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ALFRESCO ENTERTAINING WITH PANACHE

March 24, 2008

As springtime approaches and the weather starts to turn warmer, it is an appropriate time to start planning your future outdoor parties. Keep in mind different ways to celebrate the outdoors by adding small fresh flower bouquets or miniature plants in low vases across the table to give the illusion of a large arrangement. Utilize tall tapered candles to illuminate the dining table, eating by candlelight creates a gentle and romantic setting.

    While dressing the table add a sprig of rosemary, lavender or mint to the napkin rings to add a touch of nature. For a dressed up table setting use ivory cloth placemats, topped by beautiful glassware, stemware and china, preferably antique or traditional in spirit. Add some vintage flatware for a complete look.  If you are planning a more relaxed get together, try mixing and matching different color glasses, ceramic dishes and fun silverware to create a playful atmosphere. Use multi colored placemats, napkins and chunky pillar candles.

    Determine your seating arrangement then use hand-scripted place cards to caringly identify each setting. Another special touch that you can add to the table is a host gift on each plate. A miniature box of chocolates is a wonderful treat.

    Remember to consider setting the scene with preset background music, so that you can enjoy the party when your guests arrive. Try to work hard before the party starts so that you can enjoy being a guest at your own party.

    All of these special touches and creative tips will be instrumental in helping to make your party a memorable event that both you and your guests will cherish.

    These same simple tips can be applied to entertaining with style indoors by honoring the outdoors or by setting a party scene in your store to help share ideas with your customers on creative ways to design a table setting for a special event. Showcasing tabletop settings for parties is a unique way to present those extra long dining tables in your showroom.

    Use this time of the year as your springboard to your imagination. Invite your existing customers to your store for a table top party. Let them learn fresh new ideas on entertaining with style and creativity by bringing the outdoors in and the indoors out.

    Consider utilizing local designers to pick a theme and a table and set it for this event. Have the designers use products from your store. Not only will this bring the designers to your store and educate them on your products, it will also reunite your customers with you in a fun and relaxed environment.

    These are my Outside Views, write and let me know some of your creative ideas?

Marcia Blake