Southern Entertaining

The art of Southern Entertaining is simple in concept, but grand in experience.  From my experience of both attending and hosting events, a successful function of any type requires 3 constants;

  1. Venue and Decorum
  2. Dedicated Host(s) + Guests
  3. Great Food

Venue and Decorum

I'm a firm believer that YOU have the power to set the tone for any and everything around you, and the same holds true for events.  When hosting an event, be it intimate, or on a grand scale, the venue, i.e location and decorum play a significant role.  The scenery, the view, the scent in the air, can all make for an enlightening or not so pleasant experience.  The same ideology that people assess you based upon where and how you live holds true for events.  People being making initial assumptions and defining the experience of your event, as soon as they step foot into the venue.

When creating events, you want to choose a location that is inviting, a location that is conducive to the mood or theme you're going for, and lastly, a location that your guests will appreciate.  That does not mean to spend an extravagant amount on your venue.  A venue can be your dining room, your back yard, a meeting hall, hotel, restaurant, etc.  The key here is to find a venue that will meet your needs, both aesthetically and financially.

For events where you want very clear and vivid photos, a blank or airy space is ideal.  Venues with natural light are rare to come by, and typically will be found in an industrial setting.  For some a drawback to this type of setting is that it's just that, industrial; concrete floors, little to no decor, no fancy signage, exposed brick, etc.  To counter that, you can always soften the look of the room with lighting and playful decor, ranging from flowers, to candles and centerpieces.

For a more dramatic occasion like a dinner party, the venue may not be as important as the overall decor.  Dinner events typically are more festive, more social and engaging, and the ambiance sets the tone.  Votive candles, table runners, and unique arrangements fit the bill here.

Dedicated Host(s) + Guests

Another intricate and key component to entertaining is a dedicated host.  Someone has the be responsible for putting all the pieces together.  Ensuring that not only the details are in place, but also making sure that the guests are enjoying themselves.  Hosting an event can be the most exhausting part.  You're standing most of the night, making introductions, checking in with event vendors and partners, etc.

And of course, what's an event without stylish guests?  While most elements of an event are controllable, the one thing you cannot control are your guests.  Although you can curate a guest list of patrons that you feel confident will mix and mingle, be open to meeting new people, and trying new ideas, you cannot control this portion of the event fully.  It's important to remember the varying backgrounds of your attendees.  Seating placement is a critical factor to engagement and can determine if your guests enjoy themselves or not.

Great Food

Private, Sous Chef, or Pastry Chef.  Catered or Boxed.  Plated or Buffet.  Choice, choices, choices.  As Southerners, the food served at a function is a deal breaker for us.  Southern culture is based largely on dining experiences and the conversations that take place while dining.  This is an area that you cannot skimp on, and must be perfectly planned.

My personal favorite is brunch!  It's a perfect blend of breakfast and lunch, and often times more cost effective than a dinner meal.  Brunch is also a great way to kick start your day by meeting up with friends and family.  While I have attended a lunch themed event, I don't prefer those as much.  Often times it's difficult for attendees to stop what they're doing mid-day to attend your event.  In my opinion it's better to either start the day with brunch, or end your evening with a dinner event.


  1. Excellent post!! This makes you want to have events - for the sake of "JUST BECAUSE". :-)