I once thought that to have a dinner party meant to stress, to obsess, to scrub and scour and primp and to get irritable and edgy and wound up tight. I thought it meant you must rush around like a lunatic at the last minute polishing every spoon and arranging the hand towels in the bathroom just so.
We think this way of entertaining “guests” should be forgotten in favor of a more modern way to entertain. We like to call this modern approach “gathering”.
Words like “entertain” and “guests” must go. These words are rather pretentious really, and they create an unnecessary sense of drama for what is simply spending special moments with special people.
Next, let’s forget the idea that all preparation rests on the shoulders of the host. Truthfully, it is more fun and satisfying for everyone when it’s a community effort. We learned this from our wedding. We didn’t necessarily want help, but we certainly needed it. Our friends and family came together and got us married. Someone loaned us their backyard for the rehearsal dinner, someone chopped and diced and helped serve the meal, someone picked up the cake, someone saved the iPod from the rainstorm to make sure our ceremony playlist played on, someone gave an impromptu toast. We literally formed a little one-day community around our wedding. There were no “guests” or “entertaining, just good people showing love and investing in old and new relationships. To act as a community in this way is to invest in each other. Through actions, it says “you matter to me”. The heart and soul of a modern gathering is that it gives us a formal reason to express those four special words to others. Someone slices, someone mixes, someone sets the table, someone shakes the cocktails. We share the sense of accomplishment and through the shared experience human connections are formed. This is the secret sauce of creating a community- often with food at the center.
To modernize entertaining also means letting go of perfection. Maybe we’ll have people over when…. when the house is cleaner… when we get nicer plates and bowls… when we have more furniture. Our new mantra: do it now. Your house does not need to look “pinnable“. The plates and chairs and trinkets don’t matter. My favorite gatherings are ones where I’ve gotten hands-on in the kitchen, eaten around a table with mismatched chairs, or snuggled up on the floor of our furniture-less living room sipping tea with friends. Now is all there is, later might never come. Do it now.
Modern entertaining is relentless and effortless hospitality. We want friends to stop by for coffee, brunch or Sunday supper. We want our kitchen island to be magnetic- a place where people gather around and feel welcomed, relaxed and cozy.
We hope you’ll feel enlightened to entertain the modern way too. In the meantime, come on over to our place.