Saturday, March 13, 2010

Warm and welcoming at home entertaining

What a week! We had our quarterly board meeting and it's always creates a bit of a frenzy in the office. The day before the meeting one of the board members typically hosts the group at their home for dinner. So, while I won't be using any names, I had the pleasure of dinning at the home of an Emmy Award-winning Journalist, renowned author, and all around fantastic woman. Not only is she still making her mark in the world of journalism with a weekly syndicated column and television appearances, but she somehow found the time to personally cook a fantastic New Orleans themed dinner for 40 members of our board, their spouses, and senior staff.

I've been to a couple of these dinners and I learn something about at home entertaining from each and everyone of them. Monday's dinner was so warm and comfortable. There's something about the atmosphere of an old family home, being surrounded family photos and artifacts, and having a home cooked meal. So often when we're preparing for company we rush to sanitize our space of personal items. Whether it's de-cluttering the table tops of picture frames or putting away the books and magazines you been flipping through, we feel the need to remove these signs of our everyday life when these are the very things that make our home a HOME!

She grew up in the home, raised her family there, and both her and her daughter had their weddings in the backyard garden. Just by browsing the walls and shelves you got such a sense of the life that's been lived in this space. That's what at home entertaining is all about! If you want a typical event space, rent a room or go to a restaurant. Welcoming people into you home should be about sharing a bit of your world. That includes your menu. Your home is not a restaurant and your guests aren't expecting small designer bites of food. Why not whip out an old family recipe? I'm not saying you shouldn't supplement the meal with a few catered items, but there is something so gracious and heartwarming about creating a meal for others. Trust me, the extra effort will not go unnoticed.

I couldn't take pictures at the dinner. Believe me, I wanted to. It wouldn't have been kosher. But, I found these images online that echo the theme of keeping your space personal.

Use your walls to tell a story. Mix your art collection with personal pieces and family photos. (Image from

Why clear away the table tops or replace your true reads with coffee table books? Leave out that Grisham Novel or that stack of magazines. They can help add some interest to the space. Just make sure they're appropriate for you audience. (image from Elle Decor)

Resist the urge to cover your mantle with candles and other trinkets. Give people something to talk about that actually matters to you. Pictures like these can help with keeping the conversation flowing and look great year round. (Images from


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