Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Tips for Entertaining at Home

In a column called Ask the Barefoot Contessa in House Beautiful, author Ina Garten answers questions about entertaining at home.
What's the best size table for a dinner party?
I like small parties. With 6 people, you can really get a conversation going. The ideal table for 6 or 7 is a 48-inch round, because everyone is equally engaged in the conversation.

Do I need to make place cards?
I don't think it's necessary to make place cards for a small party, but I do think it's important to have a seating plan. While we're having cocktails, I'll decide who are the two most talkative guests that evening and seat them opposite each other, which keeps the conversation flowing.

I have too many people to seat them at a table. Is it all right to have them eat dinner on their laps?

If you need to invite more people than you can seat at tables, and you just can't afford to rent them, serving dinner on your lap isn't ideal, but it's just fine. However, you'll want to plan the menu carefully.

I'm having 30 people for a fund-raiser at my house and no one will know each other. How can I be sure it'll be fun?
...the key is getting people engaged with each other as quickly as possible.

What if people ask to bring their children to a party?
Except for holidays, I don't think children belong at an adult party — and I'll bet the children agree! I don't know any 6-year-old who wants to sit through a conversation about Iraq.

It doesn't show much imagination to bring flowers or wine when you're invited to dinner. What's more interesting?
There's nothing wrong with bringing flowers or wine, but it's how you deliver them that can make a difference.
There's much more in the article than I've given a hint of. Check out Ask the Barefoot Contessa. She has some great ideas for your next dinner party or large event that you are planning. After all, we want people to have a good time. We would like them to want to come back again.

Bev & Mike
Landfair Furniture + Design Gallery

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