The livin’ is easy……..
Okay, I want you to take a breath, get a cool drink, put up your feet and relax! Now isn’t that nice? As with every other aspect in our lives, summer for some folks, has turned into a frantic dash from one thing to another.
Let’s take a clue from the summer weather; sultry, warm and sloooooooow with bursts of brilliant color and excitement.
Outdoor living has the same requirements and arrangement principals as indoor furnishings……must haves:
Somewhere comfortable to sit, to eat, to converse and to relax.
And as always, buy the very best you can afford that will last and last and last. If circumstances require that you buy a piece at a time, do it. Like a savings account, you will be flushed with outdoor assets before you know it!
Outdoor entertaining could be like the summer weather, warm and breezy with shots of excitement. For me, decorating for an outdoor party is all about the atmosphere. Unfortunately, sometimes the food is on the back burner (figuratively and literally!) whilst I prod the floral arrangements and steam the table cloths. I guess I hope that the décor will compensate for what misses I have in the kitchen (and of course a couple glasses of wine doesn’t hurt!).Thinking outside the box with outdoor entertaining is key. You know as a guest that any surprise the host and hostess throw at you is fun and loosens up everyone and everything: An unexpected guest from out of town, a neat “thanks for coming “gift, unusual food choices or a delicious twist on a cocktail.
Now that I “fessed up” about my shortcomings with food, I do think the first sense a guest experiences is the warm and wonderful smell from the kitchen, so make sure that your best and most aromatic appetizer has been cooking as the guests arrive.
Along with fragrance, sound carries a lot of weight at a party. My thought is that the first hour or so, the music should be strong and festive, making everybody tap their toes or sway their hips. Then as everyone meets and greets and the line forms for yummies, tone it down a bit for conversations’ sake. Then crank it back up after food for dancing and frolicking………..(make your own assumptions here!)
The cocktail “du soire” might be something very new and fresh…….we shared our favorite cocktail recipe in the April Paysage newsletter, “Fine Print”. It was the Saint Anne’s Lace….yummy beyond yummy…check it out at Port Land Grille! Greeting everyone at the door with a cool concoction and a kiss on the cheek is a surefire way to start the party rockin’!
Now, of course to my favorite part of entertaining…..decor!
I have always wanted to have a 40’s party. I have a vision, which is always a good way to start planning a party. Start with a theme if you like, see in your mind that you are at the party already and envision what everyone is wearing, what they are sitting on and how the “vibe” is moving.
This party, in my mind, is a Riviera party (and we don’t even live on the water). I see people draped over upholstered poofs, with turbans, giant sunglasses (if it’s a daytime party), big jewelry, straw hats and linen suits! People are moving from poof to poof, embroiled in fascinating conversations and meeting amazing strangers. Or sitting, very chicly on outdoor rattan that looks as though the French sun has been caressing it for years!
Very Garbo-esque….with a little Cary Grant thrown in for good measure! Of course the flowers are elegant (buckets of lilies maybe) and the food, little bitty bite sized pick-ups to keep the spilling to minimum. Maybe I’ll hang some diaphanous curtains from the pergola to disguise the backyard and make guests think that St. Tropez is on the other side!
My advice is to make elements of décor BIG and SHOWY in the summer but not to overdo them. A few wonderful surprises are better than the shotgun approach of a lot of small elements that confuse and don’t set a mood.
So GO, have a party…..imagine it, then recreate it and as always,
Have fun with Dick and Jane
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