I have a few trade secrets from my career as an event professional that I employ at home for entertaining everyone from family and friends to clients to children’s play dates. They are an important part of my arsenal and can make even last-minute events at home successful and memorable.
- Fresh flowers are the easiest and fastest (and even affordable) way to decorate for a home event. In D.C., I rely heavily on Lee’s Flower Shop, a family-owned business that has been in operation since 1945. Develop a relationship with a trusted florist and you will have someone who can work with your budget as well as give you great service.
- When I have time to plan, I head over to Etsy to find vendors who specialize in everything from custom party favors to vintage tablecloths and serveware to decor items that lend a personal touch and support a theme. This supports small business, and while you don’t have to use an Etsy vendor, someone in your circle knows an excellent local vendor who can provide similar items.
- White dishes and serveware showcase your food and you can never own too many if you entertain often. Restaurant wholesale stores will sometimes sell to the public or you can buy them at your local thrift store. The thing about white is that you rarely have to worry about matching sets, and again, they showcase your food. The B. Smith brand of serveware is noted among hospitality professionals and home cooks.
- I know all types of caterers, including women who cook right out of their home kitchens. You don’t have to cook everything, especially if there is little time. Know who cooks what, their lead time, and their costs to either cater your home event or contribute to it with a dish or two that saves you time.
- E-vite tools like Paperless Post are great for emailing invitations and tracking RSVPs. Most of the people you know have an email account and check it frequently, so e-vites are a great way to manage your guest list.
One last tip: Keep your planning simple to focus on the comfort of your guests and to keep your stress to a minimum.