Etiquette Corner: Entertaining with Ease

By: Erin Newkirk

Dear Erin, 

I love the idea of entertaining. It just seems so hard! I read so many blogs where people talk about it being second nature and it makes me yearn for that ease. Is there a recipe for a great party? Some sort of script to follow? 



Hi Jenny,

First of all, with all due respect to my fellow bloggers and friends, you know it's never as easy, breezy at it looks, right? The magic of great photography, witty prose, and having your business be your passion means having hours of prep and access to resources that most "normal" people don't have. So don't be so hard on yourself. Let's talk about how to push past your fear and throw a great fete!

When you close your eyes and think FUN PARTY what do you see? I see people smiling and laughing. Do you see them standing? Sitting? Small groups? One large group? Indoors? Outdoors? Who and what are you fete-ing? All of these visuals should shape the "script" for your party. Your visuals can change with the seasons, based on what stage of life you are in, with what and who you are celebrating, etc. Just overlay those visuals with the 6 basic party elements -- guest list, theme, decor, food/drink, music, and activity -- and you are on your way to a great get together.

Start simple. A party is a party when you say it's a party. And it doesn't have to be at your house. In fact, throw your next party out of your home so you don't over-work/stress the surround. Something fun I did last year was throw a last minute, surprise party at the local ice cream parlor for a friend's birthday. Literally organized hours before. Guest List? 10 of our closest friends and their families + 1 texted {sms} invitation. Theme? Go with what will make you and/or your guest of honor happy. This particular friend is known for making amazing homemade ice I went with that! Decor? A simple, reusable birthday banner. It made the party and once again reminded me how simple it all can be. Food/Drink? Ice cream + soda pop -- all purchased at the shop -- and candles smuggled in from home. Music? Supplied by the parlor. We went with it. Activity? Eating, laughing, kids running around, and we all made "ice cream cone toasts" to honor the bday boy and remember the good stuff. 

One year later, we are still talking about that get together. And it was hands-down one of the easiest, least expensive parties I've ever thrown. Find the best combination that works with your lifestyle, the occasion, and your budget. And focus on the things that matter = having fun + making memories. 

Have an etiquette question for Erin? Email her at [email protected] for a chance to be featured in the Etiquette Corner!

(image via The Tory Burch Blog)