequent your home. Now sit back, relax and make merry!


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