All the tips about how to decorate your table when hosting came directly from the queen of hosting parties, yep, my mother!
I have never met anyone in my hole life that prepares so neatly and with so much love and care to receive family and friends in her home.
This is going to be a long post because I tried to address every issue so, please hang in there! It’s packed with great advise!!
Grab a notebook and some tea! Let’s organize the steps to achieve a wonderful dinner party!
Guests and party schedule
Confirm the presence of your guests, it will be essencial for planning the rest of the party.
Also, always set an hour for everybody to arrive, that will help you set some time for you to get ready as well! Because a showered and nice smelling host is the way to go! Lol
Choose a theme
When I say theme, it doesn’t mean that you need to go and put together a costume party..no! I’m talking about choosing a common subject that you will want to show in your decor and in your food!
How do you do that? Well, look at the season you’r in, the weather, is there any holidays coming up? What are the vegetables and fruits in season?
I recently helped my mother put together a dinner party for some friends.
It was July, winter in Brazil (yes, Brazil has winter and there are even places that has snow! incredible right?) and in some places there’s a party called “Festas Juninas” (June Parties).
They celebrate the winter with comfort food, one of the favorites is a food called “caldinhos”.
It’s similar to a really thick soup or a cream and the favorite flavors are chicken, potatoes and calabresa (it’s like a spicy sausage kind of..lol) and canjiquinha (made with chicken and a type of corn flaky flour).
Let’s stop talking about food because I’m getting hungry! Moving on! lol
As you can see, based on the season and an approaching holiday party, we decide to put together a “Night of Caldos!”.
Since you will want to put together an elegant party the secret is to elevate the details.
As you can see above, the theme was tea time, so the decoration where beautiful baskets breads, books, tea kettles.
Use references of the theme you’r using, like color or textures to remind the guests the party theme but don’t over decorate because it’ll look like a costume party.
Unless, of course, that’s what you’r going for!
Decide the menu
Deciding the menu now it’s much easier, right? With the number of guests and a theme, you’ve got yourself a guide to narrow the possibilities for the menu.
Always prepare to host with some days in advance, I would say 1 week if you like detailing just as much as my mother! lol
Don’t forget to ask if anyone has any food restrictions if you plan to do something different.
Appetizers, salad, principal course, a dessert and you are all set to go!
Last tip! Prepare more food than what you think people are going to eat, in this cases, more is better! But, you don’t need to put everything on the table. If you notice a plate is going empty, go and fill it some more…problem solved!
We don’t want our guest to go home after a dinner party still hungry!
Organize the space
Our home is prepared to host us… so always check if the flow in your social area is good.
Are there any furniture in the way? Do you need to prepare more sitting options? Are there any objects that you like, in a place that may not be very good with a house full of people?
Rearrange the space to entertain!
Not everybody has the space, but there’s a lot of people who do like to host! So don’t be afraid, just rearrange your space to have a distinct dinning and living areas so that your guests have a place to wait until everybody arrives.
Don’t have enough space to have distinct areas? Don’t worry! Plan something more intimate, less friends at a time. That way you can promote an enjoyable evening for all!
Looking for more ways to organize your home? Check out this 10 surprising storage ideas!
Decorate your table
Start preparing your table in advance, plan the layout and the plates your going to use, check to see if there is enough space for everything that you have planned, as well as, space for the guests to be comfortable.
First place the guest plates, silver ware and glasses. One thing my mom always does, is to place one glass of water and another one for whatever wine they are going to drink.
After placing what your guests are going to use, plan the layout of the trays and serveware your going to use for the food.
It’s just like planning a gallery wall, do a mockup first to see if everything goes together esthetically and functional speaking.
Use your china!
A crucial tip that my mother repeats to me, in any situation, even if it is a normal family lunch time…USE YOUR CHINA!
What does that mean? It means to use serveware! If by any chance you bought something in the store, for example a Mexican cream cheese, take it out of its package and put it in some really nice serveware.
That helps everything look put together and it shows you took the time to make everything looks nice and with love! Even if it wasn’t handmade!
Below you can see my new obsession in serveware! How cute are those dishes with messages on them! (The images have embedded links for your convenience).
Details that make the difference in the table
What details can you add to the table to elevate the decor? Below there’s an image of a simple (simple for my mom…) coffee afternoon with friends.
What more can I say, right? Isn’t beautiful? Every person got a tiny dish with butter, there own butter spreader, homemade bread rolls wrapped around a beautiful kind of lace with a rosemary twig and so on…there are so many details here!
The secret to a great decor for hosting anything, is in the details!
Leave the menu pre-made
When the day to host arrives, make whatever you can in advance, you won’t want to be in the kitchen when your guests arrive.
Prepare a separate area for drinks and appetizers
This is great to tend your guests when they arrive and is at easy reach for them to serve themselves during the party.
Making them feel at home!
Be prepared for unexpected situations!
It’s best to be always prepared. What kind of unexpected situations? Well, people you didn’t invite may come with other guests (unexpected situations can happen to everyone including to your guests) and children may attend the party too! If that happens, always have children friendly activities like drawing books, movies or some toys (if you have children too that’s even better so they can play together!)
Finish with a flourish
Last, but not least! Finish the night with a flourish. Something my mother does and I find it really lovely, is to make a little goodbye gift to thank your guests for their company.
It’s the last detail to close the night with a cherry on top and show your appreciation for the people who participated of a nice time together in your home.
Sorry again if the post is to long, but every piece of advise here is too important for me to ignore it.
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Have any questions? Don’t hesitate to contact me, I will be thrilled to hear from you!