A front door welcome mat and a marker on your house are essential to offering a warm welcome to your guests. A welcome mat and a unique house marker will help your guests locate your home easily when they arrive, such as a festive front door wreath, door knocker, potted plants and flowers, or decorative outside décor.
Hostess Tip: Take the time to add fresh greenery or potted flowers near the entrance to your home for a pop of color. If your guests are arriving later in the evening, make sure your exterior lights are on, including your front porch light. Consider adding pathway lights on the sidewalk if you know it is difficult to see at night.
Hostess Tip: Dedicate a space in your home, such as a guest room (not in use), for guests to store their purses and coats.
After greeting your guests at the door and welcoming them into your home, invite them to enjoy a glass of wine or a refreshing cocktail. inviting them in your home. Wine and cocktail glasses are essential to every dinner party or special occasion.
Styling a bar cart, on wheels, in your living room or a dedicated entertaining space is a great way to define a space and also keep wine or refreshments near by your guests. If you have a bar in your home, a bar cart makes a convenient accessory that can easily be moved from room to room as the evening transcends.
Bar accessories, such as a wine bottle opener and cocktail shaker, are must haves for serving and entertaining your guests. Another investment to consider is a large glass beverage dispenser to serve fresh brewed tea or water. Ice buckets also come in handy after you have opened a bottle of champagne or white wine.
Hostess Tip: Drink markers are helpful so guests can quickly identify their wine glass and it helps cut down on the amount of empty classes sitting around at the end of the night.
Monogramed linen or paper cocktail napkins will add the perfect personal detail when handing drinks to your guests. Matching monogramed drink coasters effortlessly placed throughout the entertaining spaces will help guests know where to set down their drinks. As my favorite southerner, Reese Witherspoon, would say, “If it’s not moving, monogram it.”
Hostess Tip: If you are making a signature cocktail for your party, consider adding a garnish that will wow your guests such as dried orange slices, fresh herbs, or a fresh lemon peel. Using a clear canister to hold whole lemons or limes adds visual appeal and color to your bar.
Hostess Tip: Grab a extra bag of ice or two to have on hand for cocktails and drinks, your small refrigerator ice maker will not be able to keep up with the quantity of ice cold beverages you are making throughout the evening.
A few elements that are essential to have on your dining room table are quality table linens, such as a table cloth, table runner, placemats, and napkins. Change these elements out seasonally to create a fresh and inviting dining room and gathering space for your family.
When you are ready to set your table for a dinner party, think about your tablescape in “layers”, I call this my “layering method.” Start with your table cloth or your table runner, next add your placemat. Next, stack the salad plate on top of the dinner plate and end with a soup bowl, if you are serving multiple courses.
Hostess Tip: Set your table and table décor a day or two before guests arrive to ensure that you have all of the items you need to make your dinner party a success. Investing in two or three small flower vases will come in handy when decorating your dining room table too.
There is a art and science to timing your meal prep and also keeping the meal warm as guests arrive. Kitchen appliances such a slow cooker, warming tray, or a chafing dish will help you manage and maintain food temperatures while guests are settling in and enjoying their first cocktail of the evening.
Hostess Tip: Investing in serving dishes and serving utensils, including a large casserole dish helps when you are preparing a meal for six or more guests.
Once dinner is served and the meal is over after a dinner filled with laughter and good food, shift the conversations to the living room for after dinner dessert, coffee, tea, or even a nightcap cocktail.
If you want to serve guests fresh coffee or espresso, consider making an investment in a quality coffee or espresso maker. Don’t forget some of the essentials such as coffee and tea cups, and a nice creamer and sugar set.
Hostess Tip: As guests prepare to leave, it’s nice to have wine tote bags and to go containers on hand for leftovers.
Hostess Tip: Have Thank you cards ready to drop in the mail the next day. Thank guests for attending your dinner party and include a sentence or two about a detail in your conversation to personalize the special note. If you are a guest at a dinner party, sending a thank you note to the host is also a recommendation.
|Welcome Mat||Glass Flower Vase(s)|
|Unique Front Door Marker||Salt and Pepper Mills|
|Wine Glasses||Glass Beverage Dispenser|
|Cocktail Glasses||Casserole Dish|
|Bar Cart||Cake Stand and Cake Serving Set|
|Bar Accessories||Coffee Creamer and Sugar Set|
|Cocktail Napkins||Coffee Cups|
|Table Linens |
(table cloth, linen napkins, table runner)
|Coffee or Espresso Maker|
|Full Set of Dishes |
(dinner, salad, soup, dessert, appetizer)
|Serving Dishes and Utensils||Tea Cups|