It's Monday, but I'm already thinking about my weekend entertaining. Who better to turn to for a lighthearted take on design and entertaining than my gal Dorothy- Draper, that is. Here's what she had to say on the subject of entertaining one guest (but I believe her suggestions would work for two or three guests as well).
*If the meal is to be dinner then do not serve this in the dining room where you and your guest are uncomfortably conscious of being just two people in a room arranged for a larger number. Instead, have a card table set up in the living room or on the porch.
This 48" square card table and cloth from Ballard Design might be slightly large for two, but for three or four it would be perfect.
*The menu should be short, simple, and simply delicious. Every dish should count.
A nice gratin is simple, and it can be elegant too, especially when served in an Ercuis Gratin Dish. I have two of these that I use for entertaining and I absolutely love them. (Try serving Ina Garten's Seafood Gratin in one.)
*Choose flowers that are small and fragrant- lilies of the valley, white daisies with six dark red roses, or sweet smelling freesia.
I actually don't agree with Dorothy because I think you should avoid fragrant flowers on your dining table. However, this Martha Stewart Lily Centerpiece is pretty for another area of your home, and it's on sale too.
*If you want to be really festive there is nothing that looks more enticing than a wine cooler filled with ice and a small bottle of champagne, sauterne, or chablis peeping out of this, waiting to be opened.
How about this...
chilling some of this? And forget about getting a small bottle per Dorothy's advice- unless you have to go to work the next day.
*Try a combination of a turquoise-blue linen cloth with flame-pink camellias, white china and candlesticks of clear glass.
One of these blue Sferra linen tablecloths might be nice (available at F&B Specialty Linen).
And this white Augarten Opus china, available from Owen Lawrence, would look great with table linen of any color. I would love to have that covered vegetable dish- how great is that?
*Perhaps you have picked up some blue Staffordshire or old Canton china plates.... Try these on a mustard-yellow cloth with a big bunch of bluets or purple violets.
I know this table is not set with a mustard yellow cloth, but I do think it's a pretty table nonetheless. (Table set by Mrs. Angier Biddle Duke)
And most importantly:
*The same rule of careful attention to the details, simplicity, and few courses (deliciously prepared and attractively served) applies to the small informal luncheons or dinners you give. Your friends will be quick to appreciate the fact that you have tried to give them a good time. Moreover, they'll have a good time, and so will you.
(Draper tips from Entertaining is Fun!: How to Be A Popular Hostess. Duke photo from The New Tiffany Table Settings)