One of my biggest inspirations for entertaining comes from a scene in Breakfast at Tiffany’s where Holly slips a handwritten note under Paul’s door inviting him over for drinks. I love everything about it—the personal note, the impromptu invite, the throw-it-all-together-at-the-last-minute attitude. It’s all wildly inspiring to me. As a recovering perfectionist and a chronic over thinker, spontaneous entertaining is one of the sharpest tools in my h(om)e practice because it asks me to go with the flow.
Winging it the day of means I don’t have time to plan—I can’t obsess over the details or project my expectations onto the end result. I’m forced to make gut decisions, which is really, really good for me because, and I feel like I’ve said this already, I’m a planner. Don’t get me wrong, planning isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it’s the planning behind an event, be it big or small, that creates the space into which everyone (most notably the hostess) can relax. But there’s something really special about a last minute get-together because it’s not about the plan—it’s about the moment.
I try to embrace any practice that teaches me to keep it simple. For an impromptu gathering, it’s a quick trip to the store for some cheese and then off to Chambers Street Wines for their trusted guidance with a wine pairing. This beautiful pyramid goat cheese from Valençay (you can find it at WholeFoods) reminds me of when I lived in the Loire Valley, where goat cheese and a bottle of local wine, like a Chinon or a Vouvray, graced every table. Chambers Street Wines recommended Éxilé from Domaine Lise et Bertrand Jousset. A white wine from Val de Loire, it’s crisp and dry and goes perfectly with the cheese!
As much as I love me a big cheese plate, it can end up consuming the entire evening (granted, in the best possible way). I like the idea of only serving one cheese, especially if your get-together is a pit stop in a larger evening. In France, the cheese course is rarely an all you can eat cheese buffet. It might just be one cheese—something local, something beloved—served with love.
A casual hangout also calls for a casual table setting. I love drinking wine out of small glasses because it makes the ritual of wine beautifully ordinary. These pretty green glasses from Canvas Home are simple and versatile. I also love the practicality of dark napkins, like these dark grey linen napkins—they’re a staple of easy entertaining. Add some flowers to the table, light a candle, and you’re in business.
A great bottle of wine, a great cheese, and great company is the perfect recipe for a casual, last minute get-together. Let everything unfold organically. Trust your instincts and enjoy the feeling of going with the creative flow. Life is busy, but it’s also too short not to make time for friends. It doesn’t have to be fancy, it just has to be sincere. So send a text to your neighbor, your coworker, your friend and invite them over for a drink. Throw it all together with heart and then kick back and enjoy the company.