Itâ€™s official: Winter is over (despite what HBO would have you believe), and the seemingly endless Summer months have set in with a vengeance. I for one, am not a Summer person, so I try to throw myself into doing what I love best. I come from a family of decorators (donâ€™t laugh! Yes, thatâ€™s a thing) and I remember as a little girl watching my mother as she would prepare to entertain for a dinner or tea. Iâ€™d gawk in wonder as sheâ€™d transform any array of food into a banquet fit for royalty.Â Her glittering parties and elegant table dÃ©cor truly inspired me, and since then I have loved everything there is about entertaining. Here are a few tips that will help you turn your next get together into a fun conversation-sparking, memorable affair for all!
ALL ABOUT THE AMBIANCE
I find that nothing affects the way my table looks more than the lighting.Â I canâ€™t tell you how many amazing dinners get killed by dentist lighting, or how many conversations get lost in the dark. Set the lights to a warm dim glow and use lots of candles to bring instant glamour. Pssst! Freeze yourÂ candles before using them! It eliminates messy wax drippings.
When planning a party I feel one of the most important aspects is the table. Now, I know youâ€™re thinking itâ€™s just a table, but believe me when I say the way you serve your guests their food is going to make the mood of the whole party (unless you absolutely bomb the food, that is.)Â A tablescape is so much more than just a centerpiece. It draws the eye and creates an atmosphere that complements its environment and turns a good meal into a great one. When planning, itâ€™s important to keep a sense of balance. This doesnâ€™t mean everything has to follow exact symmetry, but make sure you repeat colours and textures and flowers in a certain pattern throughout the length of the table.Â When playing with height, try not to put things too close to one another. There is no point if you canâ€™t see the person in front of you.
If you are going to do a fuller tablescape, know the difference between clutter and â€˜artful disarrayâ€™.Â Remember, you want your table to look like the dÃ©cor is flowing, not like you just got done with spring cleaning.Â You can get creative here.Â Flowers and candles are always a classic, but sometimes fruits or balloons (not helium!) or natural elements can do the trick just as well.
Nothing spells luxury more than crisp cloth napkins and a beautiful tablecloth.Â Weâ€™re so lucky that this stuff is so readily available in Pakistan!Â A quick trip to any store and suddenly youâ€™ve got matching tablecloths and napkins to compliment your dreamy tablescape and china – all on a budget. Remember to take your tablemeasurements before you head out!
BREAK OUT THE GOODS
Now I know many of us (the married majority, that is) rely heavily on the one or two dinner sets we are given during our wedding and thatâ€™s fineâ€¦ But I canâ€™t tell you how many girls have never even touched their fine china for fear of ruining it, or it being too formal. News flash ladies, this stuff is meant to be used.Â Trust me, your guests will love and appreciate being served dinner around an actual table setting, where the beauty of the china can be appreciated.
ALL CHARGED UP
Iâ€™ve got to tell you, charger plates were a game changer for me. What is it meant for, you ask? Well, they donâ€™t charge anything.Â And technically they donâ€™t do anything either except literally â€˜sit there and look prettyâ€™.Â But this seemingly useless plate (you canâ€™t eat off it) that sits under the dinner plate, adds more character and opulence to the table than any other accessory so to speak.Â You can find them in so many colours and textures in most home stores around the world.Â Try it – you wont be sorry.
GOD IS IN THE DETAILS
This is the fun part, and the part that will be remembered by your guests weeks after your dinner is over. Donâ€™t be scared to get personal! Set place cards in front of each seat, have a pre-prepared playlist ready to go from the minute your party starts till when the last guest leaves, make creative napkin rings to match whatever theme youâ€™ve got going.Â It sounds like a LOT of work but it really isnâ€™t. Also, printed out menus may sound a bit extreme, but really do make the evening more memorable!
LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL
The two main ingredients for any great night are to make sure you are dressed and ready by the time your guests arrive and donâ€™t forget to have fun! A relaxed hostess will set the mood. Remember, the key is to make it look effortless and thatâ€™s not going to happen if you arenâ€™t having fun.
Written By: Hafsa Shayan