Category Archives: Parties

Nov 27, 2018


It’s that time of year again, the revolving door of parties, some of which you are a guest, and some of which you are hosting.  Today, I’m sharing tips on how to host a dinner buffet, which is great for groups. This will help you set up an efficient and beautiful spread that guests will enjoy and will work in any space large or small.

My top tips:

photo by Tec Petaja

-You want to have plenty of the healthier options like the veggies and sides set at the start of the buffet. Set your meats last (which are also the pricier selections), so that guests fill their plates with the veggie options.

photo by Corbin Gurkin 

-Just a reminder- make sure that each dish has it’s own serving utensil for guests’ ease. You’d be surprised at how many times I forget these and am scrambling last minute, or I’ve gone somewhere and seen this as well.  I like to set out all of the dishes and utensils with them I’m planning on using in the order they will be displayed ahead of time so that all that’s left is to put out the food. Tara Guerard Soiree place setting

-Roll up a fork and knife in your linen or cotton napkins and tie with a cute ribbon, etc for a cute decor detail. Set these at the end so that guests can pick up last. So easy to have both hands for serving and then grab a roll up on your way to a seat. Don’t be afraid to mix your napkins as well, if you don’t have enough of one one style or color. Adding a bit of decor and detail to them will make for a pretty set up.

photo by Peter Frank Edwards for Charleston Magazine

Keeping in line with the self service, (which to me is a no brainer for parties larger than 15 people) have a fully stocked bar cart or buffet to serve as a bar.  Make sure you have a variety of everything, I think one of the true essences of a good hostess is having something for all of your guests… I personally know red and white wine drinkers, champagne drinkers, vodka, scotch, and even beer drinkers, so be able to serve them all, and even a fun non alcoholic “mocktail” or nice flavored sparkling water.

11.27.18   |   TARA GUÉRARD
Entertaining, Etiquette, Event Design, Event Planning, Food and Drink, Parties | Comments >>
Nov 13, 2018


( all photos by Southern Living/Laurey W. Glenn)

This Thanksgiving table scape photo shoot that we did with Southern Living Magazine a few years back is one of my favorites. I host Thanksgiving every year at our family’s cottage at Flat Rock in the NC Mountains so it was even more special this year as my family got to enjoy our photo shoot set up! I pulled some of my favorite shots, but you can see all of the details on Southern Living. The china is from my husband’s family so I went somewhat unexpectedly with the pink and gold color theme from the china’s pattern.


I had a yummy suede linen made to fit our dining room table with a large cabled piping in the pale pink.  And these “petal pink” taper candles from Creative Candles were the perfect added touch of color to offset not having any flowers in the centerpiece.


There are fabulous antique markets and thrift stores up in the Hendersonville/Asheville area near where we are in Flat Rock. I found old clear glass candlesticks and painted them gold with craft paint.  The apples are fall harvest NC apples that were so lovely on their own, I hated to paint them, but they sure did turn out beautifully. All SO easy to DIY and inexpensive!


I love my etched glassware, which doubles as a perfect place card and surcie.  I also believe you can never have enough embroidered napkins! These are from Lettered Olive and Elizabeth Joyce Monograms.


Because it happens to work well in our space, and makes it easier for me as the hostess finishing up a large dinner, I always set up a self serve bar. I stock it with the cocktails, proper glassware needed, and cocktail napkins or any other tools needed to properly mix and serve.


Another inexpensive DIY trick that we did here,  is to get affordable cotton cocktail napkins (like these from and iron on monogram letters (available online and at most fabric and craft stores).

11.13.18   |   TARA GUÉRARD
Entertaining, Etiquette, Food and Drink, Interior Design, Parties, Shopping, The Lettered Olive, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

I can’t believe the holidays are already around the corner, oh my! I recently held a small gathering at my home for my husbands’ friends and was able to use the tabletop design as almost a trial run for my Thanksgiving tabletop. I wanted to share some of the details with you as you are starting to plan some of your holiday designs. Thank you to Aaron and Jillian Photography for capturing all of the pretty images. 

For the holidays, as well as heading into the 2018 wedding season, I’m loving copper as the new metallic. I also love these brown herringbone napkins. They are neutral enough to mix with whites or creams, and they offer so much texture. I love picking up napkins whenever I’m sourcing or shopping. They are easy to collect and always a great way to to add details to place settings.  Hand written place tags thoughtfully tied elevate your holiday hosting. 

I also love animal elements when they can be mixed in tastefully… I use a lot of hide rugs, and printed pillows in our lounges when the design calls for it. I’m loving bringing in feathers in subtle ways too. These candles are fab and have been a great addition, we even lined the back of an invitation recently with feathers! Also, people sometimes shy away from greens in their floral design.  But, during the holidays I love creating pieces out of greens en masse.

Depending on your table size, I like opting for one large arrangement in a special piece (a silver bowl from your collection, or a ceramic/glass piece found at an antique store), or for longer tables, several small continuous arrangements so guests can converse across the table. Simple florals gathered with greens from the yard/garden can still make a huge statement. And, if you have a Trader Joe’s nearby check out their selection, they tend to have a pretty lovely variety at their great prices. Cheers to happy holiday season with friends and family.


11.06.18   |   TARA GUÉRARD
Entertaining, Event Design, Event Planning, Flowers, Parties, Uncategorized | Comments >>