Know Your Entertaining Style
One of the first things a novice learns about entertaining and how to make a party special is the importance of their own style. Your style affects your everyday choices, your lifestyle and your entertaining. In the related article “The Art of Entertaining”, style was defined as your expression, way of acting, style of living and individuality that distinguishes you from others. Style helps determine the type of party, the details like the party invitations and the atmosphere you provide your guests.
One of the first entertaining tips is to know your style and then entertaining becomes much easier because your style helps makes many of the decisions and gives you the needed confidence. Your style helps you decide on types of food, colors, table settings, music and the total atmosphere of the gathering.
Your style defines you and no one else. You may have a similar style to others in the likes and dislikes of certain things, but only you can define your own style. Look through any fashion, entertaining or house magazines and you will be drawn to certain images and articles more than others. You will just have more interest and more in common with certain types of things than others. Go shopping, not necessarily to buy, for a complete new table setting; table cloth, dishes, glasses, silverware and decorations. What colors, shapes and sizes do you prefer? Do you like the clean, design shape of modern flatware? Or the classic, architectural inspired patterns. Maybe you would prefer the floral and decorative themes. It is common for people to use parts of several styles to help define their own style.
Style is also more than material things, it is the intangibles that may be difficult to define but what really make you who you are. It is usually easier to show than to put into words.
Sometimes it helps to ask yourself why you like certain things. Maybe you like red roses but why? Is it the color red, the shape of the rose, the smell or just that the red rose has always been so traditional? Do you like the atmosphere at parties to be sophisticated, modern, casual, elegant, classic, common, conventional, established, formal, ncountry, the latest, ordinary, natural, highly organized or a mix of several styles? Here are a few basic styles you should be familiar with:
Country Style – The Country style is common but can vary in intensity to a point.There are some people that like their furniture made of tree limbs and rope but most do not. Country to most people means a relaxed, casual, comfortable, cozy and friendly environment. Country will use muted colors, milk-paint finishes and vintage fabrics.
Traditional Style– Traditional is something most all of us want and need to some extent. Traditional means conventional, establishedand classic. It may be the way your mother and grandmother did things, the way you know what works, a time honored tradition and having everything in its place.
Contemporary Style – Contemporary is more neutral, things blend together well.Contemporary styles eature softened and rounded lines, as opposed to the stark lines seen in modern design. Interiors contain neutral elements and bold color that focus on the basics of line, shape and form. Contemporary colors feature tone-on-tone color palettes relying heavily on brown, taupe, cream and pure white. Shots of color are sometimes found on one wall, in a striking floor rug or a special piece of art.
Casual Style – Casual is just that, easy going, ordinary, routine, no great attention to details, just your natural gathering. There will be soft upholstery, think comfort, and textured fabrics. Long horizontal lines underscore a casual look and add to a restful mood. Neutral colors like beige, tan, brown and gray are often used with some soft pastels.
Formal Style – Formal is the opposite of casual, it is highly organized, great attention to details anddress-up time. Formal style interiors are decorated to attract attentionand envy of others with the highly polished woods, glistening mirrors, luxurious and sensual fabrics, sparkling crystal chandeliers and highly polished brass. Furniture is often antique or fine reproductions. Woods used are generally dark and rich looking.
Chic Style – Chic is elegant, sharp, new, smart and faddish where you may want to be a little playful. Picture high heels, sexy women, handsome men, exotic cocktails and irresistible food.
Southwestern Style – Southwestern style can be explained by imagining a desert scene with all colors of the desert, the green of cactus, the red mountains of the Grand Canyon, and the Native American heritage that comes from the Arizona, New Mexico regions of the United States. Typical will be the furniture made from log pole and the use of rugged materials such as iron, stones and wood. The colors use peach and teal.
Some other styles can be Asian, Cottage, Eclectic, English Country, Mediterranean, Old World, Transitional and Tropical.
Very few people fit into only one style category. Most people will take parts of several styles and mix to match their personality. You can and should try new things, borrow something from another style and if it works, great. Always be open to learn and try some new things, to get out of the rut you may be in and add a little spice to your lifestyle. However everyone will have a foundation based upon one or more of the basic lifestyles. You already have your own style; you may just need to better understand it.And once you do, making decisions concerning home decorating, fashion, mactivities and entertaining will be easier.
For tips on entertaining, as a hostess you just need to know and understand your style.This will assist you in making the decisions from what type of gathering, the menu, the decorations and the overall atmosphere of the event. So the mission is to go with what you know, with what gives you confidence but also be adventurous at times.