planning a party...with paperless post

Its that festive time of year again, and this year I am partnering with Paperless Post to share my tips on how to be the hostess with the mostest.  New to digital invitations?  Me to and I discovered it is so easy!  The invites are beyond pretty, easy to customise, just add your guest list with emails and you are good to go.  Choosing a design is the hardest part, they are all so gorgeous but in the end I couldn't resist the Rifle Paper Co designs, although the yellow Marimekko flowers almost had me.

You can customise the text, the envelope insert, add a background, from only $2 a card.  How pretty does mine look below.

Now the date is set and the guests are invited, lets talk about how to make entertaining easy.

Plan a grazing table
Grazing tables are the perfect way to entertain a crowd big or small.
Choose oversize platters and boards and heap lavishly with cheese and biscuits, fresh
 fruit, anything you can eat in your fingers.  The trick here is more is more, you want the plates to look really generous.  
The best thing about a grazing table is you can make dips, sweets and savoury snacks ahead of time, but most of the food like the cheese, biscuits and fruits is simply bought and arranged on the day.  Minimal prep on the day, that is what we like!

Top tip: place cocktail napkins around the table so people can keep their hands tidy.

Decorating a grazing table
To decorate the table create visual interest by propping your platters on different levels (hidden boards or boxes do the trick), and group masses of greenery & flowers or candles at the back of the table.  I am totally inspired by this look (above left) created by Gallivant Events with lemons and limes heaped in giant clam shells, and tons of lush greens.

Top tip: Set up your table and flowers the day before, then on the day you only have to worry about the food.

Create a drinks station
Make it easy for your guests to get their own drinks by organising a drinks station zone.  Stack the glasses on the counter top for easy access and have a large drinks bucket filled with ice to keep drinks cool.  Set out extra ice cubes, sprigs of mint and slices of lemon.

Top tip: set up the drinks station away from the food, the kitchen counter is often a good spot.  Separating the drinks from the food avoids queues and encourages people to move around.

Create a moody ambience by turning off all the overhead lights.  Use your table and floor lamps and add candles or fairly lights or both.  
Organise and test the lighting the weekend before so its just a matter of lighting the candles on the day.

Top tip: use 3M hooks to temporarily string fairy lights across walls, from the ceiling and along balustrades.  Easy to put up and take down.

Create new seating zones
Whenever we entertain we create little conversation zones where people can sit and chat easily.  You don't want the guests all crowding around the walls or getting tired from standing all night.  

If you have the space set out two benches in an L-shape where people can sit together, or group a few occasional chairs into a little sitting area.  Don't be afraid to move the furniture around and really change up the space just for the party.

Now all you have to do is set a date and get those invites out.

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