Entertainment Tip: What Happened to Hannah
In What Happened To Hannah the heroine's idea of throwing a birthday party was to dump the whole thing in a party planner's lap and hope for the best.
When I entertain friends I clean and prep the day before. I do all the cooking myself -- because I'm a wee bit of a control freak -- the morning of the party. Later I set the food out, stand back and let my guests have at it ... because I'm pooped.
Neither approach is a helpful or clever tip for entertaining so I went to a woman who, in my circle of friends, is the guru of all things tasteful and well thought-out. Her name is Mary Blayney and the following are hersuggestions:
*Always have the bar -- with lots and lots of Sutter Home wine -- ready at least an hour before guests arrive. Then if you have early birds they can have a drink while you get the rest organized.
*Every buffet should be served from two sides of the table -- same with food stations.
*If you have a sit down dinner for 10 or more then you and the host should switch seats for dessert -- it gives you a chance to interact with more of the guests.
*If you want people to mingle do not have tables where guests can sit and eat. Once people sit, they rarely move.
*Send flowers after the party -- it's a hassle for the hostess to stop and find water for the flowers while she is setting things up.
*A good way to start a conversation with a stranger: "What do you do when you’re not at a cocktail party (or whatever the event is)?"
My tip? Ask Mary.