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How to entertain just like Martha Stewart

She shares her tips for hosting the perfect party.

Dream of hosting epic get-togethers that will spread like wildfire on Instagram and Pinterest, but have yet to organize something more involved than cheese and crackers? You, aspiring hostess, need a thought-out game plan, so we checked in with domestic powerhouse Martha Stewart (consider it an early Christmas present).

“I always have a Christmas open house,” she explains. “This year I’ve decided to do brunch.”

Here, she takes us through her personal party prep. Take notes, people!



Start with the right company

“The first thing I do is create my guest list. I have a basic list of my friends and then people who I’ve added to it throughout the year. I send out a save-the-date. Then I send out an e-mail invitation — but it’s embedded in my e-mail so it opens immediately. You don’t have to go clicking here and clicking there. It’s very important to me. I don’t click on an envelope that opens up. Right click here and download pictures — I don’t go for that stuff.”



Plan your menu

“Next I start on the menu planning. What do I really want to cook? What do I really want to serve? After the menu planning comes the shopping list.”

Dive into a theme

“Two weeks before the party make sure you have everything you need for decorating and [put it up]. We lost a lot of trees in Sandy, so I’m using a lot of fallen trees as decoration. All my big trays are slabs of wood cut from the trees that fell down. And I made beautiful coasters from 3-inch-diameter branches that are sliced very thinly. You have to think of a theme — is it woodland or what is it? I have a theme for all of my parties. I think it’s fun.”



Create signature drinks

“Make a really good drink from fresh juices, the best ingredients, and serve it in beautiful glasses. I’ll also serve white wine. I don’t serve red wine in my house because I don’t want people to spill it — unless it’s a seated dinner. We’re going to have homemade bloody marys with homemade tomato juice, eggnog and hot mulled white wine. You have to be a little creative, thoughtful and adventurous.”

Martha’s dinner party tips



“Make sure you make time to be friendly to your guests and acknowledge everybody’s presence. Try to matchmake a little with the people that you think should meet each other.”



“I like to set the table for a plated and served dinner unless I’m having a very large crowd. When creating a seating chart for served dinners, I always break up couples and seat new people next to one another. I also always put myself in the least-comfortable spot. For a crowd larger than what my tables will hold seated, I will serve a buffet dinner.”



“Having cocktails premade ensures you won’t spend the whole party fixing drinks and you can instead devote your attention to your guests.”

Cooking dinner? Skip the apps

“I don’t like serving appetizers because I always have really good food and I don’t want people to get stuffed on appetizers. I rarely have them, and if I do it’s really something simple — but special — like homemade puff pastry cheese straws right out of the oven.”

 
 
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