The Fine Art of Hospitality: Entertainment, Tablescapes & Prep Tips
Have you ever been invited into someone's home and instantly felt well-taken care of, settled in and ready to experience a wonderful time? You don't know what it is -- maybe's it's the great food, the people themselves or perhaps their home is well-designed and that's what it is....? I'd like to think it's a combination of all those facets.
This post is inspired by my two chosen family aunts Chris & Connie, a.k.a. "C&C" in my family. Their ability to make you feel right at home in their space has not only filled my heart and soul with cherished memories but also shaped my entire perspective on what it means to be hospitable. I am a Christian and see it not only as a duty, but also calling to welcome others into my home. Let's not kid ourselves, though, IT'S WORK! The real gift is making it look and feel effortless to your guests.
I don't claim to be an expert on this topic but after years of observation and actually a little study, I have some tips worth sharing! I recently read "The Fine Art of Hospitality". Though the book is a little old, don't knock it, it's filled with all sorts of practical advice. Here are a few of the chapter titles:
Cleaning & Upkeep, Food Shopping, Meal Preparation, Table Setting, Planning the Event, Theme Diners.
This is just scratching the surface. Trust me, you'll want to buy this book and have a pen and notepad handy.
If you don't have the time to read the entire book before your next gathering, I've created a checklist to help you be better prepared. Download here.
Aside from the actual prep work and cooking of the food etc., I'd like to hone in on the actual atmosphere of you can create for your guests.
STATUS OF YOUR HOUSE: Do you feel proud of where you live? It may not be perfect, but are you honored to serve those you love in your home, or are you distracted by your embarrassment? I'd say the No. 1 embarrassment for most is the cleanliness of your home. GET IT CLEANED professionally if you can afford it, or clean your house personally two days before your gathering. That way the pressure of both cleaning and cooking on the day of the event the day is gone. All that's needed is light straightening up before guests arrive.
IGNITING ALL SENSES: Is your house smelling fresh these days? Cleaning is the first step, especially with animals and kids, but go the distance and invest in a nice oil/wax defuser and candles. Don't forget to place a smell-good in your guest bathroom.
FURNITURE LAYOUT: Think about where in your home you plan on hosting your guests. If it's a large dinner party then a dining table is perfect. It could also be an outdoor dining table if the weather is nice. Only having one or two people over and you can use a large kitchen island? Why not set things up on the island for a more relaxed vibe.
TABLESCAPE: Now this is where the creativity comes in! Consider these elements when layering your table.
2. Anchors and Accents - Decide what items will anchor your table such as a floral centerpiece, colorful tablecloth or an ornate table runner. Then build up around that.
3. Balance - You want to make sure even with a fully-styled table it feels collected and not scattered. You achieve this with symmetry. Play around with one table setting and repeat it. Keep the triangle shape in mind as you lay things out: High, medium and low levels.
4. Botanicals - Nothing brings a table together better than fresh flowers and plants!
5. Glitz - No table is complete with out a little glam, even if it's subtle. Include glass, metallics and silverware to give it a polished look.
Scroll through image below and see how I created this tablescape.
For those intimidated by the notion of an elaborate tablescape, fear not. Sometimes clean and simple is the most beautiful! Notice the neutral base of both images, peppered in are accents color with high contrast. Subtle, but very effective!
If you feel you don't have an eye for color then pick one color and go monochromatic. Yes, this also means black can be that one color. Go deep and bold. There are no limits here, just beautiful tablescapes.
Thank you C&C for all the wonderful memories our families shared, both in the past and the future. I'm looking forward to our next visit!
I'd love to hear if you found this post helpful! Share your fabulous tablescapes with us on on IG #tdstablescapehospitality