Any excuse for a party

January is the perfect month for parties.

Its dark and cold outside, the bills are piling up and tax season is just around the corner.

So why not have a party?

I love inviting friends over for dinner.

Love the whole planning stage, what to make, witch wine, flowers, just love it.

I take pride in setting a nice table, cooking a good meal and making people feel welcome.

Here are my top 10 tips for a good party.

1.Set the table the day before.

2.Don’t make anything that will keep you in the kitchen while your guests are hanging out.

3.Stews are perfect January food. You can even make it beforehand.

4.Soft music and candlelight sets the mood

5.No cell phones at the table….please!

6.Make cocktails, more cocktails and even more cocktails

7.Remember to buy or make enough ice

8.A perfumed candle in the bathroom does the trick

9.Its ok to play match maker, invite some single friends.

10.Don’t even think about the dishes. Nothing kills a party like a host doing the dishes.

Photos by Studio Dreyer Hensley

  1. Lorena says:

    I’m offering a little party tomorrow night! these are simple but great tips! :)

  2. Wendy says:

    OMG #10 is totally me! bwhahahaha never again!

  3. stacy di says:

    what a beautiful table!

    great party advice!

  4. ecochic says:

    Great tips!

    I love throwing parties, mainly for the excuse to cook. But as of late I find myself inviting all of my friends, instead of keeping the dinner manageable and being able to fit around my dining table. Any tips on how to keep the evening intimate, without hurting people’s feelings?

  5. kara kurth says:

    i wish i could set the table the day before. i just get so nervous that a dog hair will float up and land on a dish. mortifying. the rest i can do. :) ty!

  6. sharon says:

    You are sooooo right about #10! Why, oh why do people do this? I hate it when my guests insist on helping me load the dishwasher at the end of the party. That can wait till the next day. Thanks for the support!

  7. Great entertaining tips. thanks!

  8. barbara says:

    I love your table and chairs…can you tell me where you found them?? I have been looking forever for chairs like these. Beautiful table.

  9. sweet paul says:

    Got the chairs at Conran shop a few years ago.
    Check out places that sells garden furniture.
    Glad you guys like my list.
    For me no.5 is the most important.
    Nothing kills my good mood like someone texting at the table.

  10. jb says:

    i love the table setting, what flowers did you use, i especially like the long strand on the table.

  11. kayce hughes says:

    Perfectly said! I am now totally in the mood to have a party.

  12. What is “witch wine”?

  13. ann henry says:

    That is a completely perfect list — #10 is a must — how does everyone stop the clean up process from sweeping all guests into the kitchen?

  14. J. M. Hunter says:

    Ann Henry, if you find out, let me know! Every time I have a party, at least 3 of my guests end up in the kitchen cleaning up, despite my protests. You can always hire someone to help, and that seems to stop the guests from thinking they are “helping”, but it just seems a little pretentious when you are only having dinner with a few friends!

  15. anon says:

    What was used as a runner underneath the flowers on the table?

  16. I guess I need to be beat with a wet noodle. I can’t seem to keep people out of the kitchen before hand — and then when the meal is finished it’s like everyone jumps up and starts doing the chore of cleaning up. It must be some sort of instinct. Maybe I need to start warning guests before they come.

  17. number 9 is a great reason to throw a party, if you have the space, have everyone bring someone new

  18. Karen E. says:

    I’ve read piles of entertainment how-to pieces, and I think this is one of the best little lists. So simple and to the point. Obviously you are very experienced. I’m wide open for dinner this weekend and next, by the way …

  19. Amoanda says:

    I too request what you did for the runner on the table?

    I think it’s a polite gesture for guests to offer up their help at the end of the evening. You can always so “no, I invited YOU over!”


Design*Sponge reserves the right to restrict comments that do not contribute constructively to the conversation at hand, contain profanity, personal attacks, hate speech or seek to promote a personal or unrelated business. Our goal is to create a safe space where everyone (commenters, subjects of posts and moderators) feels comfortable to speak. Please treat others the way you would like to be treated and be willing to take responsibility for the impact your words may have on others. Disagreement, differences of opinion and heated discussion are welcome, but comments that do not seek to have a mature and constructive dialogue will not be published. We moderate all comments with great care and do not delete any lightly. Please note that our team (writers, moderators and guests) deserve the same right to speak and respond as you do, and your comments may be responded to or disagreed with. These guidelines help us maintain a safe space and work toward our goal of connecting with and learning from each other.