YOU are entering into an oasis of pure revery and comfort… your five senses are sublimely heightened as you begin sauntering through this magical and animated dining room… The lovely banqueting table, set for eight, is dressed with scintillating textures and sophisticated dinnerware , in a mixture of quill, yet stirring shades, with personalized place cards, creatively tucked into Lilliputian, shimmering silver teapots, creating a phenomenally welcoming ambiance for an enchanted evening, shared with guests.
The beautifully bedecked, light oak dining table, embellished with a crisp, white Batten-burg lace, linen cloth and formal napkins, provides the perfect backdrop for the elaborate vintage silver candelabra , boastfully holding five lit, red taper candles with an inspiring arrangement of while lilies, soft babies-breath and red roses … Competing for your attention is the antiquated, heirloom silverware, and the glistening Waterford crystal framing each Lenox china dinner plate…
The aroma of fresh ginger, cinnamon, tart apples and nutmeg fills the room as a scrumptious dutch apple pie is baking in the oven…Soft melodic tunes fill the room with a soothing, joyous calmness…Is that Michael Buble singing?
The room has a magical, elfin glow…Every tabletop alight with romantic tea light candles and enlivened votive’s, amidst a cozy fire burning in the hearth… SUDDENLY, YOU WAKE UP, realizing this resplendent vision was only but a dream… What are you feeling right now?
Are you in 7th heaven, thinking of an occasion to celebrate, so you can invite a few friends over and create an awe-inspiring , magical dinner party? Are you looking for a pen and paper, so you can begin planning your menu, guest list and motif for your blithesome event? OR…Do you feel as if you have just had a BAD nightmare, are beginning to sweat profusely , and are eminently relieved when you remind yourself…It is not real… “We are not having a house full of dinner guests… it was just a dream.” 🙂
I have a handful of close friends, (men and women,) who absolutely adore hosting parties, entertaining and blessing others with their special niche of hospitality…and I also know plenty of people who would rather go to the dentist and get a cavity filled , than attend or be a part of hosting a festive event at their home… 🙂
I was surprised to read in the New York Times, that the “dinner party” amongst the wealthy , socialite community, is now becoming extinct! (Not quite sure why,) but I felt a bit wistful as I began the article…I don’t think it was because of all the expense these people go to , or their decadent menus and extravagant decor, (or even their intriguing, galvanizing guests lists,) but because dinner parties, (or any type of a gathering surrounded by delicious food,) brings forth such a wondrous opportunity for people to meet and mingle. Many a great friendship has begun from a social gathering as well as memories that last a life time. Recollections filled with an abundance of laughter, excellent cuisine, fabulous conversations and exhilarating entertainment. It’s hard to understand as for myself, hosting a fete within our home is something I have never fallen out of love with…My husband tells me I “look” for an occasion, (a holiday, birthday, a new season or even a small victory) to throw a shindig in our little haven 🙂 (And both of us still love going to gatherings at our friends homes.)
I have always felt that hosting a gala at our home is a way of expressing our love towards our family or friends…I liken it to a large box, beautifully wrapped… Inside of this box is a medley of enjoyment, pampering, regale, enchantment, bliss, laughter, a little recreation, camaraderie and a splendid diversion from the hectic days of the work week that so many of us need…
Whenever I go to a ladies luncheon, an afternoon Tea, birthday celebration or dinner at a friends, I am eminently blessed by all the “special touches,” the hosts have gone out of their way to create for us, their guests. Whether it is the charming, beautiful and warm ambiance, the scrumptious menu, the party favors they have so thoughtfully chosen or the cordiality and rapport between friends… I hate for the gathering to come to an end.
If you are one that loves to entertain, (or loves being entertained,) 🙂 is there a certain ‘celebratory event’ that is at the top of of your list? Perhaps one that is your least adored to host or attend? 🙂 There are so many special moments in life to CELEBRATE! I love them all…
A Baby shower I think out of all the jubilant events within our lives, a new life and ‘longed for’ arrival, has to be one of the greatest reasons to PARTY! Give your “new mom to be” the center spotlight in your home, pampering her with an abundance of attention, felicitous games, delicious foods and a spectacular cake, to end all cakes… Decorating with a rainbow of pastel colors and the splendorous motif of BABIES would be so much fun!
CELEBRATE ACHIEVEMENT. Whether from Preschool, Elementary school, High school or College… What a wonderful time of merriment for your GRADUATE! Perhaps a big bash with a large crowd and a DJ, or a small gathering with their favorite dance music, friends and family…they won’t remember the SIZE of the party… only the honor, attention and love. Give them the acclaim and acknowledgement they deserve while adding a few more “Kodak moments” to their scrapbook of life. 🙂
Light up the grill, turn your outside stereo speakers on high, put on the steaks, burgers, brats-worth and corn on the cob… play some touch football , throw a few frisbee’s. After dinner, enjoy telling a few (not to scary) ghost stories around the bonfire… What is more relaxing, and enjoyable than a savory meal from the grill and being outdoors with your best friends?
There is nothing quite like celebrating friendship with our girlfriends, than gathering for an afternoon tea. A few hours of delicious cuisine, sweet confections, herbal teas, (coffee too) 🙂 and ‘much needed,’ pampering for the soul. Whether inside , during the wintry months, (a Christmas theme is divine,) or outdoors, amidst the spring blooms, blue sky and bright sunshine, an afternoon tea is one of my favorite parties to create and host.
A traditional Christmas drop in for your close friends and family… Does it get any better than this? The magic of Christmas really does do all the work, as your home is beautifully decked out for the glorious season with its stellar and alluring ambiance. Everyone is already feeling an abundance of mirth, joy and festivity…sharing delicious cookie recipes, freshly made eggnog and kisses under the mistletoe. 🙂 I think its safe to say, it is one of all of our “all time favorite occasions” to celebrate within our home.
Perhaps your love for suspense, intrigue, and “drama~drama” inspires you to host a Murder Mystery Dinner for your close friends and family! Setting the stage is exciting, choosing the plot is euphoric and everyone playing their part amidst delicious cuisine, and festive snacks, is something you can’t wait to do each year…
A Bridal shower for your best friend? Another honor… Marriage is at the top of my list for a jubilant celebration! Surround the “bride to be” with a kaleidoscope of charismatic color, sweet indulgences, exciting games, gifts and an elegant, (to beautiful to cut into,) cake for her parties Grand Finale. 🙂
How about a romantic dinner for those few “couple friends” that you and your mate are so blessed to have in your life. Bestow each guest with a stellar meal, candlelight, romantic music and create an evening they will never forget. (How about sharing how you all met your mate and the “moment” you knew you were in love with them. 😉
There is always that relished moment, when your phone rings and it is one of your close siblings or a dear friend from your youth? They have never been to your part of the country and want to come and stay for a few days?
Before you begin envisioning your “If only for one night” dream dinner, lets look at a few thoughts from a diversity of people on “celebrating delicious food, good friends and convivial spirit.”
THE DISTINGUISHED QUOTE CORNER
“The ornaments of your house will be the guests who frequent it. “ ~Author Unknown
“Hospitality is making your guests feel at home, even if you wish they were. ” ~Author Unknown
- “If I were invited to a dinner party with my characters, I wouldn’t show up.”
– Dr. Seuss
- “I try to greet my friends with a drink in my hand, a warm smile on my face, and great music in the background, because that’s what gets a dinner party off to a fun start.” ~ Ina Garten
- “At a formal dinner party, the person nearest death should always be seated closest to the bathroom.” ~ George Carlin
- “That’s the secret of entertaining. You
- make your guests feel welcome and at home. If you do that honestly, the rest takes care of itself.” ~ Barbara Hall
- “I can get a better grasp of what is going on in the world from one good Washington dinner party, than from all the background information NBC piles on my desk.” ~ Barbara Walters
- “My doctor told me I had to stop throwing intimate dinners for four unless there are three other people.” ~ Orson Welles
- “If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” — J.R.R. Tolkien, author of the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
“There is no sincerer love than the love of food.”~ George Bernard Shaw
“If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with him… the people who give you their food give you their heart.”~ Cesar Chavez
For your “IF only for one night” dream dinner , are you a person who loves to create a formal atmosphere, really “Putin-on-the-Ritz,” for your guests, using your fine china, silver, crystal and finding just the right centerpiece with an elaborate pizzazz?
Or, are you more of a “casual” person, favoring simplicity, home cooking, a cozy , warm and welcoming ambiance?
What would your “eye catching” centerpiece be on your dining Table?
A colorful, fetching, elaborate, formal centerpiece or something very easy on the eyes, simple and casual? Or perhaps you may choose your centerpiece to be a medley of glistening candles, creating a simple, ethereal table. Here are few ideas for both formal as well as casual, seasonal centerpieces for your table-scape.
For the magical season of WINTER…
Spring is in the air with these two elegant and classy, diverse table-scape ideas.
Summer has never looked more inviting… Its a great time to celebrate with ambrosial food, festive drinks amongst wonderful people.
Autumns vibrant colors of nature provide ample ideas for your festive gathering’s table!
What would you serve? Would you have it catered? Hire a professional chef for the evening? Cook your favorite recipes for your guests? Would it be a Buffet style or formal , sit down or a 5 course meal? How about wine or hordevoires?
What is your ideal “dinner music?” Country Western? Pop? R&B? Symphony music, flute and guitar? Perhaps you adore Opera, Piano tunes, romantic melodies or the magical sounds of Mannheim Steamroller… You can always create a playlist for when your guests are arriving, (with a medley of artists,) and choose a softer dinner music while dining.
What would you serve for dessert?
Something fancy, delectable and memorable, like Bananas Foster, chocolate suicide cake, chocolate mousse with fresh red raspberry’s, or scrumptious coconut carrot cake? You can never go wrong with freshly baked hot apple pie, a la mode, fresh berries with whipped cream, cheesecake and strawberries or or a good, old fashioned, American favorite, a hot fudge sundae.
IMHO….You have got to have some candle light going on…a few taper or column candles, votive’s and tea lights to create a warm, convivial spirit.. and at least one soft scented Yankee candle,(or another brand you enjoy,) to give your home a delicious fragrance, all night long..
Have you decided what your Party Favor gift would be at each guests table setting? It can be the smallest thing, to the grandest gift that is within your heart to give them… How would you wrap it?
I decided to interview a few special people in my life with this same challenge I am giving to you, (as well as myself.) Our “If only for one night” dream dinner…They all surprised me with things I never knew about them, (especially with who their top five would be.) I started thinking, this challenge would be a great “Icebreaker” at any party to get to know your guests better. 🙂
I know when I envisioned and created my “If only for one night,” will-o-the-wisp, It was like a dream.. I envisioned what it would feel like, as each guest arrived and entered into our home. How special it would feel to get to meet 5 people I admire and have received so much joy and smiles from. Even though it is through our television, my computer, the radio or the Big Screen, these five people have brought my life an abundance of heartfelt emotions, richness, inspiration, enjoyment and of course LAUGHTER! Getting to meet them in person and share a meal and evening together was a great “Chimera”… I felt excited, feeling that I could actually bless them, by giving them something no one else could…my cooking, our home embellished with festive colors, warmth and enchantment as well as sharing how much each of them have touched my life through their amazing talents and giving hearts. I chose each one of them for a specific reason… It truly was a lot of fun. Some of the people I interviewed asked me; “Susan, can I have more than five guests? Can I do it twice? (They couldn’t decide who they would ask, with a choice of only five and enjoyed the challenge of creating their “If only for one night” dream evening.” 🙂
Lets take a look at a what a few special people, ( with diverse backgrounds,) chose for there “If only for one night” dinner or gala…(as it can be whatever you imagine it to be…)
#1. Patrick, an incredible high school Counselor who lives on the coast, in Southern California.
“MY Five dinner guest would be: Brad Pitt, Diane Ravitch, Meryl Streep, Anderson Cooper and Bill Gates. My interest is about Education.”
I choose these particular five guests, BECAUSE: ( IN ORDER of photos) Brad Pitt has a great heart and has a lot of influence in the Media. Diane Ravitch is very well known in the field of Education and has studied trends in this particular field and she’s leaning toward public schools…although at one time, she was an advocate for charter schools. Meryl Streep is just a person I really like. Anderson Cooper has an investigative mind and influence in the news world. Bill Gates has the money to finance ideas and he’s leaning toward charter schools.
Broiled scallops wrapped in figs or bacon as an appetizer, a fresh made tomato soup from a local restaurant, (that I love), broiled salmon in a mustard-dill sauce with asparagus lightly broiled with garlic, and a creme Brulee for dessert, that has a hint of lavender. Fresh roasted bean coffee would be served in the living room by the fireplace with dessert. Wine served upon request.
MY AMBIANCE AND TABLE-SCAPE.
My patina would be a bit on the formal side. I would use my formal china along with red taper candles. My Table would be set with a white lace linen from Slovenia, linen napkins, crystal Waterford candle holders, Wedgwood china, crystal water and wine glasses.
I WOULD WEAR something casual and comfortable, my khakis and a nice, light yellow sweater, made out of a soft wool. IN MY HOME…no one can wear any shoes. 🙂
MY DINNER MUSIC?
The melodic music of Eva Cassidy as well as Contemporary Jazz music and Jazz singers.
My special gift to each guest would be a book of poetry or the book , “The smartest kids in the world.” Maybe a different book for each guest.
#2. KIT! A great Website designer who lives in Delaware 🙂
“My top five would be: Tom Clancy, Bill Cosby, Condoleezza Rice, Mrs. Ronald Regan and Justin Timberlake.”
I chose these dinner guests BECAUSE: Author Tom Clancy has such a wonderful background, has done an abundance of research and has a very interesting story to tell. Bill Cosby is extremely intelligent with such a diverse background. I would love to hear about his insights on people, his life and the world. Condoleezza Rice is a strong woman who has survived in the political world. She has a great perspective on the government, our leaders and other countries. Mrs. Regan is a woman who has served at a high level in politics, has a great perspective about the TRUTHS that have taken place in our country as well as the truth about what is happening in our country today. Justin Timberlake is very down to earth in his approach to respecting people, extremely intelligent and talented on many levels and doesn’t act like he’s rich and famous.
I would serve Coho salmon, steamed in a white wine and dill sauce, served over brown rice with sweet peas, steamed asparagus with Hollandaise sauce, and for dessert, a flour-less chocolate tart with fresh strawberries.
MY AMBIANCEwould be very casual…with a autumn motif, our blue and white china, water glasses, a medley of fall, linen napkins, and a few candles. Very simple.
I WOULD WEAR my black jeans with a long sleeve shirt, very comfortable and relaxed.
“There’s going to be some changes made” DVD with Bruce Hornsby and friends.
Lastly, my gift to each guest? A very nice picture frame. I would bring out my camera that takes instant photos..I would ask each of my guest to have a photo taken with me…and ask each of them to sign their name… They would each take home a photo of themselves with me, and I would have 5 treasured photos of myself with each guest. Great memories to last a life time of this special and memorable evening.
#3 Ellie. A beautiful lady, happily living in Delaware after a fascinating career at the Patton office in Washington DC.
“MY GUESTS OF HONOR WOULD BE, Charles Krauthammer , George W. Bush, Reverend Billy Graham, Ben Carson and Donald Trump.”
Charles Krauthammer, (famous on Fox news,) holds many degrees and is greatly studied in Politics.I admire and respect his opinions and think he is awesome. George W. Bush is just a very classy man! Reverend Billy Graham I have always looked up to him as a true Christian who loves the Lord. Ben Carson, is the top Brain Surgeon at Jon Hopkins in Baltimore. His life story is amazing. His mother is his hero. He came from a poor family and his mother brought him up with love and taught him that just because your poor does not mean you will fail in life. Donald Trump, I would ask him what stock to buy. 🙂
I would serve a traditional American meal. Roast beef, mashed potatoes, green beans, rolls and salad with cheesecake for desert. Coffee and wine upon request.
I would like to set a casual table but elegant too. A beautiful linen table cloth with matching napkins, water and wine glasses as well as a baronial service plate. For my centerpiece, I would chose a colorful, welcoming fresh flower arrangement that is the perfect height, (not to tall) so we can all see one another across the table. 🙂
I would wear a long sleeved, black dress with stockings and a pair of low heels, accented with just a touch of gold jewelry.
Nothing with a vocalist, just quiet, calming music, maybe a CD of piano music, bass and violin.
It would be something with the names of the guest’s and the date, maybe a gold key chain.
Gin. A lovely, creative, artistic lady who lives in the Midwest.
MY FIVE SPECIAL GUESTS? Reverend Billy Graham, Presidents; Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, Bill Clinton and George Bush SR.
Billy Graham has counseled all of the presidents of The United States and would have a great input on what is happening in our country today. I would invite the four previous presidents, Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, Bill Clinton and George Bush SR. to have an informative discussion, ( with their much appreciated opinions) on where we are at now as a country , the White House, economy and foreign policy.
For my guests appetizer, I would serve a homemade Oxtail soup with sour cream. For dinner, Beef Stroganoff, A Bib lettuce salad with mushrooms, orange slices and almonds, with a sweet vinaigrette, along with hot croissants and butter. I would serve either a nice bottle of Merlot or a rich, red Zinfandel. For dessert , a chocolate mousse cake with an amaretto sour cream sauce, served with champagne or a glass of sherry.
My patina would be formal. An Irish linen table cloth with napkins, my Crown Emerald Green China, green crystal goblets, tall, white taper candles, a flower arrangement of blush pink roses with white iris’s, and champagne and sherry glasses for each guests choice of an after dinner drink with dessert.
I WOULD WEAR a cashmere sweater with a long black skirt.
George Winston Piano melodies… soothing and enchanting.
Each guest would receive a different, beautifully photographed, coffee-table book about the White House.
My top five… Patrick, Cheryl, Ellie, and Susan and Kit. (We are “celebrities” in his eyes.) 🙂
I would ask these special guests to my dinner party because Patrick ‘actually gets down on the floor and plays with me for longer than 10 minutes.’ Cheryl , when she spent the night, stays awake with me in the middle of the night, talks to me and pets me…(so I don’t feel lonely, when Kit and Susan are sleeping.) Ellie, because she always gives me treats…ham bones, beef bones, bacon strips, “you name it.” …and last but not least, Susan and Kit because THEY ARE MY HEART & HOME!
Grilled Porter house steaks for everyone, but I get ALL the bones!
I’m easy… just throw a red check table cloth on the floor, we’ll use dad’s china plates and for my centerpiece, a bright, fire engine red, (highlighted with white rawhide bones,) doggy biscuit holder.
I AM WEARING my fur coat as my red sweater is way to small for me now!
My Dinner music?
Its always a toss up between my two favorite CD’s…maybe everyone will stay long enough for me to play both!
MY parting Gift?
I would give each of my guests a choice of something special to remember me buy. 🙂
Susan… The blog writer… who is hoping that you are enjoying this ” IF, Only for one night,” vignette. 🙂
My Five guests would be, T.D Jakes, Justin Timberlake, (No I did not copy Kit,) Tyler Perry, (and he can come as Medea if he would like to,) Usher and Denzel Washington.
I would invite T.D. Jakes for his beautiful spirit and love for the Lord, (as well as his keeping Justin and Usher in line,) 🙂 (Just joshing.) Justin Timberlake because he is funny, exceedingly talented and a GREAT dancer and musician. (I secretly hope he and Usher will sing a few duets and teach us some great dance steps after dinner.) Tyler Perry / Medea because I think he is a brilliant man, producer, actor and is tremendously entertaining, as well as hilarious. In hearing about his challenging life as a child and witnessing what he has done with his life, I am very impressed and inspired! Usher, because he too is a great singer, dancer and has a big heart. He seems to be a genuinely NICE person, (in watching him as a judge on The Voice.) Lastly, My all time favorite actor is Denzel...his biography is endless and I would love to hear about all the people he has met and worked with as well as his views on life.
I would serve my BBQ pulled pork nachos for an appetizer…For the entree, A Caesar salad, Prime Rib (Medium rare) with creamy horseradish sauce, baked potato, asparagus and hollandaise sauce, pumpernickel bread with fresh butter (stars) 🙂 and homemade coconut carrot cake for dessert with coffee. Wine upon request!
I would serve a formal dinner with my antique china, lace tablecloth, crystal water and wine glasses, if any of my guests would like a glass of wine, candle light everywhere, 🙂 and dessert and coffee served in the living room, (where Justin and Usher will be entertaining us, (and maybe Medea too) 🙂
I would wear my long black velvet dress with black pumps, pearl earrings and necklace to match.
Dinner music? While everyone is arriving and we are having appetizers, I’d have a play-list on with a little Bebe Winan gospel-contemporary Christian music, and Justin and Usher, (clean) tunes playing…while we are dining, I’d switch to Victoria Secrets London symphony orchestra melodic CD..
A digital camera.. I would place their gift on their salad plate and have everyone open it at the same time…(I would have my own camera already out…) and invite everyone to take as many photos as they want during the evening…(I know I will be a camera hog the entire night.) 🙂 Its true what they say… “A picture says a thousand words and the memories it brings, lasts a lifetime.”
I hope you have enjoyed spending some time thinking about what your evening would be like with the famous and renowned people you chose to invite… Did it surprise you at all when you decided who your top five would be? Did your choices surprise others? It definitely gives you an insight into your life as well as reveals what you are interested in, during this season of your life. (Politics? Americas’ future? Input on where Education is going within our country? A hunger for knowledge in areas of interest within your life from someone who is an expertise ? A desire to learn more about human nature, ones travels and experiences? Or perhaps, to just be entertained, laugh abundantly and dance? 🙂
My last challenge to you… Keep the dinner you have planned for your five renowned celebrities within your heart. ( All of the decor ideas, presentation, menu, music, lighting, gifts,) and invite Five of your favorite people in this entire world, and bestow upon them the very same evening… If some of your favorite people live out of state, plan the party for next year , or better yet, Christmas 2014…give them time to save up for their airfare, or long road trip. 🙂 Take some time to plan who those five people would be… after all, they are the real stars of your life:) (Sounds corny, I know, but you know its true!) 🙂
And always keep dreaming , for our dreams really can and often do, come true. 🙂
PHOTOGRAPHS: In placing your computer mouse upon any of the photos or graphics, it will display where the picture originated from.