A grand affair
TIPS TO HOST YOUR OWN SUMPTUOUS EVENT.
Make your own formal invitation. Set the tone of your Christmas luncheon or dinner by making your own Victorian-inspired invitation. Replicate a favorite antique image from a Victorian holiday card, or download an image from your computer to print out on your laser printer. For the invitation shown on page 26, I used our company monogram. To add a luxurious detail, punch holes in the top of the invitation and then tie a ribbon through the holes. Though created with modern techniques, your thoughtful invitations are sure to be admired and will delight your guests.
Set an exceptional table. This is the time to bring out your most resplendent pieces. Like an illustration of a long-ago Christmas, a fine cutwork tablecloth provides the perfect backdrop for antique tableware. The luxurious Minton and Limoges plates blossom with delicate roses, while the mother-of-pearl silverware adds a soft vintage glow. Handmade antique lace and linen napkins, gilded mouth-blown glasses and sterling silver serving pieces all add Victorian flair to this setting. Not everything needs to match: the very fact that your table setting pieces complement one another will create excitement on your table.
Elevate everyday items to centerpiece status. Fabulous holiday flower and fruit arrangements were a Gilded Age tradition, especially at Christmastime. Today, everyday items such as a cut glass carafe or a sterling bonbon dish can be the star of your table. Transform them by adding fresh holiday greens, a sprinkling of bright, shiny tree ornaments and a few flowers. Don’t be afraid to mix silver with gold—all metals mix beautifully and sparkle with holiday glamour.
Favor your guests. In the delightful spirit of giving, collect unusual favors for each guest to take home when the event ends. Your gift can be as simple as a bit of Victorian ephemera or as
A Parting Gift. Give each guest a cherished, edible gift of homemade cake or cookies when departing. Beautifully packaged, small fruit tarts will nestle temptingly inside a paper glittered basket, tied with a shimmering bow and surrounded by fresh greens. No time for baking? Store-bought cookies or meringues are just as thoughtful when presented in a lovely way. Embrace Christmas and all its splendor with open arms. Whether you celebrate the season in a glorious Victorian mansion or a cozy cottage, my wish for you is that every moment you anticipate, plan and celebrate with those you love will give you joy, and that every meal is a feast because it is joyously shared.
A holiday ball or dinner for 1,000 guests could carry a price tag of millions.