Embrace the unique feel and flavor of the South for your next event with these entertaining tips.
Make your next event a Southern-inspired success
Planning a big family gathering or an intimate get-together with friends? Make your next social occasion memorable, enjoyable and delicious by infusing it with a little Southern style and hospitality.
A new twist on iced tea
Iced tea is perhaps the most well known beverage enjoyed by families in the South. But just because it’s common doesn’t mean it has to be ordinary. Add a different note of flavor by adding fruit to sweetened tea. Fresh raspberries, lemons or blueberries work well.
Add a touch of formal elegance
Southern dining strikes a unique balance between formal and relaxed. Play upon this dynamic — while making your guests feel even more special — with the use of place cards and neatly folded napkins. Using assigned seating at the dinner table also gives you a chance to help guests interact with people they might not have otherwise gotten to know.
Comfort food is always appropriate
Southern cuisine relies heavily on hearty favorites that are as filling as they are familiar. Fried meats and fish, vegetables, mashed potatoes, rich sauces and gravies and barbecued meat can all add a delightful bit of Southern flair to casual and formal gatherings alike. For additional ideas, including healthy takes on Southern classics, visit websites like Southern Living and Cooking Light.
Indulge your sweet tooth with multiple desserts
In the South, desserts are treated with as much fanfare as the rest of the meal, with multiple options to satisfy guests. Consider offering a diverse selection with a fruit-based dessert, a chocolate-based dessert and sweet finger foods like cookies or shortbread. At least one pie or cake should be included in the mix.
Surround guests with a natural environment
Surround your guests in a relaxing environment full of natural elements. Use lush, leafy greenery as a table accent, accompanied by a vase of greens or flowers as a centerpiece. If possible, use neutral or pastel colors in your tablecloth, napkins and other decorations. Complete the theme with a fresh sprig of mint in every glass of iced tea.
Keep calm and party on
Southern parties are often known for having a relaxed, fun atmosphere. The best way to create that environment in your own home is to set the mood yourself. Plan everything far enough in advance that you can greet your guests with a calm smile and enjoy your party in a casual, stress-free manner.
For the latest thinking in southern home architecture and design, check out the Southern Living Idea House, the former home of country music star Barbara Mandrell.