Filled with encouraging advice, Ted Kennedy Watson’s Guide to Stylish Entertaining is a stunning, unfussy, and colorful manual that places emphasis on putting one’s guests at ease, anticipating their needs for eats and ambiance, and relaxing and enjoying one’s own party. In the book’s gushing foreword, preppy guru Lisa Birnbach notes that Watson’s suggestions are gracious (and smell great). Food, florals, and candles abound, demonstrating Watson’s proviso that entertaining “should stem from something that results in joy for both the hosts and the guests.”
Packed with festive menus, recipes, party planning tips, music playlists, and decorating advice, Watson’s book appeals to all the senses. It centers thoughtful, detailed preparations, appealing food and drinks, and creative table settings that are designed to take the stress out of at-home entertaining. It also advocates for frequent, easy-going get-togethers with friends and loved ones, including for reconnecting in the wake of social isolation.
Alongside menus featuring chicken with Meyer lemon, olives, and rosemary, or asparagus and Gruyere tarts, flowers and candles are integral ingredients in the Watson party playbook. Watson loves a profusion of votive candles in each room, and there are imaginative ideas for arrangements of posies, herbs, kale, and celery, as well as suggestions for unusual vase alternatives. And artful assemblages grace the book’s dining and serving tables, featuring a collection of vintage dominoes and eclectic housewares that inspire ideas for using different color palettes for special occasions, holidays, and seasons.
Ted Kennedy Watson’s appealing guide is designed to elevate one’s hosting chops and jump-start party planning, whether for informal gatherings over drinks and nibbles or more elaborate affairs, so that one can “have a blast at your own party.”
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