- In your professional opinion and through personal experience, what do you think most people overlook when they set out to entertain? Or what mistakes do you see them make?
Through our own experience in entertaining, we’ve learned that sometimes we lose sight of the reason why we are hosting… to love and celebrate people in our homes! We get caught up in all the details, spend outside of our budgets, and our goal becomes perfection instead of blessing the people who are gathered around our table. Through years of throwing parties of all kinds, we’ve come to find that there is so much joy in “shopping” our own homes to use items in new ways, borrow pieces from friends, and investing in several staple items that can be used in multiple ways.
- When you are entertaining a group, whether it is for a holiday event, a dinner party, or a themed celebration, what are some of your favorite tips for ensuring the evening goes well?
We start a couple weeks early (depending on what we are planning, sometimes sooner)- spreading chores, grocery lists, and “to do's” out so we don't feel overwhelmed. We’ll do some early baking and put it in the freezer. It helps to deep clean the house a week before and try to keep up the maintenance throughout the week. Anything you can do before hand helps to minimize last minute planning and prep work. This will prevent you from being too worn out to enjoy the party and engage with your guests. We remember that we’re hosting in order to serve, bless, and BE PRESENT with others!
- What small choices can hostesses make that will create a welcoming and entertaining atmosphere?
We believe that being a “good” hostess begins in your heart! Finding joy in serving others, having a warm welcome, and make it more about the people than the party. We think that cozy blankets, candles and twinkly lights throughout your home can often be all you really need to make it feel extra special.
4. How did your business get started, and what is the mission behind it? What would you like readers to know about your service?
Our business started with decorating each other’s hospital delivery rooms! We longed to create a special haven in all of our spaces. Our mission is to come along side people in their own journeys of haven making. We believe haven making is creating an intentional space where you can be present, feel at peace, and where joy can abound. We take joy in designing thoughtful products and curating gift boxes that encourage you to love people well through gift giving.
5. What is your philosophy when it comes to gracious and fun entertainment?
We believe it’s a privilege to set the tone in our homes to be gracious, warm and inviting. When we ready our attitudes and heart this way, it allows people to come as they are. This is when they feel free to have fun and enjoy themselves! We love having music in the background and make sure to introduce new people and find mutual ways to connect them to others at the party. It’s important to engage in purposeful and intentional conversation with your guests.
6. What are key elements to a well set table scape, and why does it make a difference when entertaining?
We love to decorate with a neutral place setting, tablecloth or runner, candles, fresh flowers and natural elements. Having a centerpiece helps to anchor the table and brings a nice ambience with the glow of candlelight. We often add wicker chargers to bring texture, and napkin rings to adorn our white linen napkins. Depending on how “formal” our dinner party is, we intentionally place our guest where we think they will enjoy conversation and feel most welcomed by creating a name tag at their place setting. We think about how we plan to serve the food as well- buffet style or will it be served on the table? This helps us know how much room we have to decorate and still make it functional. Lastly, the most important key element to a well set table is your heart and intention in creating it. Whether or not people will notice the details, you can still have joy in the unseen. To be honest, most of our real life gatherings are unplanned- when our house is usually a mess and our meal is papa murphy pizza’s that my husband is picking up on his way home from work. Even in the unplanned a simple candle on an old tablecloth can give the same feeling of belonging. This imperfect, unplanned setting is just as beautiful.
7. How can people afford to entertain with style while not breaking the bank? Any hints or tips on affordable and fun décor pieces?
We love buying staple pieces that are versatile in many settings and can be used all over our homes. A variety of candle sticks, a couple strands of faux green garland that you can add fresh flowers to, twinkly lights, vases and runners. One of our favorite budget friendly ideas is using brown craft paper as a tablecloth! We’ve written Happy Birthday down the center, used it to write people’s names by their place setting, or Merry Christmas on the ends. It’s kid friendly and makes for an easy clean up! Don’t forget to add natural elements from your own back yard! Fresh clippings of pine at Christmas, pinecones and leaves at Thanksgiving and flowers and greenery in the Spring and Summer months. Dried oranges and cranberries make things festive and add beautiful color and texture too. We suggest investing in a set of white napkins because they are timeless and you can bleach them!! You can tie string around the napkins (instead of napkin rings) and add a craft tag with your guest name and tuck a leaf, piece of pine, or flower inside for a special touch. We also love having large drink dispensers for water, tea, punch etc. If we are having a large party, we buy clear cups and have a black sharpie tied to the dispenser so guests can write their name on the cup. This lets everyone know where their cup is and prevents using so many too! Cut up some fruits or vegetables and put them in your water, we love cucumbers + oranges together- they look beautiful and taste so refreshing!
8. What is your favorite part about entertaining? What are your goals when you entertain?
Our favorite part of entertaining is thinking through the details for the specific person or celebration that is taking place. We like to think of ways we can honor the guest or occasion. What’s their favorite meal or drink- we delight in having those things ready in our home to offer them. If it’s celebrating a holiday- what is something festive we can eat or drink?? Our goal is for people to leave our home with full bellies + hearts- feeling encouraged, loved and seen.
9. What is your favorite event you have ever hosted- whether a personal event that you hosted on your own or one that you helped put together- and what made it stand out??
For me, (Meghan), one of my favorite dinners I hosted was for Ginny’s baby shower for her Georgia Wynn on the way. It was her third baby and she requested that she didn’t want a shower, but I just had to celebrate the moment in some way. It was quiet and intimate, but so special! I invited her parents along with her family and mine. We sat around the table with brass candlesticks of all shapes and heights glowing with cream candles, her favorite flowers and meal, and my favorite part… the Georgia state and peach shaped sugar cookies that sat at each place setting. Ginny is from Georgia, so naming her daughter that was extra special. I knew I wanted to honor her name and we all LOVED this detail so much! We prayed over Georgia and enjoyed sweet conversation all while drinking delicious sparkling cider.
My (Ginny) favorite party we host is our Christmas Party! Our home is full from wall to wall of people we love and it continues to grow as we all have more children, which delights our hearts!! Garland, twinkly lights, Christmas music, and the smell of pine fill our home. We always have a BIG meal- usually pulled pork and all the southern casseroles!! Often times friends bring appetizers and treats and we all congregate in the kitchen and around the table. We round up everyone and go Christmas caroling to a few houses on our street. As we sing our way through Silent Night, Joy To The World and We Wish You a Merry Christmas we return back to our house for hot chocolate and a bon fire. Usually I have some sort of craft and a Christmas movie going downstairs for kids and we adults are upstairs- it’s such a special time and we love how people linger in our home as we celebrate the most wonderful time of the year!
10. What is one thing a hostess should always include in their décor or plans, when entertaining?
Don’t be afraid of asking a friend or family member for help. If you’re throwing a big party it can take a lot of planning and time to prepare. We are made for community and don’t’ need to go it alone!
11. Anything else you would like to add that was not asked?
We believe this life is a gift and our heart behind Haven + Pine is to steward well the moments we’ve been given. Hosting + entertaining is a tangible way to love people well. We would be honored if you followed us on Instagram @havenandpine. We share tips on haven making, and love connecting with this incredible community! You can shop our curated gift boxes and other intentional products at www.havenandpine.com