Category Archives: Etiquette

Jun 25, 2017

Corbin Gurkin Photo; Tara Guerard Soiree florals

image by Corbin Gurkin

It’s time again for the annual Running of the Roses, otherwise known as the Kentucky Derby. May 6th is right around the corner, so today we’re sharing just a few tips you can use at home for hosting an impromptu Derby Party.  First, keeping it simple and using store bought roses is an easy way to look like you’ve gone the extra mile. Break out the silver for this party and it will show your true hostess skills.

Bourbon Bar by Tara Guerard Soiree

image by Corbin Gurkin

This is definitely a party that you can easily do with items at home, it’s the time to make guests feel that Southern welcome and you don’t need to fuss about bringing in a lot of stuff. Throw a nice linen over any table in the house and it becomes a bar! I like using lamps or other items such as china bowls from around the house to dress them up. Bourbon is of course a staple for the Derby (i.e. Mint Juleps), but if you want to keep it simple, just setting up a bar with a variety of bourbons, whiskeys, and some mint julep fixings is all you need.

bar:lowcountry lemonade

image by Marni Rothschild

For the ladies who may not care for the darker stuff, having everything guests may want to enjoy is a golden rule of mine. You can serve  your own fun specialty cocktail called the “Running of the Roses”

1 part vodka; 2-3 parts lemonade (pink) to taste; 1 teaspoon of rose syrup; 1 strawberry slice for garnish

Water Collage

images by Corbin Gurkin

And, not wanting those who aren’t enjoying cocktails to feel left out, doing something special and simple with water is a nice touch- fresh cucumber slices or cute straws!


image by Corbin Gurkin

I love the idea of having a trophy style silver cup holding koozies, or something else for guests to take away at the food table or bar.

Food Collage

images by Corbin Gurkin

Serving even the most casual and simple hors d’eouvres on silver can make such a difference. Serve easy but substantial food if guests will be partaking in lots of spirits. Chicken or ham biscuits, crab cakes, even sliced flatbreads are great. Something that guests pick up and graze on and keeps you out of the kitchen preparing items is the way to go!

floral crown

image by Corbin Gurkin

Even your best friend wants to attend the party a little floral crown for them would make a cute little detail!  Have fun, and Happy Derby!

6.25.17   |   TARA GUÉRARD
Charleston, Entertaining, Etiquette, Event Planning, Flowers, Food and Drink, Parties, Recipes, Uncategorized | Comments >>
Jun 25, 2017


With Easter and Mother’s Day right around the corner, you may find yourself in the role of hostess. Don’t get overwhelmed, we have all of your easiest fixes and tips right here.  We started with very simple basics, a white tablecloth, white dishes, and simple flatware (meaning using whatever you have in the house is a great start). First, develop your palette. Head to your local fabric store, or one of our favorite sources, to find a bright pretty swath in whatever color scheme or pattern you like. We made a runner that covered the tabletop (you can either finish the rough edges by hot glueing a ribbon over the ends for a tailored look, or by folding a bit underneath and ironing down with Stitch Witch).

Lunch Collage

 Details on the table help elevate some of those easy basics- Being in the Lowcountry, we gathered oyster shells for salt and pepper cellars and cut some Camellias still blooming out of the yard and floated in simple glass vessels.  Finding a template online and some paper that complimented the fabric, menus were printed. Having place cards and menus in some shape or fashion make such an impression on your guests. Using some decorative trim (here, rick rack), we tied an adornment on the napkins just for a little something extra.


Flowering branches found at a local wholesale florist, or large greenery or leaves out of your yard in glass containers make a big impact for less money on the tables. Little bud vases sprinkled throughout add color and detail- I love the idea of pulling out some silver containers from your collection or glassware to mix and match your vases.

lunch-78 lunch-114

Don’t stress too much about what you are serving as well. A store bought quiche and composed salad allow you to still be a hostess and not spend your entire time in the kitchen. Come up with a speciality drink that you can make ahead of time and serve with a pretty garnish (we like a Pink Lady for these occasions), but make sure to set up a bar cart or space making it easy for guests to access. If you style with a few little touches here and there and provide pretty glasses, guests will hardly mind serving themselves. Voila!

Thank you to Marni Rothschild for the lovely images.

6.25.17   |   TARA GUÉRARD
Charleston, Entertaining, Etiquette, Event Design, Event Planning, Events, Flowers, Food and Drink, Parties | Comments >>

Tara Guerard Soiree

Now that it’s finally citrus season, one of my favorite DIY decor tips for entertaining at home are my orange votives! They are readily available for your last minute holiday tabletop or for any given dinner party. First step is to assemble everything you need- a sharp knife, a good strong spoon or scoop, and your oranges of course. If it’s your first round, get a bag to allow for any Oops!

Tara Guerard Soiree

Slice a thinnish piece off the bottom (and an even thinner part off the opposite side just of the peel, not any of the inside so that it has a steady platform for where you plan to set it down). Use your spoon to hollow out all of the pulp, juices, etc. I like to keep them all to use for smoothies or juicing.

Tara Guerard Soiree

We make sure to use the candle drop ins that have the plastic bases0 they are deeper and don’t get as hot as the aluminum based ones; they also look nicer!

Tara Guerard Soiree

It’s also a good idea to zest or shave a bit of the peel off of the sides so that the candles are able to really glow through. Of course, they are wonderfully fragrant as well!


To give your table more depth and glow, I recommend adding in some taller taper style candles with custom “made” candlesticks that are also easily tackled last minute. Spray painting antique or craft store bought glass candlesticks gold or silver, or even a metallic blue would give a beautiful finishing touch along with your orange votives!


6.25.17   |   TARA GUÉRARD
Entertaining, Etiquette, Event Design, Event Planning, Parties, Uncategorized | Comments >>