A Curated Affair

by Sascha Lafleur
Living room setting with fireplace

Entertaining season is upon us again after a long moratorium on gatherings. Curated affairs are the trending ticket this party season. With every detail carefully thought out and nothing overlooked, your guests will enjoy a “tended to” vibe, while accommodating any conscious or sub-conscious social-distancing comfort zones that still linger. Let’s break down this trend.

Our home is your home

A party where you’re not at ease is one that you’ll be leaving shortly. Your guests should feel comfortable, with plenty of room to sit, stand and manoeuvre. How many guests do you anticipate showing up? What activities will they be engaging in, and where? Then, design “stations” to accommodate your plan. Typical party stations include food, bar and lounging, but your list may also include something specific, such as a games zone, or wine tasting area. It’s also a nice touch to have a “welcome zone” by the entrance/exit, with a coat rack, a place for shoes and, of course, hand sanitizer.

Movable furniture is my go-to when designing any living space. From a practicality perspective, these pieces are worth their weight in gold. And the great news is, modern furniture designers are creating pieces that maximize multi-function, space efficiency and aesthetics. Think coffee tables that rise into dining tables, storage benches and ottomans that double as seating, and bar carts on wheels that have a million and one different uses at this time of year.

When prepping your space for an intimate party, style matters. Though your party stations are temporary, ensure each of them adds aesthetic value to your space. Will it look pleasing? Attract guests? Aside from seating and surfaces, or anything else essential to that activity, ensure each station has a focal point, such as a piece of art or centrepiece, and dedicated lighting.

In the dining area, opt for versatility and ease, with themed, self-serve food stations. This set-up accommodates more people (bonus if you have a small space) while allowing guests to choose what they eat, when and where. Just ensure you have plenty of extra seating throughout your entertaining areas. Consider individualizing single portions in disposable dinnerware, ideally recyclable or compostable. It’s more sanitary, and this grab-and-go tactic leaves time for the hosts to mingle with guests.

The bar is the focal point of many parties, so this space should be stocked, and styled. Supply the bar with the standard selection of beverages and glassware, being mindful of your guests’ preferences. Prepare what you can ahead of time, such as mixes and garnishes. Of course, always have a selection of alcohol-free options for the nondrinkers and designated drivers. Finish the bar with some themed or seasonal decor and lighting.

Party season this year is all about being a gracious host, and creating a curated affair, from the food and drinks to the music wafting through the speakers. What’s the vibe you’re aiming to achieve, and how will you evoke that mood? I think you’ll find that a little forethought will go a long way.