Ready for a dinner party? You will be after this read!
The table. It is a sacred space. In the midst of a fast-food-quick lane-express-amazon prime culture, the dining room table stands as an emblem. It says, “gather here”. The din of conversation, the outbursts of laughter, the tantalizing smells, and the stuffed bellies all culminate to create a delicious experience at some point in everyone’s life. In that space, a sort of magic exists. The warm, inviting atmosphere borders on intoxicating! Emily Wehner saw something even more unique in the gathering around a table. She recognized the potential for a business venture. We all have our favorite moments around the table, right? It may be eating your grandma’s chicken Paprikash, or nibbling on cheese while sipping a glass of wine with friends. What memories flood your mind? Meet, Emily! The queen of dinner party hosting. You will find her with a taco in one hand, and a camera in the other. Days that she is not running her creative empire of photography, design, and dinner party subscription fun, you will find her soaking up the rays at the pool relaxing with her family. Speaking of dinner party fun… Emily believes in the power of the Table. One of her favorite memories was in her senior year of college. Over 20 friends committed to spend Thanksgiving together. One of the guys dedicated three weeks to crafting the table they sat around. Invitations were mailed, and name tags penned. A collection went around for plates, silver wear, and cutlery. Despite the eclectic array of table wear, Emily worked hard to make it feel intentional. Everyone pitched in on the food, and a most memorable meal commenced. The table provides a foundation for memories. That meal, along with the best party she every threw- her wedding, (yes she dipped dyed 300 cloth napkins) ignited a desire within Emily to create more authentic spaces where the dinner bell would ring (just like it did when she was a little girl) and people would come to an intentional, warm space. Fast forward a bit in time, and The Gathering Table launched. We all have different emotions regarding the concept of hosting. Shannon, the main Editor of Bridging HerStory, finds it to be an art that is harder to master. As much as she values time with friends and family around the table, anxiety over what to serve, if there will be enough, and how the presentation is perceived, often keeps her from hosting. The Gathering Table offers the perfect solution! Rather than stressing over the planning and execution, order a box from The Gathering Table and rest knowing the details are covered!
Invitations? –Check! Place setting for 4 to 8? –Covered! If there is a detail necessary for hosting, it’s contained within The Gather Table box. There is even a grocery list outlining the food necessary for the recipes!! As the host, your biggest concern will be who to invite! If you yourself are creative and like to play around with the details, perhaps you can glean from Emily’s experience. Listen up as our expert shares some tips!
5 Important Tips for Hosting A Dinner Party
1. SEND SNAIL MAIL INVITATIONS: Who is with me? You check the mail… bills… ads.. junk..and then, in pops a sweetly lettered invitation. There is fun mail! Someone intentionally thought ahead to invite you personally and took the extra time to hand address it and send it straight to your doorstep! Let’s bring back the idea of the dinner party and throw it the old fashioned, but hopefully timeless way. (I sure hope our children will still get to experience getting fun snail mail right!?)
2. RECIPES?!!-USE REAL COOKBOOKS: Okay, maybe we are really bringing back the vintage vibes with real cookbooks and paper invites- but according to Emily, it’s the way to go! Her favorite is America’s Test Kitchen. It’s actually a textbook for a cooking class with step by step pictures detailing how to do things like whip eggs, or cut a certain part of a chicken correctly. Not an experience chef? This book actually shares everything that could go wrong with a recipe and how to fix it! Pretty great right!? Also, all the recipes, intentionally picked and themed around the season, are included in the subscription!
-Start with a white table cloth- it makes everything look better and classier.
-Grab some brass candlestick at Goodwill (they range in price but are generally 0.99-3.99 (I may have gone to 6 Goodwills in the past few weeks to get 30 of these for a shower!) and place white candlesticks in them. Hobby Lobby has a great deal on a pack of 24.
-Next add some greenery!! Emily’s choice (okay mine too- we are kinda like soul sisters!!) is Eucalyptus from Trader Joe’s- the ones with big leaves that lay flat ($2.99 a bundle). You can spread them around the base of the candle sticks, instead of vases so that everyone can see each other at the table and you can just place your plate right on top!
-Linen Napkins are the way to go!! Emily’s go to is Crate & Barrel or Anthropologie. Her style lends towards a more neutral palette so she likes to bring in a little pattern or color with these classy gems. You can even make your own! (I mean she made 300 for her wedding guests!) Buy fabric, cut it into squares, and iron them flat so the frayed edges are at the bottom. You don’t even have sew!! For an extra touch, try hand dipping the bottoms of the cloth squares in a color dye you like. Rinse. Hang to dry. And booom! (You can find tie-dye at Hobby Lobby)
-Chargers!!! They make everything look better and classier. You can find them for 50 cents to a dollar at Goodwill! Gold are the best!
-If you are going disposable- check out Meri Meri- one of her favorite brands for paper products! ORRRR order her Summer Box- literally the brightest, cutest products that will ensure you will be all set for your family BBQ. ALSO>>> She might be running 10% off her boxes right now!! :-)
-Lighting is so important! Light those candles, dim the lights. If you are outside definitely invest in some string lights. Costco has incredible deals (29.99) for a heavy duty indoor/outdoor light!
4. NAME CARDS ARE A MUST- How special is it when that person you aren’t sure remembers you, looks you in the eye and says your name? You bestow honor on that person. Name cards show guests that they have been thought of specifically before the event even begins. They have a seat at the table. It also relieves anxiety for people wondering who will sit next to them, or if there is room. A name card shows them that they were meant to be at the party, that there is a specific room just for them at the table.
5. SERVE IT FAMILY STYLE- This makes it feel like you are all sharing and a part of the same experience. You have to talk because you are asking things to be passed and it serves as a natural way to stir conversation so strangers quickly become friends!
Fourth of July is right around the corner! If you were debating whether or not to host the family/friend get together, ponder no more! Order the Summer box and get those invites out! Maybe you already have a gathering planned. Jackpot! You can now upgrade your party to amazing with all of Emily’s advice! Happy Hosting!!!