Friday, November 5, 2010

Thinking about...holiday entertaining

Happy weekend, everyone! Any plans for a party? The holiday entertaining season is pretty much here. I love to see how everyone decks their halls and we are fortunate to count so many fabulous entertainers and wonderful cooks among our friends. The November issue of House Beautiful has an entertaining theme, and includes a fun piece on "101 Party Do's & Don'ts" with tips from some design-world favorites. Many of them ring true, a few made me laugh, and some I disagreed with--several tips actually contradicted each other, which shows that when it comes to entertaining, everyone should put their own personal stamp on things.

Here are a few that caught my attention:

 A centerpiece from a Cinco de Mayo party I hosted.

From Shop Owner Sue Fisher King: "Don't create such impressive center-pieces that the guests can't see each other across the table." -- Agreed, and I've had a great time collecting small vases and low containers to mix flowers in.

 An ornament favor that doubled as a place card at a Book Club Christmas party.

From Retailer/Tastemaker Amen Wardy: "Always do favors. People love leaving with a little something." --Definitely, and if the favors can double as place cards, even better!

 An amazing table from the talented Eddie Ross. 

From Designer Jan Showers: "No colored candles! Only ivory and white." Hmmmm.....I can't think of a time when I didn't use ivory or white candles, but I think it can be done. An Eddie Ross signature is brightly colored candles that coordinate with the table top. When done well, I think it looks great!

A party wouldn't be complete without bubbles--and I love my collection of vintage Champagne buckets.

From Canal House Cooking Founder Chistopher Hirsheimer: "You should always have a cold bottle of bubbly stashed in your refrigerator in case friends drop by." Yes--and if they don't, open it anyway and have a party for two--or one!

I recall this New Year's table ending up in puddles of wax drippings!

From Furniture/Textile Designer David Stark: "Stick your candles in the freezer for a couple days prior to using them. The freezing will eliminate most of the messy dripped wax all over your furniture." Really? Wish I knew this before covering countless table runners with stubborn candle wax!

Party on, Chris! 

From Designer Barry Dixon: "Nothing is worse than a long wait for a drink. Drinks should be plentiful and easily accessible, with a couple of good seasonal options." --No question!

Image from foodandwine.com

And my favorite from Barney's Creative Director Simon Doonan: "Glamorous informality is the name of the name of the game. Dress up, even if you are serving hot dogs!" --One of my not-so-secret guilty pleasures is hot dogs--but of course I'll always serve them on a well-dressed table!"

Any fabulous entertaining tips?

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