Entertaining Ideas
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Beverages & serving logistics

The potluck brunch for the women's club is this coming Saturday.  I'm still waiting on RSVPs, but I'm expecting 25-30.

1) I plan on having coffee, hot cider and juices.  Would you make hot tea as well?  Or would you scrap the cider? (I really like it and just want an excuse to make it :P) 

2) What supplies would you put out for the coffee?  Flavored creamers, various sweeteners, etc.

3) This next question is something I have problems with every time I entertain.  This house is just too small!  When you walk in my house, you look left and see what's in the first pic; look ahead and you see what's in the second pic.

Normally I set up on the table and the serving bar.  I end up with a traffic jam between the serving bar and the table OR a herd of people standing in my smallish galley kitchen, both of which kinda drive me batty.  I can serve some things off my sideboard, but it's from 1860 and important to me.  I've tried serving cookies and such on it once in the past and they got ignored.

I'm going to get a piece of plywood to serve as a topper for my dining table to enlarge it so it'll hold more stuff.  Hopefully that'll ease congestion some.  Do you think having a larger table hold all the food and then having beverages on the counter will work?  Other ideas?

Re: Beverages & serving logistics

  • image TarHeels&Rebels:

    The potluck brunch for the women's club is this coming Saturday.  I'm still waiting on RSVPs, but I'm expecting 25-30.

    1) I plan on having coffee, hot cider and juices.  Would you make hot tea as well?  Or would you scrap the cider? (I really like it and just want an excuse to make it :P)

    I think cofee, cider and juices is perfect; no tea needed if you have cider (which is way better!).   

    2) What supplies would you put out for the coffee?  Flavored creamers, various sweeteners, etc.

    I would do a milk, regular creamer, french vanilla creamer, sugar and equal (or something similar).

    3) This next question is something I have problems with every time I entertain.  This house is just too small!  When you walk in my house, you look left and see what's in the first pic; look ahead and you see what's in the second pic.

    Normally I set up on the table and the serving bar.  I end up with a traffic jam between the serving bar and the table OR a herd of people standing in my smallish galley kitchen, both of which kinda drive me batty.  I can serve some things off my sideboard, but it's from 1860 and important to me.  I've tried serving cookies and such on it once in the past and they got ignored.

    I'm going to get a piece of plywood to serve as a topper for my dining table to enlarge it so it'll hold more stuff.  Hopefully that'll ease congestion some.  Do you think having a larger table hold all the food and then having beverages on the counter will work?  Other ideas?

    I have this same problem when I host at home and have found some people are just sloooow and there is no way to speed up the line.  I did recently notice at a party my aunt hosted- she set up a long table in the center of a room so people would walk around the entire table and that seemed to avoid as much congestion.  Unfortunately, that wouldn't ever be an option for me.

    Favorite Flower

    [IMG]http://i40.tinypic.com/24g24xe.jpg[/IMG]
  • I pretty much agree with wine on the beverages.  Have milk, half and half, one flavored, sugar and one sugar substitute. 

    A couple of thoughts.  I assume you move the chairs out of the way.  Can you shift the table a little?  I know it won't be centered, but it would give more room between the table and the bar.  Do you do anything with the little table?  Maybe that would be a place for plates, cups, or silverware- whatever goes with the table stuff.

    As for the sideboard, would you be willing to put drinks on it?  I know it's important so I'd cut a table protector to the size of the sideboard then put some fabric/ tablecloth over it.  That should protect from any liquid or scratches on top and you'd still be able to see the pretty front. 

    One other thought.  If the weather is nice is there an easily accessible place outdoors to put drinks?  If I've got a bigger menu I'll set up a bar area outside.

  • Thanks for that so far, ladies.

    The problem about the serving bar/table is that they hang out there in that little bitty space before the meal starts.  Then trying to set out food or drinks or silverware is an exercise in, "excuse me, pardon me, would you mind putting this there?"

    6, I do move the table out some and I do spread the chairs out around the LR.

    By the "little table," do you mean the coffee table?  I've put apps out there sometimes, but people seem hesitant to sit down and prefer to stand right near the table.

    I'm heading to the Big City tomorrow, so I could see if JoAnn's has any of that protector stuff on a roll...

    I'm setting up lawn chairs out in the back yard.  The back porch is screened and has a coffee table (along with a loveseat and chairs), but it's too small to really serve from.

    Agh!  I wish we could pick up our 3100 sq ft house (now rented) with the perfect entertaining floor plan in the town where we know no one and trade it with this 1700 sq ft one in a town where we know everyone!

  • I actually meant the table under the mirror, but that won't solve the hanging out issue.  Are they getting drinks and staying?  Chatting with you?  If it's for drinks then definitely move those to the sideboard or out of the house completely.  Maybe if you moved the table against the wall and close enough to the bar so people can't stand there?

    You can get the protector stuff at Walmart in the table cloth section.  It's really nothing more then one side plastic and the other felt.

  • The little foyer table isn't terribly stable - it was a $7 Goodwill purchase that I painted :P  But if I did paper plates, they could safely sit there; china couldn't.

    I think pushing the table, once it has a rectangular board on it, up against the window is a great idea.  (Note to self for later: pull up the chandelier.)  If the table forms an L shape with the bar, people can't trap themselves in the no-longer-existent corner.

  • image TarHeels&Rebels:

    The little foyer table isn't terribly stable - it was a $7 Goodwill purchase that I painted :P  But if I did paper plates, they could safely sit there; china couldn't.

    I think pushing the table, once it has a rectangular board on it, up against the window is a great idea.  (Note to self for later: pull up the chandelier.)  If the table forms an L shape with the bar, people can't trap themselves in the no-longer-existent corner.

    I think that's the best idea--get your plywood and make a whole food/drink nook with the table and serving bar forming an L.  Have the best stuff or the stuff that people want to keep picking up (chips, candy, nuts) at the extreme edges so no one plants themselves in the corner of the L.  With moving the table, the first thing I thought was the lamp hanging down but if it's easy to pull up, that's the best option.

    Definitely get a thick and spill-proof table protector and use the sideboard for drinks.

    Oh, and skip the tea, keep the cider and have milk, half-and-half, sugar and at least one artificial sweetener.  The flavored creamers are a bonus.

  • In my experience, people go to cramped informaal spots b/c it feels more cozy.  Does that make sense?  Do what ever you can to create "cozy" spots in the living room?  Maybe by making seperate areas instead of one large room.  For example, you can put to 2 chairs together to create on area.  The couch is it's own area, etc.

    Also, I've always found that it's good to spread out the food and drinks as much as possible so it's not all at one place.  Yes, the big stuff has to stay in the kitchen, but the easy snacks can be on the coffe table.   Hope this makes sense?!?!

    Can't wait to hear how it goes.

  • Hi!  Sorry I got to this post later...  I don't have anything to add except that the photos of your living/dining room look gorgeous.  Love the color on the walls.

    Good Luck!

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