Entertaining is a fantastic way to spend quality time with friends and family, and we’ve always believed that there’s no better way to show someone you care about them then to invite them over for a comforting meal, which is why we teamed up with Danielle Rollins, entertaining expert and author of Soirée Entertaining with Style. Danielle shared with us a few of her favorite tips for hosting a get-together, which she details below.
Entertaining is inevitably less intimidating if you have a plan, some tried-and-true tips, and you practice! The more you invite guests over, the less daunting it becomes and the more enjoyable you can make it for yourself and your family. Today I’m sharing some of my favorite tips, straight from my entertaining arsenal:
1. Work Ahead
Do as much as you can ahead of time, whether that means setting out everything you plan on using or prepping ingredients so the last minute set up and cooking is less stressful.
2. The Power of a Table Cloth
A tablecloth can be an empowering entertaining element. It reminds you that you don’t need a huge dining table or even an outdoor dining set to host friends or family. A card table or folding table can be elegant if you use a pretty tablecloth! I love to layer my table so it’s not unusual for me to use unconventional items like a shower curtain, stadium blankets, or bed linens.
3. Use a Place Card
I prefer to use place cards whenever I’m hosting guests not because it adds an air of formality, but because it is a thoughtful gesture of making my guest feel truly welcome and thoroughly wanted.
Be sure to write your own place cards in your best handwriting. It reminds your guests that you were thoughtful in how everything came together and it makes it personal. I like adding personal touches to place cards and menu cards like the herbs tied with raffia.
4. Coordinate Your Menu
Plan your menu to complement your table setting, and I don’t just mean writing it on pink paper! For this outdoor brunch, I brought pink into my dinner salad by using grapefruit sections.
5. Rely on Woven Chargers
Woven chargers are great for entertaining outdoors for two reasons. They feel casual and relaxed, but stacking the plates and folded napkins on the wicker chargers meant carrying the items outdoors was a cinch.
6. Think Outside the Box
To bring an element of surprise to your entertaining space, use items for things they weren’t intended for. For example, Danielle used a garden urn as an ice bucket, and she used an ice bucket as a container for an arrangement of peach and plum blossom branches.
7. Mix Metals
Mixing metal finishes adds to the relaxed feel of the table. Danielle blended our heirloom silver pieces, like salt and pepper shakes and serveware, with sparkling stainless flatware.
8. Let Guests Serve Themselves
With a self serve bar, be sure to have any ingredients guests may need, including garnishes, ice, corkscrews, and straws.
Browse more entertaining ideas on our Entertaining Pinterest Board, or in Danielle’s book Soirée Entertaining with Style.
Danielle received Ballard Designs merchandise through this partnership, but her opinions are her own.
Judith A Fletcher
Love these ideas as we are planning a “beach” theme luncheon for our Ladies Day Out at church!