Party Prep | Host vs. Guest

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Hosting a dinner party is no small fete. To ensure you're the hostess with the mostess (and guests want to return next time), here are a few pointers for an enjoyable evening. 

1. Keep it simple. As mentioned yesterday, you should know the rules well enough that you can break them fabulously. Have fun with your tabletops and bring in festive stemware and chairs. That beings said, set the stage so guests feel important. There is nothing wrong with bringing beauty to your tabletops.
2. Pull up a seat with a stranger. Mix friends and strangers so the evening has a more the merrier vibe. Over the course of a meal, new friendships will be forged. 
3. Dress the part, but don't go overboard. You want festive attire but nothing that will constrict the way you move (or hurt your feet). Go for the sparkle but don't be so serious. 
4. Invest in the food you serve. Serve a family favorite or personalized drink. Guests will appreciate such a soulful touch. If that just isn't an option, find a great caterer who will provide a custom menu.
5. Set up an easy buffet and bar area that is easily accessible for the cocktails sure to come before and after dinner. 
6. Be gracious!

Being a good guest is equally as important. Know the rules and don't break them.

1. RSVP. Don't call at the last minute to cancel, unless you want to ensure you're on the naughty guest list (i.e. no invite next year).
2. Dress code. Know the difference between cocktail attire, black tie, and casual attire. Who What Wear has a great post on what to wear for the holidays. (Note: Casual does not mean jeans. Keep it classy.)
3. Understand that the party or dinner does not revolve around you. Learn the difference between exchanging ideas and just expressing your opinion. Ask questions and move between groups of people. Rule numero uno - no gossiping. 
4. Bring a fabulous hostess gift. A bottle of wine is a nice gesture, but go a step further and think about something that really represents the host. From stationary to a holiday ornament, you can really go wherever you want here. 
5. Don't overindulge. Social drinking is to be expected, but being drunk only ensures you'll be paying for a cab and not asked to return next time around. 
6. Be gracious!

The number one rule of the season: Enjoy yourself! What a blessing to be around family and friends. 

Deck the Halls // Festive Ideas for Entertaining

Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Branching Out Floral + Event Design. Photo credit: John Cain Photography
Once you learn the basics of setting the table (Haven't done that yet? See our POSH 101 series on setting the table for the holidays), the best part of entertaining becomes breaking all the rules. Start your own traditions - set out the fine china, use every heirloom piece your family has to offer, or, go super modern and rent entire place settings, linens, and chairs. Stack china high with the layered look we love so much, or simply change up the patterns with each place setting with vintage pieces and assorted stemware. During the holidays, personal traditions really do trump any rules you've learned, so get festive and just go for it. Guests will appreciate a nostalgic setting with a whimsical approach to making merry, especially with a truly luxe take on your tabletop. POSH PICK: An Exotic Bird by Charles Sadek china pattern or Mahogany Rose by Noritake with traditional damasks in holiday hues.

Rattan Chargers, Elise Cut Crystal Stemware, Exotic Bird, Sevres, Barcelona Gold China Collections from POSH. Branching Out floral arrangements. Photo credit: John Cain Photography
Our favorite tablescapes incorporate natural elements that reflect seasonal landscapes, like the pine cones above. Branching Out designed a beautiful tabletop with floral arrangements fit for a wintery scene. They are a simple yet ingenious way to add a personal touch for the seating guests. POSH PICK: If you don't have a natural element to use, create caligraphy place cards tied to faux fur napkin rings or around bundled Floral Elegance Stemware for a more relaxed take on your place setting. 

Image: Source Unknown
Set the mood for the evening with a subtle and gracious glow. Lighting should be soft and reflective, not harsh or direct. We love a mixtures of votive candles and dimmed chandeliers. POSH PICK: Jan Barboglio Copper Candle Holder and Mercury and Silver Vintage Candelabras make for impressive lighting. 

Call it the Great Gatsby effect, but Art Deco is back and we're not complaining. There is something terribly romantic and fresh about going back to old school cordials and crystal coups for serving drinks, especially into the New Year celebrations. Mix and match for a unique and authentic style for toasting friends and family. POSH PICK: Our vintage collection has an impressive range of crystal and glass goblets, coups, and cordials for every style of service. 

Tabletop Tuesday // Christmas in Cowtown

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

There's nothing like Christmas in Cowtown (that's Fort Worth those of you non-Texans). It's the perfect mix of tradition and nostalgia with the holiday hues that strike a chord around this time of year. Emily Clarke of of Emily Clarke Events designed this red and gold tabletop for a competition at the Ridglea Country Club, and we're hoping to recreate it for our own family gatherings. Branching Out created the masterful floral arrangements and Liland's provided the gold banquet.

Gold Chiavari Chairs with Red Cushions / White Lamour Linen / Scarlet Filigree Charger / Arte Italica Dinner Plate, Dynasty 24 Karat Flatware / Royal Gold Stemware / Silver Goblet / Exotic Bird Teacup and Saucer by Charles Sadek / Champagne Silk Napkin


POSH 101: Fork It Over

Monday, December 2, 2013
Fork it over stylishly, of course. From top to bottom flatware: Gold Lyons, Dynasty 24K, Parisian Gold, all POSH. Mocha Swirl Velvet Linen by Resource One, exclusively at POSH.

December marks a busy time of the year on the social calendar. From work holiday parties and social gatherings to family dinners with in-laws and friends, it's safe to safe that it's the most wonderful and busiest time of the year. So, what to do at those holiday gatherings? This week we will bring you etiquette and social pointers for everything from where the fork goes to the art of conversation. Whew! What a relief.

Stylish Silverware. From top to bottom flatware: Floral Elegance, Michelangelo, Christofle, Birch Hall by Redd & Barton, Marie Antoinette by Reed & Barton. Rouge Ribbon Taffeta full round linen by Resource One, exclusively at POSH.


A good rule of thumb: When in doubt, use a fork. It is the preferred utensil over fingers, spoons, and knives. For formal dinners, the hostess should serve food you can eat without embarrassment, like easy finger foods. Forks are even preferred for things like asparagus and ice cream. Eating Italian over the holidays? The spoon you use to assist in twirling the noodles is not part of etiquette - just use your fork to cut up the spaghetti. If you ever drop your fork, leave it and tell the server if at a restaurant; at someone's home, it is all right to pick it up, give to the hostess, and ask for another. Never use silverware that has fallen on the floor - even if you love the five-second rule, it does not apply ever in social settings. Finished? Lay your silverware on the the plate, never on the tablecloth. 

If you have more than one fork to use, don't panic, just start with the fork on the outside. The silver is set in the order it is to be used, with the first course’s silver being on the outside. Forks (tines up) on the left, knives (cutting edge pointing in), and spoons on the right. Remember, if the silverware you need isn’t on the table when you sit down, they will bring it when that course is served.

Seafood fork - This fork is the smallest fork. It will have only three tines. (Tines are the teeth.) It’s used with seafood, such as oysters and shrimp. It may be found to the far left of your place setting, or it may be resting in the head of your far right soup spoon.
Salad fork - This fork is larger than the seafood fork, but smaller than your dinner fork. It will have four tines but will be shorter and fatter than your regular fork.
Dinner fork - This fork will look like the ones you’re used to seeing at home (may be called a place fork).
Dessert fork - This fork is smaller than your regular fork, and you can recognize it by its placement. It will either be above your plate, or it will be set at the table during dessert.

Feel better about which fork to grab? Good. Check back this week for more POSH 101 tidbits.