Entertaining friends at your home is one of the best gifts you can give them. Whether it's a full-fledged party or just an informal get together, planning is the only way to ensure a successful event.

I have always enjoyed entertaining friends at home and after being separated this past year with the pandemic, it is even more meaningful.

Have a Plan

I’ve always found that planning and preparing for a party can be as much fun as the party itself. When planning an event, there are just a few steps that I always follow:

  1. Choose a theme - This is an important step as it guides you on choosing the type of event and choosing what needs to be done before and during your event.
  2. Decide where to have the party, guest list and date and time - The time will dictate the menu and the ‘where’
  3. Choose the layout and list any supplies that will be needed
  4. Develop your menu and food shopping list
  5. Determine a work list and timeline to prepare all food and create your desired atmosphere

Follow the Plan

Outdoor entertaining is always my first choice as I love things more casual. I also love to choose a theme. It helps me develop at least a couple unique ideas-either unusual menu or atmosphere.

Lighting is my go-to secret to create that special atmosphere. My current favorite are Edison string lights. Candles and colorful pillows also add to the mood. If inside is needed then lean on candles, color and mood music to create the wanted atmosphere. In the past I have had numerous parties based on trips we have taken and countries we have visited. It’s super easy to build a party around French, Italian, Caribbean, and Australian cultures. Each of these is accomplished by the setting, food, music and scents for the evening. You can also plan a party around an activity such as lawn tennis, kite flying and bubble blowing to name but a few.

A Special Memento

Lastly, because I love gift-giving, I always try to include a little special something for my guests to take away that will remind them of the event. It’s typically just a little memento, such as a photo frame, recipe book or, during the holidays, a candle or ornament, that ties in with the theme. So often, guests have mentioned how much they appreciated the memento of the evening or event. 

The ideas are endless, all you need is a plan and a little time.


August 04, 2021 — Sharon Griffin

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