Entertaining Like a Stylist

We were lucky enough to have guest writer and owner, Sally from HELICONIA join Lara and talk about how to make your entertaining at home exciting and special.

Here's what they talked about...

We’re all spending WAY more time at home at the moment, and while many of us are itching at any opportunity to get out and about while we still can (in some States at least), sometimes even special occasions and catch-ups with friends and family are best done in the home. Perhaps it’s because there’s a vulnerable person in the group, or perhaps it’s just because getting a reservation isn’t going to work - whatever the reason, entertaining at home is rapidly becoming more of a regular fixture than ever. And it doesn’t look like that will change any time soon.

But, don’t despair! Don’t stare longingly into the ‘nice section’ of your wardrobe and declare your sartorial treasures useless. Don’t just throw the Uggs on the feet, the snags on the bbq and the coleslaw mix in the bowl (although that is totally ok sometimes too).

Believe us when we say, entertaining at home can still be really exciting and special! Sensational even! You can still get your fun fix, try new cuisines, wear snazzy outfits, enjoy a great venue-vibe and support a local business or two at the same time.

Heliconia: OK, time to get excited about dinner at home! Let’s start with the interiors (surprise surprise!). What are some tips for turning the same old four walls into something fresh and exciting?

Lara: Well you want to start with a nice, clear space. This may very well be your dining room if you are having a small number of guests. However if you are having say 20, you might need to pick a room where you are able to clear some furniture such as a lounge room, an outdoor deck or even a pool house! It’s then all about laying all of the styling and practical pieces you will need to create a beautiful space for a celebration.

Heliconia: The word “tablescape" is fabulous. What does it mean and how do I get one?

Lara: (laughs) A tablescape is simply the word given to how the table settings for each guest are designed along with the additional styling items such as candles, flowers, placecards, menus and anything else your heart desires! For us at Honey Lane, the tablescape design is incredibly important as it’s the one thing that each and every one of your guests will sit down to, touch/feel and engage with. It needs to look pretty, but be practical too! There is no point in it looking amazing if your guests don’t have enough elbow room, or there isn’t enough space for sides in the middle of the table.

Heliconia: What role do colours play in event styling and what are some practical tips to use colour to optimal effect when entertaining at home? (In other words, what if all my crockery and napery is plain white… asking for a friend.)

Lara: Never fear, plain white is a great base, and there are other ways to add colour through the florals and candles. However, before you start picking colours for each of your individual items, it’s best to first start with an overall vision and to be clear on that. So you may like to collect some images on Pinterest or Instagram, and once you have a few, try to narrow them down to the ones that all showcase the same style. Those images then form your ‘moodboard’. You might find that you are loving an all white, minimalist look in which case your white items at home will work perfectly! Or, you may have more of an earthy boho vision. If that’s the case, then you might like to look into hiring a few pieces such as an Oatmeal tablecloth and Terracotta napkins to early bring your vision to life! There are lots of great tablewear hire companies such as Pretty Pedestals in Sydney.

Heliconia: Obviously supporting a local florist by decking the room out with amazing florals would be the ideal scenario here. What if budget is getting skinny - what suggestions do you have for those important touches like lighting and flowers?

Lara: The cost of having a florist do your flowers might not be as expensive as you might think. Especially when you consider the time it would take you to source the flowers and to arrange them. However if you want just a few say bud vases along the tables, then head to your local flower market, or even somewhere like Harris Farm. Select a few different varieties (again with your vision and colour pallete in mind). When you get home, separate them, cut them to the correct length and pop then into small vases, glasses or jars – whatever you might have around your home. Dot them along the centre of your table and away you go!

Heliconia: Going out for dinner is also obviously about the food! How can we make sure that dinner in your home is a meal that our guests will rave about?

Lara: Of course, you can always cook a meal for your guests yourself. However what we are talking about here is a super special occasion that calls for something a little “extra”. Where you might not want the hassle of cooking and cleaning up for 20 guests. If this is the case, then engaging a local caterer will ensure that your guests eat well and you as the host are able to sit back and enjoy as well! You want to make sure that you of course check on dietaries before the menu is planned so that there are no awkward moments on the night. And then, once those are considered, try to have a really lovely variety of foods for your guests to journey through, don’t forget to consider the season. A lamb roast is one of my favs but not so much on a 40 degree Sydney summer day!

Heliconia: OK so we have a lovely room, an instagrammable tablescape and scrumptious food. What other elements can we layer on top of this soiree?

Lara: Well let’s not forgot the drinks! Having sparkling water available for your guests is a lovely and elevated touch.  Of course you will have the usual wine and bubbles, but how about thinking of a special cocktail that can be served to your guests on arrival? A very lovely touch, probably unexpected and certainly sets the tone for what is to come! 

Music is another important consideration. You don’t want to be fussing about with playlists once your guests have arrived. Think about the vibe you want to create – whether it’s party time, chill or sophisticated – then select the perfect playlist to match!

So there you have it. I’m already planning my next amazing home-occasion. I’m going to rearrange furniture so the room is barely recognisable. I’m going to set up a gorgeous bar cart corner with customised cocktails inside, and dress the fire pit zone with rugs and cushioned seating outside. And my bathroom will be a celebration of layered hand towels, stacked soaps, lanterns and signature scents. Voila!  A special way to celebrate anything - from a 40th to a Friday.

Heliconia specialises in the design and facilitation of new build and renvations on Sydney's Northern Beaches and North Shore. If you'd like to get in touch visit their website, or follow on Instagram.

If you would like to get in touch to chat about your upcoming event you can reach us via our website, follow us on Instagram or shoot us an email at hello@honelane.com.au. You can also find out more on our Luxe @ Home by Honey Lane page.

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