Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Lets do lunch

I will be the first to admit that I am no Martha Stewart. Far from it. But when it comes to entertaining, my motto is simpler is better. When preparing for a lunch, or any party, the most important advice I can give is this, be prepared.  For example, if the engagement is outdoors, make sure you have sunscreen, bug spray, and even bug-bite ointment handy. Keep these items in a decorative basket in the powder room so that guests can access them easily. (If you tell them you have these items, they may be polite and turn you down.) Keep your guests comfortable, and forgo the fussiness. Give them the ability to access it on their own, in the privacy of the bathroom, now you have achieved comfort!
BHG

As I say all the time, mix things up. Mix grandma's china with flea market finds. This adds casualness, and keeps your guests from getting fidgety. Find a color palette that is appropriate for the time of year, and the purpose of the lunch. Spring is a great inspiration for luncheons. The trees are blooming, along with all those beautiful flowers, and they create an unimaginable backdrop of art. Coordinate your linens and dishes with this back drop and keep it simple. If you are unsure of what to choose, white and cream are fail proof.

Use simple containers from around the house for flowers. Quick tip: Use fruit as an easy arrangement. Zest a few lemons or oranges and place them with toothpicks in a small vase with floral foam to hold them in place. They provide great color, and smell wonderful. Place candle holders or lanterns on the table to create atmosphere. Make sure your candles are unscented, and remember to trim the wicks before you light them so they burn cleanly.

                                       

Make sure the table is pleasing. Keep things simple, but delightful for your guests. If you are entertaining more than six people, make sure staple items are accessible such as salt, bread, water, and butter. I generally have two of each, or one on each end of the table. 
Create a dessert buffet table that displays your sugary sweets like a trophy.  This table can be overly decorated and be prepared as eye candy for your guests. Offer guests glasses for water or wine, and additional plates so they can enjoy these extras at their own pace at the end of the meal.  

                  
Southern accents

Your food needs to taste good, but make sure it has the made-at-home charm. Use beautiful or unique serving dishes, and make sure the items don't look too perfect. If it looks complicated or too ornate your guests will hate to dive into it. (Remember forgo the fussiness)

                               
          Frank Stitt

Last but not least, choose a menu that is appropriate but easy for you to manage. The food has to compliment the table and vice versus. Create a menu that can be made ahead of time, so that when guests arrive, you're out of the kitchen and enjoying their company.

17 comments:

  1. I love the table setup!! I just love to entertain also!! Hope you have a wonderful day!!

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  2. Great tips, Amanda! When we are having a BBQ or any outdoor entertaining, I usually set up a buffet of the food inside the house {keeps the flies away, too}, and then everyone makes their way outside. That dessert table picture looks decadent!

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  3. Amanda I love this post! I love those tall outdoor candelabras on the table, those are beautiful and will cast such a nice glow on the table without interfering with eye contact. Love your thoughts on setting up the food and presenting it with a personal/home touches. I agree, make ahead food is great so you as the hostess don't waste the whole party away in the kitchen!! xoxo Excellent tips as always. Hope your week is off to a great start!! Let the summer entertaining begin!

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  4. great post! i'm thinking of doing a little something here at my house, but my backyard is a wreck. :( i don't think great food and a pretty table will be enough. hope the event went well!

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  5. Ah, you are the consummate hostess! Great tips, and I so agree on the scented candles, even the loveliest fragrances can ruin a nice dinner!

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  6. What wonderful tips. I like the idea of putting bug sprays in the powder room..Rxx

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  7. That dessert table looks wonderful !

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  8. I like a party. Especially if there are apples and carrots. I like apples and carrots.
    Mmmmm, burp!
    oh, excuse me...

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  9. Love the idea of putting a basket of necessities in the powder room. That's brilliant!

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  10. Great ideas, especially the part about putting stuff the guest might need in an accessible place for them. I always forget to do that! Actually, there are several of these things that I forget to do. :)

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  11. Great tips, I always try to keep that in mind when I entertain :)

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  12. Beautiful post. Thanks for the advice about avoiding the fussiness. Being over fussy can lead to all sorts of stressful scenarios when it comes to entertaining!

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  13. Once again, great post!!
    I love desert tables... I don't mind a little fussiness there. I love to arrange the deserts in different height pie servers and compotes and use decorative bits and candles around it.

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  14. great advice! I especially agree with your final point. It's so important to come up with a menu that you can manage! As a host, your first job is to make people feel at home, and you can't do that if you are slaving away in the kitchen. I think it's so important to remember to be authentic. Make what's within your comfort level. If that's spaghetti, then so be it!

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  15. I love that line "keep it simple". It always works.

    All of your posted images are gorgeous!

    cheers
    Susan

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  16. Amanda, great advice, and beautiful images!!

    Karena
    Art by Karena

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