Tips to help you throw a fabulous party!
Are you looking for easy elegant party ideas? Entertaining friends and family is one of my greatest joys. Good food, laughter, and pleasant conversations over coffee, is the true meaning of living simply. This is what life is about, isn’t it?
I am a southern girl at heart! While I love an elegant party, I want my guests to feel relaxed and happy. Do you get stressed out and anxious before you entertain? And then do you end up not having fun at your own dinner party? Well, this page is all about helping you have a successful and relaxing party!
My Two Most Important Pieces of Advice When Entertaining
I would like to offer some advice on entertaining. I love talking elegant party ideas, and I can get totally wrapped up in all the ideas, but before we get into all that, I would like to talk about a valuable lesson I learned on what it is to be a true hostess.
When I was young and would have a dinner party, in my mind nothing but perfection could be accepted. Everything had to be done to “magazine photo” perfection. I stressed myself and my family out by trying to reach this unattainable goal. I realized I made the act of entertaining about ME! I made it about how I looked to my guests, and how I came across to them!
This is embarrassing, but I will tell you a true story. When I was much younger, I was preparing for a dinner party, and running around like a crazy woman. When I went to vacuum, my vacuum would not turn on! So, I did what any insane, self-absorbed person would do: I vacuumed with it broken! It made the vacuum marks on the carpet, and it gave the “impression” of perfection! I know, I know! I said it was embarrassing!
Entertaining is about serving others. A party will always have some sort of hiccup. But, when you adopt the attitude of “it isn’t about me,” you relax. And, your guests relax and everyone has a much better time!
NOW, having said that, the flip side is doing a good job at planning for a party. Another important lesson I learned was to keep it simple! Don’t go out of your comfort zone on your menu. A simple well-prepared meal is better than a gourmet flop!
Do your grocery shopping and cleaning the day before. Set your dinner table the night before, or in the morning. Don’t leave all the work for the day of your party. You will only be frazzled and exhausted, and you won’t be able to enjoy your company!
Table Setting Diagram
There are many different table decorating ideas that are fun and easy. But, I want to show you a correct example of setting an informal dinner table.
1. This is your bread plate. You can place a bread knife on the plate, or leave a bread knife on your butter dish. You can also place a salad plate here, or add both a bread plate and salad plate next to each other. I find it gets too crowded on the table, so I like to choose one or the other.
2. Dessert Spoon
3. Beverage Glass
4. Coffee Cup
5. Napkin – you can also place the napkin under the forks, or try your hand at some fun napkin folding ideas.
6. Salad Fork
7. Dinner Fork
8. Dinner Plate
9. Knife – always have the sharp side facing toward the plate.
Dishes and Silverware
Your dishes don’t have to be a perfect match! I think it is fun to mix and match! I love going to an outlet pottery store and purchase plain white dishes. This way you can mix and match plain white dishes with dishes with patterns.
One of my favorite elegant party ideas is to make some place cards for my table. They add a touch of elegance, and come in very handy when guests are ready to be seated.
I make my place cards using card stock. I print the names out from the computer, and then cut them and fold them. I like to add some detail, so I usually stamp something and color it with watercolor pencils.
There are a lot of fun ideas for place cards. I found these grapevine pumpkins at the craft store and used them for place cards.
Table Centerpiece Ideas
For table centerpiece ideas, again keep it simple. Opt for a simple flower arrangement and candles. If you think elegant party ideas have to be over the top and expensive that just isn’t so!
If you are wanting a homemade centerpiece, or your are purchasing a store bought centerpiece, make sure the flowers are low enough to not obstruct the view of guests. You can make your own stunning centerpieces! Always choose non-scented candles. You don’t want a scented candle to interfere with the aroma of your food.
Add a unique touch to your party table with candy centerpieces!
Dinner Party Music
This is a MUST when I have someone over for dinner. I do not play the music loud, just soft enough to float in the background. Great dinner party music soothes guests, and promotes a relaxed environment for conversation.
More Entertaining Ideas
Here are 5 fabulous elegant party ideas from HGTV! I love these!
Good luck with your party, and remember–entertaining guests isn’t about perfection, it is about the art of giving. You don’t have to spend a ton of money to come up with elegant party ideas.
I would like to say a thank you to my mother who taught me as a little girl, how to entertain, cook, but most of all bring joy to others over a home cooked meal.