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Thursday
Dec102009

10 essentials: dinner at 8

Whether you’ve snail-mailed or e-mailed invites, your sit-down dinner starts at 8.

Following are essentials to set a casual mood that will relax guests so they can be themselves and linger over good food with pleasant company.

1. Set the mood with music and put it on long play so the rhythm of the party—and you—don’t get interrupted.

2. Let guests pick their seat and skip the place cards. They’ll most likely enjoy the conversation more if their neighbor was their choice.

3. Bring in some natural foliage as a centerpiece. A branch cut from the outdoors, or fresh lemons, are playful elements that make it casual.

4. A curve candleholder not only compliments the background jazz which keeps the party lively, it doesn’t get in the way of conversation.

5. Smart candles are reusable and create a glow as warm as a burning candle.

6. Ditch matching plates and create a softened, relaxed look by layering dinnerware colors and materials—such as green glass cayman with white porcelain plates.

7. Mix things up and layer table linens—such as rustle napkins with high gloss placemats.

8. Stainless pitchers of water keeps everyone hydrated—and keeps you at the table.

9. Think outside the box and mix up stemware. Think stemless wines as water glasses with shapely sophia stems for reds and whites. Together the organic shapes will compliment a relaxed mood.

10. Wine decanters allow wine to breath before pouring, add a sparkle to the table, and keep the tablescape neat and cohesive. Bonus is that you can serve less expensive, while no less delicious, wines without anyone being the wiser.

Hint: position your seat at the table closest to the kitchen for easy access since something’s always forgotten.

And for a neater, edited tabletop, plate entrees in the kitchen and present them to everyone at the same time. This saves the hassle of passing dishes and gives guests a chance to toast the chef!

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