Photo by April Setliff

Old-school entertaining techniques are back and better than ever

In 2023, hosting the perfect party is simple: Order a charcuterie board, make a fun playlist, text your friends and family to come over and relax on the front porch.

While we love a casual get together, there’s something to be said for the old-school techniques we used to know and love. Setting the dining room table, using the fine china and crystal and sending real invitations have become a lost art.

April Palombo Setliff, etiquette teacher and owner of Red Stick Refinement, says the way to throw a fun and memorable party is about striking a balance between these classic staples and new, trendy additions. For her, the success of a party lies in the details, and there is never an occasion too casual for china, silver and crystal.

“Crystal makes the table pretty. You can spice up your mother’s white and gold china she gave you with fun, colorful cloth napkins,” Setliff says. “The table arrangement can also make the party feel energized with fresh flowers that match the napkins. I also add candlesticks, napkin holders and place cards to create the perfect tablescape.”

Another hosting detail that’s often overlooked is the invitation itself. There is something special about receiving an invitation you can touch. It feels much more personal than an email.

“An invitation says, ‘I care enough about you to take the time to prepare this invitation and mail it,'” Setliff says. “It takes more time and effort than pressing send, which I value and appreciate.”

The etiquette standards of that past prioritized making guests feel special. The extra flourishes weren’t overdone or “too much,” but rather a way of showing friends, family and acquaintances just how much their presence was valued.

It doesn’t have to be stuffy, though. The key is putting a modern spin on these old-school techniques to create parties that feel fresh and fun but still classic and memorable.

For more hosting tips, check out this story from the inRegister archives.