While I cannot, nor have I ever, done a backbend as pictured above. And while I certainly don’t see myself wearing that particular drum majorette hat and ensemble, I can say with confidence that I do indeed offer my party-guests a warm “Willkommen, bienvenue, welcome.”
A preeminent web site on all things entertaining, The Salonniere just announced “The Salonniere 100: The Nation’s 100 Best Party Hosts” where they asked “more than 1,000 of the cognoscenti across all 50 states for the names of the party hosts in their city who entertain with unparalleled skill and grace.” What an interesting mix! From Cornelia Guest to Ambassador Gérard Araud. You’ll also recognize Danielle Rollins and Kimberly Schlegel Whitman whom I have mentioned in past writings.
Another name you’ll recognize on the list…mine. Oh, my!
I am so honored to be included in The Salonniere 100. I don’t believe I’ve been on a list amongst a President and First Lady before…
I wrestled with posting this announcement; I certainly don’t want to be a horn-tooter, but I must admit, I am quite tickled to be included with so many friends in other cities. Growing up Southern has finally paid off – my parents are ‘up there’ laughing themselves silly behind the pearly gates.
Here’s the post to The Salonierre 100 and to go along with it, 11 well-considered thoughts on entertaining:
Make it fun – for you! Entertaining takes time and energy to pull off, so best to make it fun for yourself from the beginning.
Themes make an occasion of the event and help guests feel special. It shows that you care enough to give this some thought. Pique their interest from the moment they receive their invitation so they can enjoy the anticipation!
The guest list is your ace in the hole. Think that through well and your party can almost move along on its own, with all these sundry guests having discovered someone new, or in a fascinating job, or a favorite classmate’s second cousin.
Mi casa es su casa – The key to a successful party is to make guests feel at home.
Welcome guests with a gracious, warm greeting at the door.
Go with the flow – A home with “flow” ensures that it is easy to circulate and not get trapped.
Comfortable furniture, including small chairs that can easily be moved around encourages impromptu conversations.
A relaxed host who acts as a guest at his/her own party provides an ease of atmosphere.
Don’t step outside your comfort zone – Luckily there’s a lot of latitude today in entertaining styles, from the very casual to the extra formal. (My Texas friends have come up with a happy combo that speaks to this point – “denim and diamonds.”)
Serve what you know best and are comfortable with – Guests would rather be at a chili party, enjoying your family’s winner of a recipe, than trying to gulp down some fancy dish of the moment that you felt obliged to serve.
Always a little surprise – Try a funny take-home gift, switching guests around at dessert, an impromptu cooking demo.
Happy Entertaining, all!
Image from “The Salonniere 100” announcement: photo greeting: Eleanor Powell, quote greeting: Cabaret (1972)
Image of Bettie Bearden Pardee at one of her parties, by Maaike Bernstrom