19 Nov Having a Sagacious Ladies Party
Back when my grandmother and my mother-in-law entertained, things were a lot more formal. I realize that today women rarely wear crisp party dresses, heels and updos to entertain and socialize with friends. But during the holidays I think it’s lovely to put in a tad more effort and plan something a little special for the people that we love.
It’s wonderful to be able to make some things ourselves whenever possible. I personally am a very good cook, but I just don’t have the time to do it on a regular basis. So, whenever the holidays arrive, I like to take the time and effort to and make special meals to let my family know how much I care. Anything that you pour love, time and attention into is deeply appreciated by the people who are blessed enough to share it with you. Think of proper party planning like the layers of a great dessert. One layer by itself is kind of bland but when you join several together it becomes something rich and delicious.
Whether you are planning an intimate meal for two or a large fellowship for many. If it’s a fun time with the girls or your particular social group there are somethings to do ahead that can make any party extra special.
- Always start from a clean slate: make sure the house is clean from top to bottom. If it’s possible to hire extra help with the housecleaning now would be the time. Its best if you or your helpers can get it done as close to the date of your event as possible. Nothing can ruin a party’s shine like an unkept interior.
- Never underestimate the power of fresh flowers and candles: have flowers in a few of the rooms and light a candle or two in the bathrooms. The long burning kind to add a layer of fragrance and grandeur. I don’t recommend tall flowers at the actual dinner table as those can make conversation between guests rather difficult.
- Cook most of the food in advance and have it ready to serve on time. Either that or have it catered (much easier). What you want to avoid is preparing, cutting, tossing and still whipping up things while guests are in the house. You need to be a gracious and present host as well as being able to enjoy the party with them.
- Make sure you are aware of special dietary restrictions of your guests: know ahead of time who is Vegan or who doesn’t eat this or that. Make sure everyone feels attended to. If someone has a peanut allergy don’t have bowls of nuts displayed or any kind of nut-based dessert. Even if they don’t eat it the mere presence can ruin their night.
- Plan out the flow of your party: meaning think about what they will do from the time that they arrive until they leave. While you don’t have to make the event militaristic you should have an idea of how the event will unfold so guests are occupied and enjoying their time at your house. Make yourself a fluid time chart for instance say; arrival time is 7 pm and you will have appetizers and a welcome punch in the front room (Sagacious Ladies call this their parlor)! Then at 7:30, you can show everyone where they will be seated or which way the buffet line will flow. After dinner, you may have everyone go into a different room for some music or a few fun games like charades. The guests should not see your flow chart, but you can make one to keep yourself on point.
Did anyone see that episode of I love Lucy where she planned a dinner party for Ricky’s boss that was so regimented no one actually had time to ate? Well, we don’t want that to happen, lol!!
- Make a music play list: Use music to set the mood with appropriate tunes throughout the night. Music that is upbeat but still able to allow conversation. Maybe some Motown, Harry Connick Jr. or Diana Ross, the classics are always safe, and they are always crowd pleasers. Maybe some Jazz later on for dessert. Never anything distasteful, edgy, or overly loud and disruptive. I am also a big fan of Broadway soundtracks and instrumental piano music. And by all means, if it’s a Christmas party break out the Nat King Cole.
Of course, if you have a piano at home and you play, nothing is better than a sing along or a short concert after dinner with coffee. Sometimes I hire a piano player for an hour or two. If you need a reference just ask at church. Someone always knows a musician that can play well and will do it reasonably. Just know that if the music is dragging or inappropriate everything else will go down with it.
- When you get ready to bless the food, make sure that whoever prays understands that this is not the time to rain down fire from heaven but rather be prepared to do a quick and respectful prayer maybe asking to bless every guest and special friend then come to a close while the soup is still hot!!
- Guide the table conversation: remember that as the host you are making sure that you (or you and your spouse) understand that conversation in a Sagacious household should always steer clear of politics, religion and weight. There I said it! Now of course how strictly you stay away from these subjects depends on how close you are to your guests. If everyone thinks and believes the same way it may be ok but these days peoples’ opinions can vary widely and if you are entertaining a variety of diverse guests from different ideologies and backgrounds adhering to this old adage can really keep you in the safe zone.
It also helps if you think about what guests interact best with others and whenever possible try to avoid inviting volatile friends and family together at the same time.
There are so many ways to make a party memorable. Maybe choose to have the dessert first. Or make all the courses start with a certain letter of the alphabet. Or make the dinner progressive and share segments of the meal with other friends or relatives within close driving range. Whatever you decide these simple tips will help you achieve the kind of parties that Sagacious Ladies are known for. Someone that knows how to make any events memorable for the people that they love.