Naturally, we love entertaining… We don’t even need a good excuse – the fact that it’s just a regular old Tuesday evening will have us pulling out extra cloth napkins and polishing silver for a get together with the neighbors! But, when “real” holidays come around, well, we see that as cause for a true celebration. With Easter just a few weeks away, we’re getting into entertaining mode and planning out our day.
The key to throwing a fantastic celebration, and actually being able to enjoy it yourself, is all in the preparation. And, in our Step by Step Holiday Entertaining series, we’ll dish out all the details on how we plan and execute a successful soiree – starting with this Easter.
Before planning any holiday gathering, Jill pulls out her “Hostess Notebook;” yes, she’s seriously THE Hostess with the Mostess, keeping her own three ring binder with notes on past meals, dates, times, guests, gifts from guests, menus (including how much was served, and if it was enough or too much/little), how much wine/beer was served, what types, etc. Armed with this arsenal of information, Jill is able to look back at past Easter gatherings to consider how this year’s celebration will work.
Not only is Jill’s Hostess Notebook super informative, it also provides at least a few smiles as she looks back on past holiday gatherings and thinks about all of the family and friends who’ve gathered around the table to celebrate together.
Typically, Easter is a very traditional holiday in the McKenzie household, and, to be served on this holiday, an equally traditional menu:
- Sticking to the classics, a lamb dish will be the centerpiece of the meal.
- Serving a green vegetable, is a must.
- A nice, fresh salad is ideal for this time of year.
- A true southern favorite, deviled eggs, are another Easter essential.
Once those “building block” menu items have been set, Jill peruses favorite cooking sites, magazines and books for one or two new recipes to try.
*Bonus McKenzie Entertaining Tip – Keep holiday menus true to your family’s favorites, only adding one or two new dishes, which will offer a bit of an unexpected surprise and a unique variety.
Additional tips from steve mckenzie’s on setting the perfect Easter table:
- A table runner acts as a table-unifier; consider utilizing more than one, or even at alternative angles to create interest
- Add solid color napkins to your linen repertoire, they help to pull your table’s color scheme together
- Consider using, bold, solid color acrylic glasses (like the ones pictured above) to set the stage for a comfortable, relaxed meal
- Fun, colorful dinnerware will add a sense of whimsy and also work to bring your table theme together
- A solid color charger, such as the one from R.Wood Studio (pictured above) sets a firm base for the eye below that colorful dinnerware
Because R. Wood Studio pieces have become such an inspiration for us and our tablescapes, we want to make it even easier for you to be able to incorporate them into your Easter table setting as well… Mention this blog post for a 20% discount off all R. Wood Studio product between now and April 14th, 2014.
The next element of your Easter gathering you should consider is your guest list. Who will be around your Easter table this year? Since many of us don’t live near family, holidays can be made extra special by filling the seats in your dining room with friends. It’s through events like these where many of our friends have become family. And, since we have college-age and young-adult children, we put out an open invitation for our kids to invite anyone who isn’t going to be with their own family that day. It’s a great way for us to get to know who our children are spending their time with, and, just like the friends we’ve invited to celebrate the holidays, many of these young people have become like family. In fact, a few years ago, we made a very memorable Easter by teaching several young Jewish people how to dye eggs, thanks to our open-invite policy!
Now that you know who will be attending your holiday gathering, you can build your menu accordingly.
Another smart entertaining tip – we never turn down someone who offers to contribute to our celebratory meal. Suggest they bring specific items, such as bread or cookies; your guests will appreciate that you’ve provided a bit of guidance.
We hope we’ve inspired you to host an Easter celebration in your home this year – although planning a dinner party may seem overwhelming, if you itemize what needs to be done, and tick those items off your list as they’re completed, you’ll be ahead of the game, and in a good place to celebrate the holiday with some of the most important people in your life!
Keep an eye out for part two of our Easter “how to” holiday posts, where we’ll share details on what you should be working on – and how – in the days leading up to the soiree. And, finally, we’ll also share a post-holiday synopsis as part three in our Easter series, letting you know what worked best, what didn’t, and how we may be able to improve entertaining for this holiday in the future.