Post by Helen Dagner on Dec 13, 2011 7:05:36 GMT -5
f you've ever tried to entertain even a small group of people, you know how it goes: Everyone just clumps into one room. Or, if you're bringing together two groups of people (think: work friends and regular friends, your friends and their friends, friends and family), you'll get two clumps of people. No one circulates, no one mingles, things get awkward. You're left never wanting to entertain again.
We've found the solution: The "station" approach to entertaining. It's a surefire way get guests moving, but experience has proven that this approach allows you to fit up to 4x as many people in your home (without it feeling crowded).
The process is simple. Instead of placing all the food and drinks on one buffet table for people to crowd around, you just create stations throughout your home. Each station should have an "attraction," such as an hors d'oeuvre or a thingytail, so guests will circulate. Easy enough, right? But if you're still not sure what to do, here are a few suggested stations:
Martini bar in the entryway. Make a pitcher of martinis (gin and vermouth or vodka and vermouth), place glasses on a decorative tray and put out bowls of accoutrements like olives or lemon peels. Guests will love being greeted at the door with a festive thingytail.
Wine bar in the kitchen. No matter how hard you try to avoid it, people will gather in the kitchen. Since you'll probably be doing some last minute cooking, it's essential that the attraction here is basic so people will continue on to another room. Set a few bottles of wine on the table alongside glasses and a simple snack like breadsticks.
Cheese plate in the living room. Cheese plates can be awkward to deal with because your juggling a drink, a plate and a cheese knife. So, put this platter in the living room where guests can not only sit down to chat, but can also have a little more time to work with the food.
Full bar in the dining room. Use your sideboard as a full-sized bar, or spread it out on the dining room table. Another option: Turning the dining room table into a game area, with cards.
Hors d'oeuvres in the hallway. Believe it or not, your hallway is still a great entertaining space. Place a tray or two of hors d'oeuvres on your side table so people will filter through this often-ignored party spot.
Coat room in the bedroom. Classic, but for a reason. The last thing you want is for valuable sitting space to be taken up with coats. When your guests walk inside, bring their coat to your bedroom where it will remain out of everyone's way.
Another great idea for a station? A new, exotic thingytail.