I’ve been intending to pen a piece about host style and, with the July 4th holiday just around the corner, now is the ideal time. Being a good host/hostess is an integral part of having great style- your home should be a reflection of you, and how you welcome and care for people leaves a real impression. Hosting a fabulous party (no matter the size) is not about spending a ton of money or being a great cook or caterer- it’s about the details.
BOOZE- whether you do or do not drink, having adequate and yummy booze available for guests is an unequivocal necessity. Good wine and beer should be available and chilled appropriately, ice should be at the ready, and a signature cocktail should be the finishing touch. For a summertime party, Sangria is a great choice, as is any alcohol-based punch. The key detail here is glassware. Obviously if you’re having 100 people, it’s not advisable or realistic to use real glasses. But for most of us, parties are more intimate and in those cases, sipping out of real glasses (martini, margarita, stemless) makes a difference.
FOOD- if you’re planning to host and libate people for longer than 2 hours, you must feed them or else pay the price to the party gods in the form of drunk, sick guests. And while oven or stovetop prepared appetizers are a lovely touch, they’re often just more effort than they’re worth. My spreads always consist of three cheeses with two types of crackers (one gluten-free/rice cracker if you really want to be nice to your allergy-inclined guests), a sliced baguette and two dipping sauces or tapenade, a bowl of gourmet potato chips, and dessert type finger foods. The key detail here is the quality of carbohydrate. Serve the more exotic brand of chip or cracker and make sure the baked goods are fresh.
DÉCOR- from the lighting and music to the candles and flowers, each element should reflect thought and consideration. Preparing a specific playlist, adding a few tea lights and flowers, and turning on lamps all elevate the look and the mood of your party. Funny cocktail napkins make a great finishing touch. The key detail here is cleanliness and clutter-free. Use the party as an excuse to do all those chores you keep putting off, like clearing off the countertops, vacuuming the upholstery and polishing chandelier light bulbs. The results, though subtle, make an impact.
Mile High Style Tip: Use caution when selecting candles. People are particular about scent and no one wants to walk into a home that smells like perfume. I recommend choosing unscented candles, especially if you’re burning many.