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Entertaining Rules-To-Live-By

Admit it: We’ve all fantasized about being the perfect, unflappable host. You know, the one who sets a perfect table, whips up hors d’oeuvres from scratch and gracefully welcomes guests at the door with a cocktail? It may sound impossible, but the savviest hosts have a few tricks up their sleeves that make it possible to entertain in style without breaking a sweat. Follow these entertaining rules-to-live-by, and you’ll be hosting with the best of them and having a blast doing it. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about?

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  • 1. Create a Concept 1 of 7
    1. Create a Concept
    There's always an excuse to throw a party. Milestones like birthdays & holidays are obvious, but Oscar night and the Kentucky Derby are equal cause for celebration. Decide on the theme that will set the overall tone, and go as far as your creativity takes you! image
  • 2. Lists to Live By 2 of 7
    2. Lists to Live By
    Organization is the most important step in hosting a stress-free event. I always keep several lists that I continually update through the planning process: a master to-do list where I highlight every task that must be accomplished, a cost sheet so I always know the state of my budget, and a shopping list that ensures I won't forget any necessary supplies. image
  • 3. Party People 3 of 7
    3. Party People
    The right mix of guests is crucial for creating a lively atmosphere and setting the stage for new friendships. Don't be afraid to invite guests from different social networks, and keep in mind that 25 percent of those invited will be no-shows, so over-invite to ensure an energetic crowd. image
  • 4. The Write Stuff 4 of 7
    4. The Write Stuff
    In the age of the Evite, nothing creates anticipation like discovering a beautiful invitation in the mailbox. Not only is it a chic gesture, the best invitation hints at what's to come by incorporating the theme in its design. Provide guidance on attire so guests know whether to dress for a backyard barbecue or an elegant garden brunch, and specify an RSVP deadline to avoid last-minute responses. image
  • 5. Dinner is Served 5 of 7
    5. Dinner is Served
    Party fare should be simple & delicious. For a seated dinner, three courses (salad, entree, & dessert) is plenty. And don't assume that everything must be made from scratch! If the bakery down the street makes a to-die-for flourless chocolate cake, plate individual slices with fresh raspberries & a touch of creme fraiche for a fully gourmet presentation. image
  • 6. Set the Stage 6 of 7
    6. Set the Stage
    Use lighting and decor to turn your vision into reality. Dim overhead bulbs and use loads of candles to cast a flattering light over the room. Keep floral arrangements low (especially on the dinner table) to avoid blocking eye contact. Pack a short vase with lots of monochromatic flowers for an abundant look, or place a single bloom in a slender vase for pure drama. image
  • 7. Ready to Party 7 of 7
    7. Ready to Party
    This step is absolutely crucial. Leave yourself an hour before guests arrive to freshen up, slip into something stunning and light candles. This creates a welcoming atmosphere from the moment you open the door...With a big smile and cocktail in hand, of course! image

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