Finding the perfect property can be about more than just an incredible holiday. From weddings and celebrations to corporate retreats and film locations, in our monthly editorial Host with the Most we take a look at destination event planning in some of the most breath taking locations and properties worldwide.
This month, we speak to Total Management’s Director of Events, Francesca Lewis, who gives us the essential tips for entertaining at your home AWAY from home.
The Perfect Setting
Whether you are celebrating a birthday, anniversary, Christmas, or simply just throwing a party for the fun of it, the key ingredient is picking the right location. The stunning Kalo Estate in Greece could be the perfect setting for a European getaway: blessed with glorious weather, nothing beats dinner and drinks with a balmy evening sunset. Alternatively, if you prefer the lush greens of the English countryside, what better venue to host your special event than the impressive Aynhoe Park in Oxfordshire. Whatever the venue you choose, ensure there is a suitable kitchen for the chefs (or yourself if you are a keen cook) to prepare that mouth-watering menu you have designed!
Setting the Scene
Nobody likes silence. Music is key to creating the perfect atmosphere, so make sure you have a playlist at hand for the background music to your event. If you’re looking to host a really special night then hiring in a musician, band or DJ could be the cherry on top of the cake. To avoid any awkward conversations and encounters between your guests, make sure you have a well thought out seating plan to keep everyone happy. If you like to change things up and keep your guests on their toes, I would recommend moving the men one space along between meals - it is a great way to keep conversations flowing and help everyone get acquainted with each other.
Centrepieces are an extremely important part of a dinner party but, however pretty a rose can be, no one likes to be staring at them all night long. It is important that the flowers are kept low enough so your guests can talk over them. Line the tables with vintage jars of flowers for a chic design and combine with scattered candlelight to create the perfect ambiance.
The best part of hosting your own party or dinner is being able to put your own finishing touches to it. Personalise the evening with well thought out details to welcome your guests and make them feel important. Favours don’t need to just be for weddings - why not welcome or bid farewell to your guests with a small gesture for them to remember the evening by… these gifts also look great on the table!
On the Menu
Family-style sharing platters are a really nice way to keep the evening casual and allow guests to pick and choose their favourite dishes… and go back for more! It is always nice to pick a cuisine or theme for your dinner party, so that you can incorporate décor, drinks and entertainment to keep the night fluid. If you are not a fan of sharing food then just picking one course as a sharing platter can work really well, such as a charcuterie board overflowing with delicious meats and cheeses, or an impressive dessert such as Crêpe Suzette which can be served at the table.
Out with a bang
To ensure your guests have the most memorable evening, I would always recommend planning a special moment in the evening to add that wow factor. Whether you decide to lay on a breath taking fireworks display from your private boat in Italy, or bring in a mixologist and flair tender to create your favourite cocktails, there is always an opportunity to impress your guests and ensure your party is a night to remember.