Entertaining at home can be a daunting prospect for many. There is so much to think about… from welcome drinks to the table design, from the menu to the guest list. We have asked some of the best in the business how to transfer their professional skills to the home. Learn how to create the wow factor, the most delicious and easy cocktails to serve of guest arrival and feast your eyes on images from a recent Missoni inspired summer shoot with some of our favourite suppliers.
Home Entertaining must begin with an invitation. And with invitations like award-winning Cutture‘s you wouldn’t want to miss it. An intricately tied golden bow enticed us to find out more at first glance and we of course took the advice of the ‘open me’ tag. Once unwrapped we revealed a piece of art – a fairytale scene complete with a ballerina that we could dance.
Calligraphy from Kilkie Sands.
Pre-designed online templates to customise and get delivered to your home in just a couple of days from Papier.
The table is your centre-piece and where people will be sat for hours so the details count! From the glassware to the flowers and candlestick holders…
Vaishali Shah, MD and Founder of luxury stationer Ananya, gives us her advice on design for summer entertaining.
“Summer is a wonderful season to entertain. From garden parties to summer soirées and smart cocktail parties, it’s an opportunity to embrace the colour and ‘joie de vivre’ of the season. When it comes to stationery, blending beautifully with the design of the event demonstrates that you’re a thoughtful and creative host.
Take for example a small ‘al fresco’ dinner party. We ‘eat’ with our eyes as much as our mouths and the success of a dinner party owes as much to the presentation of the event, as it does the food. A beautifully presented and co-ordinated table entices your guests with a sampler of what awaits. And what better way to stimulate good conversation and appetite than with gorgeously designed menus printed for each guest? Bon appétit!”
Here are our top tips:
The colour scheme: even if your items are mis-match, if the colours work together, it will look great!
Give people a menu: it’s very easy to design a menu for guests on Papier. They will love the extra thought you have gone to and it’s a nice moment from the evening.
Flowers: keep them low so people can still talk to people across the table – you don’t want to decide the table in half.
Candles: dot tea lights down the middle of the table for an easy, cost effective and pretty way to make your table sparkle.
Name Places: if you’re dinner is for over 8 guests, it’s a good idea to have a table plan! Blue Ribbon assorted name holders, seen in these photographs are available in the Pearl & Pear shop here. As well as the stunning fontainebleau dinner plate.
Adam Solomon, Director of slick and stylish LiquidChefs, gives us his advice on the importance of picking the right drinks for the right occasion.
“It is becoming more and more important to make sure that the right drinks are chosen for the right occasion at the right time of year. Specifically for Summer, people tend to prefer leaning more to the less full-bodied, lighter and crisper style of drinks. Drinks that would generally be more refreshing than warming as such.
My first recommendation is our ‘Crasha‘, it is a ‘LiquidChefs Original Cocktail’ and was created by our founders. It is sharp and punchy, well-balanced and sexy. Fresh lemongrass, basil and a small slice of red chilli are muddled with sugar and shaken with a healthy measure of tequila, fresh lime and pineapple juice. It is garnished with a birds eye chilli on the rim of the glass.
Second would be our Kiwi & Cucumber Martini. This is always a winner as it is light and fresh, vodka based and contains fresh kiwi and fresh cucumber. Perfect for a garden party. Fresh cucumber and kiwi are muddled with sugar and shaken with a splash of vodka, cloudy apple juice and a squeeze of fresh lime, it is served straight up in a martini glass and garnished with a cucumber wheel on the rim of the glass. Enjoy!“
The Flowers – Advice from Hybrid Flowers
Hybrid Flowers, one of London’s favourite florists talks to Pearl & pear about what to think about when creating a wow factor at home with fresh flowers.
“For entertaining at home think of creating a floral look for 3 main areas: arriving, mingling and dining. First, at least a week before (you’ll thank us for this later) your party think about the containers you own and try them out to see how they work with look and feel of each area. Perhaps your tallest vase for the entrance hall, a group of ceramic bowls for the coffee table and a collection of glassware for the dining table.
Next, have a think about the shapes of the flowers with the chosen area and container in mind. Think whether the flowers need to be wild and branching* for that tall vase, short and lumpy* for shallow bowls or delicate profile* flowers for slim glass vessels and make yourself a list. This way you won’t buy too much of one flower or foliage type and not enough of another.
Then, think of flower types. Unless you have a very specific theme for your party, try to go as seasonal as possible. Nothing is a greater marker for the time of year than flowers. When you look back on that summer dinner party you will recall the scent of garden roses or sweet pea, the rich colour of the hydrangea or the clematis, the shape of the branches of beech and you and your guests will remember the feeling and atmosphere that you created for years to come.
Some early to mid-summer suggestions:
Branching*: delphinium, lupins, foxgloves and branches of sorbus, birch, beech
Lumpy*: peony, roses (get them both in nice and early to open up), hydrangea, dianthus
Profile*: Sweet pea, clematis, rosemary, stocks, veronica
* a Hybrid technical term, we really do call them that!
The Guest Bedroom
If you have guests staying after your dinner party, be sure to provide a comfortable bedroom for them to nurse their red wine hangover in…! We are totally in love with this Missoni inspired bedroom… but here are our top tips on how to create the perfect haven for your guests…
The Small Touches: light a scented candle an hour before they arrive to give a welcoming scent
Look after their hangover: put a bundle of goodies by their bed – rehydration salts, a toothbrush just in case they forgot, earplugs (in case they want to go to bed early and the party is still in full swing…) and a bottle of water.
Fresh flowers: because who doesn’t love fresh flowers!
With special thanks to the following suppliers for their talent on this summer entertaining photoshoot at a beautiful apartment in Mayfair, London:
Flowers: Hybrid Flowers
Furnishings and homeware: Blue Ribbon