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Understated, Elegant Garden & Dinner Parties

Posted by michele_2006 (My Page) on
Fri, Mar 31, 06 at 10:58

Hey Ladies, I'd love to hear from you all regarding how to entertain/host beautiful garden parties or dinner parties... for starters, have you ever heard of

Kimberly Kennedy... she won awards and was featured on Good Morning America, I believe, and a host of other shows... she has true class... that I wish I could replicate...


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Hello, my name is Michele and I would really like to learn how to entertain elegantly...

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Here is a link that might be useful: Kimberly Kennedy Entertains...

RE: Understated, Elegant Garden & Dinner Parties

Nice to see you Michelle! Funny, I posted a while back in the conversations side of the decorating forum, on wanting to hold a "perennial party", where friends and family would come to my house and we'd exchange plants and hang out basically. I was afraid to come over here, because this particular forum seemed kind of dead. I can't think of her name, but I have seen a lady on Oprah from time to time, who does funky things for parties that are easy and affordable for everyone. She'll have you use things that are already in your home. There are lots of unique things you can do, like use fresh fruit for place settings. I think I saw that on Martha Stewart once. She stuck names in pears or something, and set one at each setting. Good luck with whatever you are planning.

RE: Understated, Elegant Garden & Dinner Parties

Hi, Michele. I'm checking out all the ideas here but, go back to home decorating when you get a chance. I just posted a question about your beautiful living room.

RE: Understated, Elegant Garden & Dinner Parties

Well...I have thrown my share of parties that people have told me they thought were elegant....and most of the time they were understated, I thought.
I guess my suggestions would be to somehow have everything look like you tossed it together in a moment, when in reality you spent days prepering.
One party I am remembering was cocktails and dinner in the back yard as a couples bridal shower. It was early June and a yellow shrub rose was just beginning to drop it's petals. Instead of raking them up, I sat the bride and groom beneath it and let the petals fall all over their table. I couldn't have planned it better....there they sat in a shower or rose petals...provided by nature....what a photo op!
For 10 years we would hold an "After midnight breakfast" on New Year's. The only electric lights were by the front door and in the kitchen....all else was lit with candles. About 4 1/2 dozen, votives and in every candle stick I had.
Another rule I hold to is no "disposables" but maybe for cocktail plastic glasses no paper plates and if possible no paper napkins ( but I do allow myself to use paper napkins for a crowd of over 40!!).
NO MATTER WHAT...make people feel like they can stay as long as they want. I have shoveled people out the door at 6:AM.......barely able to stagger to bed. If you have a summer dinner in the garden thing starting with cocktails at 6 and dinner at 7:30 and you know it won't get dark until 9:00, be sure to plan for some votives or hurricanes to light when people are comfortable sitting around with their coffee.....and be sure you have sprayed with Yard Guard before the party.
And remember, elegant is NOT stuffy, elegant is easy and fun.
One opf the most elegant and fun parties I ever attended was around the pool and in the pool house of someone who had more money that he knew about and a wonderful sense of style. The pool was filled with blow up critters, the theme was sea food, there were windsocks flying in strings from the corners of the yard....the statues in the fountains had flower leis and the pools in the gardens had floating flowers. There were stations with someone shelling oysters and another with clams, there was a sushi bar. Every table was draped toi the floor and festooned with flowers, there was every drink you could the pool house were stacks of fluffy towels and terry robes and shelves full of swim suits of all sizes in case you forgot yours. Great fun!
Not many people can afford to do a party like that for hundreds, but the principal of having everything anyone could want available can easily be applied to chicken on the grill in the back yard.
Linda C

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