A handful or two of freshly cut flowers embody the laid-back spirit of outdoor entertaining, especially when the blooms are slipped into a mismatched assortment of clear glass bottles, jars, and carafes. The containers go with any color scheme and offer a way to pair unlikely garden mates. At this dinner party, sun-craving cosmos meet shade-friendly astilbes. And the mingling of starburst scabiosa seed heads with the fireworks of astrantia makes the tabletop conversation sparkle.
More Bright Ideas
When a vessel is this distinctive, its form and color practically dictate what kinds of displays to create. Martha's blue-glazed ceramic shell evokes summer at the beach, a time and place indelibly associated with billowing hydrangeas. Luxuriant cuttings from three cultivars, along with some leaves, supply the structure of this design. Airy pink gomphrena and white Cimicifuga cap the sea foam with spray.
SourceMartha Stewart Living
Follow this guide to determine how much to buy. The primary rule: Buy plenty. You can use it later or return unopened bottles (check store policy before making your purchase).
Item and Quantity
Wine: One bottle per two people per hour
Beer: Two per person per hour
Spirits: One bottle per five people per hour
Mixers: Three bottles for each bottle of alcohol
Ice: At least one pound per person per hour
SourceMartha Stewart Living, November 2009
A basic white platter (this one's from cb2.com) just might be the most versatile item in your cupboard. We've used it here to corral cocktail garnishes; try it at your next party!
Offer accompaniments to cocktails: citrus wedges (for gin and vodka tonics), olives and caper berries (martinis, Bloody Marys), and cocktail onions (Gibsons).
SourceMartha Stewart Living, July 2009
Create an hors d'oeuvre centerpiece that recalls a vegetable patch. Buy a large, deep galvanized-metal planter from a garden-supply center, line the bottom with sprouts, and pour in enough water to moisten them. Arrange vegetables, such as cherry tomatoes, carrots, radishes, asparagus, and cauliflower, in sections inside the container, varying the colors. Serve immediately with herb dip, or cover with moist paper towels and refrigerate up to 2 hours.
SourceMartha Stewart Living, March 2008
This display is a centerpiece, a stack of party favors, and a table-number indicator all in one.
Fill small cardboard boxes with cookies or candies, wrap them with bands of paper and slender ribbon, and stack them on a silver compote in the shape of a pyramid. Attach a table number to the topmost box.
SourceMartha Stewart Weddings, 2004
More Entertaining Ideas