As a child, I have memories embedded in my mind of my mom planning the perfect dinner party. She had that Martha Stewart style and her guests, including me, were mesmerized with her many talents. She would often enlist me to help her and that is when I cultivated a love of making things look beautiful too. I was fascinated with every little detail. My mom would set the table for the number of guests that were invited and would add an extra setting or two, just in case a guest brought a guest.
Party planning in our household was usually a themed one. If it was a holiday party, we had all of the trinkets, bouquets, stemware, tablecloths and china to make everything look festive. Even the napkin ring holder was cleverly themed. We would often make one if we could not find one to our liking and they were beautiful enough to be sold.
One of my fondest dinner party themes as a child was Halloween time. It was usually an hour of food and fun with my friends, cousins and their parents. The menu was usually pizza, chips and a salad. The table was the highlight. It was spooky, scary, festive and fun. In lieu of fresh flowers as the centerpiece, my mom had two large sized- battery-operated pumpkins and a scary witch’s hand with wrinkly green fingers and long purple nails. That hand made a spooky noise while it would crawl across the table. Of course it made my friends squeal in delight.
The table was adorned with plenty of plastic spiders in their fake webs and all things orange, black, green and white. On this occasion, my mom used paper plates, cups, themed paper napkins and plastic silverware. There was a method to her madness. Accidents happen and she wanted the kids to have fun and not worry about breakage and minimal cleanup for her. Then, right after eating, the dads would take us out to Trick or Treat in the neighborhood to get our candy loot but not before getting our already made candy themed bags filled with Halloween loot that my mom put together the night before.
Now, as an adult, I am carrying on the tradition. I still solicit my mom’s help. She has a keen eye for detail and I know she has all of the special little touches and tips she willingly shares with me. I recently had my own small dinner party. It was Memorial Day weekend and the table was adorned with everything red, white and blue. Even my plates were stars and stripes. It hardly cost anything for me to pull off planning the perfect dinner party. With the exception of buying the food and of course, fresh flowers, I already had the plates, napkin ring holders, a tablecloth and anything else I needed. My mom was generous enough to save a large container just for such an occasion and for that, I remain grateful.
Planning the perfect dinner party is even more special if you have family and friends to help share the festive occasion. Remember, you are creating memories for a lifetime. And, if you have children, they too, will get older and have their own party rituals. Perhaps re-create or even add their own special touches when planning their Martha Stewart idea of the perfect dinner party. Enjoy!