m.o.mliving: Entertaining Style ~ The Season of Party Planning Can Begin With Jenn,The Hostess With The Mostess

With this weekend being THE 'kick-off' to summer partying, our M.O.Ms can find guidance and inspiration from a true M.O.M of Entertaining and Guru of Party Planning here:

What is your best advice for planning a party?

photo courtesy of HWTM
The first advice I always offer is to pick a theme for your party - even if it's as simple as a color palette or stylish paper pattern that you’d like to include in the design. This one simple thing will make the entire planning process SO much easier! It's amazing how overwhelmed you can feel once you start searching for ideas regarding food, drinks, decor, invitations, and more. There’s so much out there, so having a like specific theme in mind to help narrow down your options and focus your efforts will be a serious time saver! I also recommend going with a theme that you truly love so that you feel creatively inspired & excited by the planning process, especially if the party is something you're incorporating into an already busy everyday life – which is the norm for most moms!
photo courtesy of HWTM

What is the key to being a good host?

Your primary role as host or hostess is hospitality! This means making your guests feel comfortable and doing what you can to ensure they feel welcome and important. This includes things like introducing guests to each other and helping them strike up conversations (especially for guests that don't know many other people at the part
y), creating an inviting ambiance for them to socialize in, and greeting each guest personally, shortly after they arrive. I also like to make sure that guests receive a drink right away – either by handing them a pre-mixed signature cocktail (or mocktail) or walking them over to the bar or drinks area. It always makes people feel more comfortable when they have something to hold on to!

Must-have entertaining/party accessory that can be used for any/all occasions.

That's a tough one to narrow down… but I definitely get great use out of my pillar candleholders and pretty much every event… and they hardly ever hold candles! :) I usually attach plates to the tops of them to repurpose them as pedestals/risers/stands for everything from appetizers to desserts to decor. They're a super easy (and affordable) way to add different levels of height to a food or dessert table, without having to purchase a bunch of specialty footed serving dishes and cake platters.

Best Hostess Gift

I know it's cliche, but you just can't go wrong with (thoughtfully chosen) wine… and it's always best to give hostesses something you know they'll really enjoy! To give your wine a creative twist, choose one with a unique or especially stylish label… ideally something that reminds you of the host/hostess. There are some really clever options available these days – like this cheeky design http://www.madhousewifecellars.com/Wines/wines.html from Mad Housewife Cellars – or anything resembling these amazing beauties http://www.thecoolist.com/amazing-wine-labels-30-creative-and-unique-wine-label-designs/-wine-label-designs/. You can also add your own creative "labeling" by customizing the bottle with decorative paper and a cute personalized gift tag.

*Party Images attached are from the “Berry Sweet Baby Shower” that I styled for Judy Reyes, which is one of my personal favorites.

More info & images can be found here:

photo courtesy of HWTM
Meet our M.O.M Entertaining Guru, Jenn Sbranti
Hi, there! I’m Jenn Sbranti, Editor-in-Chief and Founder (along with my husband, Sonny) of Hostess with the Mostess, Inc. I’m a designer, entrepreneur, writer, and – most recently – a new mom to our sweet baby daughter, Macy!

Before founding HWTM, I worked as a graphic/web designer, but I’ve always had a “thing” for parties – party decor in particular – which came in quite handy to my college roommates… *wink*. My mom had this same entertaining “thing”, so you could probably say that it runs in the family. Even as a young child I remember my parents hosting big parties with festive atmospheres where everyone seemed to be having such a great time… (might have had a little something to do with the cocktails, but of course I didn’t know about that back then!).

To me, event design is very similar to graphic design though. Whether you’re designing a website or styling an event, it’s all about color, composition, a smart, functional layout, and – plain and simple – creating some eye candy!


Jennifer Sbranti is the co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of Hostess with the Mostess® (HWTM), a hip and modern party planning resource. HWTM brings creative entertaining ideas to light through an inspirational “how-to” website – http://www.hwtm.com/   – and popular daily blog authored by Sbranti – http://www.hostessblog.com/.

Having hosted countless celebrations herself, ranging from special occasion showers and everyday get-togethers to large events, Sbranti now shares her contemporary style and no-fuss approach to entertaining with others. Her ideas have been featured in media outlets such as People, InStyle Weddings, Life&Style, Pregnancy, and Extra! TV, and she is a featured contributor for several well-respected online communities, including iVillage.com, BHG.com, and Parents.com..

Sbranti resides in San Diego with her husband Sonny and their 11-month-old daughter, Macy..

FOLLOW Jenn's Fabulous Finds & Inspirations for Contemporary Entertaining!
Twitter: @HWTM_Jenn
Facebook:  HWTM

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