In the fast-paced world we live in, it seems a whole lot easier to take shortcuts than to do things the old-fashioned, slow, stop-and-smell-the-roses way: to buy the pie instead of making it from scratch, to shoot off an email instead of penning a handwritten note. But when it comes to playing hostess, it’s important to slow down, make Grandmother proud, and take time to do things the old-fashioned way. Here, we’ve rounded up 3 winning, old-school approaches to entertaining that are here to stay—and for good reason.
1. Bring out the silver (and the good china…and the linens).
Sure, it’s tempting to save yourself the polish-and-shine time, but unless you’re hosting a backyard barbecue, skip the plasticware and set the table with your “special occasion” silver, the wedding china you’ve been stowing away in the dining room hutch, and your mama’s hand-me-down linens. Twirling up the table is a thoughtful way to make your guests feel celebrated and to make even the most ordinary Sunday night supper feel special. Besides, what’s the point of having all of that china if you only use it once a year?
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2. Decorate with clippings from the backyard.
Before shipping innovations meant that you could scoop up an armful of peonies or tulips at the neighborhood grocery, hostesses relied on whatever was growing in their own yards to craft their tabletop centerpieces. Add a natural element to your tablescape (and save money!), by decorating with greenery and blossoms from your own yard. Fill hurricane vases with magnolia leaves, or something similar, for a green centerpiece, or place camellias in a crystal bowl for a delightfully bright focal point. If you’re not feeling especially crafty, start with an arrangement from Publix or Trader Joe’s and then fluff it up by layering in fresh-cut greenery from your backyard.
3. Send out a traditional invitation.
There’s nothing more fun than discovering a pretty invitation in the mail amidst the utility bills and catalogues. Do your guests a favor and spring for paper invites rather than an e-vite or a quick text. This more formal approach to invitations also sets the tone for the get-together itself: Encourage guests to stow phones away—no matter how tempted they are to snap shots of the festivities for their Instagram followers. After all, parties are for being together and enjoying each other’s company. There’s plenty of time to scroll through Facebook later!