Yesterday I shared the table photos from the Thanksfeast celebration that was held at my house. I have to admit, the table was my favorite part but there were a few more spots that the color schemed was worked into as well. The fireplace mantel served as a nice backdrop for the appetizers (VERY light appetizers since we are pretty serious about the FEAST in Thanksfeast) and another table was set up as the bar. Because these were key areas, it made sense to make sure they followed the theme of the evening.

thanksfeast1


The bar table filled out a little more after the wine was added and the punchbowl was filled. For the signature drink this year, I used a recipe for Holiday Punch. When I made the ice ring, I included some orange slices in the ice as well. The punch is citrusy with a little bit of grapefruit taste, sweet and refreshing. It was definitely a hit but probably best used as a pre-dinner drink. It is probably a little too sweet and tart to really enhance a meal. I did cut the recipe below in half because most of our guests prefer beer and wine. There was just a little leftover – always know your audience!

HOLIDAY PUNCH
Ingredients:
• 5 cups orange juice
• 4 lemon slices
• 4 orange slices
• 4 cups gin
• 2 oz grenadine
• 1/2 cup curaçao
• 1-1/2 cups lemon juice
• 1 litre of lemon-lime soda
Mixing instructions:
Pour chilled gin, curaçao, fruit juices, and grenadine into a punch bowl with a cake of ice. Stir well, add soda, and stir again gently. Garnish with fruit slices.

While I had entirely too much fun putting everything together, the best part was having wonderful friends come to our home and share some time with us. The next time you’re thinking about a party or event, contact Socialize to help put everything together and help during the event so you have more time to share with your friends and family and enjoy the festivities!

My husband, friends and I wrapped up another Thanksfeast a couple weeks ago.  Although there’s always a little chaos when we’re trying to get all the hot food on the buffet, it was great fun. I think all 20 people could say they had a great time!

I mentioned here that my tablescape inspiration was based on the Thanksgiving table that Eddie Ross created for Lonny.

The inspiration from Eddie Ross

Just gorgeous, right? With 20 people coming I knew I wouldn’t have the budget for the kind of china and stemware used as place settings. I also wasn’t about to change my light fixture out for the party. (I would have liked to but I didn’t have a magazine fund to work with!) Admittedly, I am not an event designer I am much better at making sure everything goes off without a hitch and guests go home thrilled by their experience. But designing is something I enjoy and like to try my hand at for my own parties. So after a lot of fabric store hunting, Goodwill scouring and a little spray painting, here is what I came up with:


table

Thanksfeast table2

I love our dining room table so I didn’t want to cover it up so I created a runner instead. I don’t even want to tell you how much time I spent searching for fabric that I thought would work well! There was also a hunt for cobalt blue vases and gold candlesticks. Most of the rest of the supplies were already stored on my party shelves but I did happen upon the peacocks by accident – I think they’re a nice addition.

This table was actually done before the party. Because there were 20 people attending, a few tables had to be added on so I made a duplicate tablescape for the second half of the group. There were a couple more places that the color scheme was used. Tomorrow I’ll show you those and share the recipe for the signature cocktail that was served!

One of the most potentially frustrating parts of planning any event with a meal can be assigning seats. Why bother? Whether it’s a party of 10 or 200 you want everyone to enjoy themselves and their experience with other guests is key to whether or not that happens.

First and foremost, you want to avoid awkward situations; so politics always play a role in who goes where. Although this can cause some I-want-to-pull-my-hair-out moments; it’s easier to work with it than fight it.
I like to plan seating assignments by creating an Excel spreadsheet like the one below. The spreadsheet makes it easy to move names around and can be broken down to give you a better visual.


List all of your guests in the first column and head the other columns with your tables. Start by filling in your hosts and special guests. Then, highlight the guests with “special requirements” (like not sitting next to other certain guests) and place those first.

But how do you mix in the rest of your guests? The always helpful, RealSimple.com, has a great article that breaks down personality types like The Diva, The Introvert, The Gossip Fodder and The Charmer and how they mix at the dinner table. This is a great tool to help you get started. Add a column to your spreadsheet and assign personalities to as many guests as possible (don’t forget to assign them to your special guests, even if their seats are determined – this will help you fill in their tables).

Assigned seating isn’t just for formal dinners either. If you’re holding a more relaxed event, Preston Bailey has a few ideas to keep dinner seating fun and fresh:

  • Leave a chair open at each table for the host (and/or hostess) to visit with their guests (This works best for smaller events. If the event involves over 200 guests, 20 tables is a lot to visit.)
  • Try having guests move to different tables for dessert and coffee to encourage mixing groups.
  • I also prefer to assign tables not seats. I find this to be more organic (and less controlling).

Throughout those pull-your-hair-out moments, keep in mind that it can be uncomfortable to walk into a dinner and hunt for a seat if you don’t know many of the guests. Although it may be a slightly painful experience for you, assigned seating will create a more enjoyable experience for your guests.