With the holidays surprisingly already around the corner, we are sharing some tips from our feature for Trad Home. But many tips here can translate to any dinner party occasion. All using items you can pull from around your home with easy how to’s! Photos by Corbin Gurkin.
Finding enough seats to accommodate all of your guests may be a challenge, so don’t be afraid to mix seats.. Benches, upholstered chairs, dining room chairs, etc. can all work together. Also, scour your home for items that could be used for eclectic decor- using small stacks of books and placing candlesticks on them, using compote dishes or juice glasses, or emptying different bowls laying around can add variety and dimension.
Also, placing varying serving dishes with nuts, olives, or dried fruits add to the decor and also offer different appetizers without having to offer a formal course. We often place bowls or items at our bars, so as guests are getting drinks and having conversations they can easily nosh.
Handwritten menus are such an easy way to amp it up for your guests. You can even find mixed materials to write on- these copper sheets came from Lowe’s, but you could use different picture frames (write on the glass), old stationary or wrapping papers. Use a fine tip Sharpie, which also comes in plenty of colors!
Here in Charleston we have access to many shells, specifically Oyster shells. We used oyster shells to create salt and pepper wells, and then raided our serving collections. Any shells with a bowl component would work obviously.
If you are dining outside and have added lighting, extra cords can be unsightly. Find greenery or vines that you can attach to the cords to camouflage them.
Of course we would be remiss if we didn’t discuss setting up a bar for your guests. Make sure you have a selection of everything along with the appropriate glasses, in case someone only drinks wine, or only drink scotch. It also takes a load off of you as a host for guests to easily be able to serve themselves.
If you don’t have decanters for everything (btw- they are often available for a fraction at antique stores), using glass pitchers, wine decanters, or lovely old bottles can work just as well. Be sure to let your guests know which is in each container again with handwritten signage.