I love entertaining. That is one nice thing about moving back to a more centralized location. It is easy to entertain here. The large kitchen leading out to the dining/living room are perfect to encourage conversation, laughter, great food and memories.
Shyanne and I launched our dinner party club, Wildflower and Fawn, and it was a great success. (The next one is in May) Here is a step by step and photo journey of an easy dinner party.
First, pick your theme. We were inspired by our china, red toile, my wedding plates that Shyanne snagged from the old house. Red checkered tablecloths on sale created a French look. So, naturally elegant roses came to the table snipped to twelve inches or less (the guests need to see each other!) and placed joyfully into canning jars for a more carefree look.
Second, prepare the courses as early as you can get away with. I baked bread in the morning so the house smelled wonderful. Shyanne came over a few hours early and started prepping her to-die-for dessert. Mint chocolate puff pastries were all made ahead of time before guests arrived. The toppings, whipped cream, raspberries, powdered sugar, and mint were ready to go when needed. The coffee pot was set up near the mugs, sugar, and a clean ready creamer. The dough was ready for the pasta and already rolled out before I got my nice dress on. Marinara simmered on the stove. Wine was opened. Pieces of the salad, like the dressing, were all ready to be assembled. The hors d’oeuvres were put out and the drinks were poured before the first person arrived. The courses came together seamlessly.
Set the table early. It saves a lot of time if you already have your places set. Remember your etiquette! Starting from the left line up what the guest will use first. For this meal it was napkin, salad fork, and dinner fork. On the other side of the plate was a butter knife and dessert fork. Wine glass and water above the plate to the right and bread plate on the left. I like to break up the fanciness by adding a whimsical cocktail napkin. The table goes from awe to laughs interchangeably. We want all guests to feel comfortable.
A fun thing to add for even the most simple gathering is a menu. We created a menu quickly and printed it out. It really elevates the whole look.
By the time guests arrived Shyanne and I were at ease and everything flowed. I love the moments when laughter, eating, and drinking co-mingle to make the house a home.