Entertaining tips inspired by design icon Dorothy Draper
Entertaining is Fun!
Achieving a “well-designed” life is easier than you think—especially if you have a guide or mentor to show you the way. On television, I often talk about my favourite style icon Dorothy Draper. I always get dozens of emails about her, so I thought I would write a little bit about Dorothy and suggest a few of her top entertaining tips.
Some quick background Dorothy Draper was a celebrated American decorator who was born into a wealthy American family in the late 1800s. Soon after launching her design career, Dorothy became a lifestyle voice for the masses. By the 1920s, she was established as an interior designer, working on many hotel and Hollywood projects.
In her two most popular books—Decorating is Fun and Entertaining is Fun—she shares refreshing and innovative design and entertaining advice AND she remembers that we all haven’t been born with a silver spoon. Those on a budget can achieve all of her very chic design and entertaining tips!
As we head into the season full of parties and get-togethers, I’ve pulled a few fun entertaining tips and tricks inspired by Dorothy and dreamed up by me! Enjoy!
Expect To Have A Great Time
You, as a host, need to be stress-free and calm when the guests arrive—and for the entire evening. So don’t fuss with the table on the day of. Be proactive and set it the night before. Be sure to pull out all of your serving trays and utensils as well, to avoid rooting through messy cupboards in front of guests.
Keep The Food Simple
Don’t panic when it comes to food. Make a vintage-inspired casserole ahead of time or serve up a fondue and always have plenty of appetizers. Whether it’s a pie, gravy or even a turkey, don’t be afraid to buy a few ready-made dishes for the meal. It will save you hours of prep and stress and no one will know, or care. Most importantly, never turn down help. The holidays are often a potluck affair so use your friends! By assigning one small task to each, you will free yourself up for the most important role…host. If all else fails, just remember this, if everyone has a drink in their hand, no one will care if dinner was served two hours late.
Space Is Key
Go vertical. In the kitchen, you will need all the available counter space, so remove any unnecessary appliances. Put those empty surfaces to good use by opting for tiered trays and risers for desserts and starters. Turn your kitchen into a bar station: fill one side of a double sink with ice and libations. Really strapped for space? Free up crucial real estate in your fridge by serving just one or two signature cocktails in pitchers. Personalize glasses by writing names on drink stirrers or tags. This also ensures guests will use just one glass throughout the evening.
Lighting is crucial to creating the perfect party environment. Dim lighting will have a calming effect on you and your guests and make for a cozy atmosphere. Consider using only candlelight and incorporate a range of sizes and shapes to cast a warm glow over the room. Candles make you nervous? Try draping chiffons over your lampshades and using dimmer watt bulbs to add an air of romance to the party.
Decorate With Dessert
Dorothy said it best: “Enthrall guests with fanciful desserts designed to complement the decor, from sculptural flowering cupcakes to a cake with a hand painted chintz motif.” Display your dainties on a pretty tiered tray or beneath a vintage cake dome!
Do consider a DIY centrepiece. Flowers are beautiful but they can get expensive and often overwhelm a small table. Instead, pick up a few candleholders of varying heights and designs and spray paint them gold to match. Add some moss, a burlap runner and a few adornments and you have yourself a chic centrepiece that is sure to impress.
If you love these ideas and want more Dorothy Draper or just need some great inspiration, visit dorothydraper.com. Remember, entertaining IS fun!