4 Essentials for Memorable Entertaining

4 Essentials for Memorable Entertaining

I really enjoy intentional and meaningful entertaining. I love to create a environment where special details are thought out and pretty tables are set, where we’ve picked up our dirty laundry and tidied up the house a bit, but nothing is perfect, intimidating or fancy. The goal for me in entertaining isn’t entertaining people (because let’s be honest, I’m not all that talented or funny) but rather setting up the time and experience for meaningful connection to take place.

Here are four of my entertaining essentials:

1. Pretty Centerpieces.

Whether I’m using what I have from around the house or creating something seasonal, I always try to set the table with something pretty and unique.

2. Eclectic Mix of Dishes.

I don’t own a complete set of any dishes, but I think a mix is what makes it fun, informal and imperfect. I collect various white dishes and they work well with just about any other dishes that I find. I like to pick up a few special, seasonal, colored or patterned plates or serving dishes to mix in for different occasions. It’s fun to have pretty dishes for display on the wall, on my open shelves, and in glass cabinets, too.

3. Tasty Food.

Even though I’m no gourmet chef, I do love to eat! So sharing good food together is one of the most important parts of a great gathering. We usually set up a fun theme and make even simple food a memorable part of the occasion.

4. A Festive Mood.

It’s fun to create a festive mood to help everyone to relax, feel welcomed and set the tone for a memorable time together.

My friends at the LoveFeast shop always have some very special and inspiring items for entertaining. Some of my personal favorite items from their shop are of course the squishable velvet or linen Plush Pumpkins, the French wine barrel lid platter (it is so useful and really amazing quality!), the Fiddle Bow Knife, and those lovely handcrafted dishes in the photos below (I’m putting those on my Christmas list).

4 Essentials for Memorable Entertaining

Wouldn’t these be gorgeous on shelves or on a wall, too?

4 Essentials for Memorable Entertaining

Today the LoveFeast girls are offering one lucky reader a special $200 Fall shopping credit to their LoveFeast shop. YAY! Be sure to check out all of their beautiful home decor, too.

To enter, please tell me in the comments about one of your most memorable gatherings (that you’ve hosted or attended!). 

*GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED!*

PS. I also did a fun interview with LoveFeast for their blog today, so be sure to go check it out!

This giveaway in sponsored by LoveFeast.

Come back tomorrow for Part 2 of my Fall Home Tour! If you missed Part 1, click here to catch up!

4 Essentials for Memorable Entertaining

Comments

  1. Hi! I once hosted a wine party for my girlfriends that turned out beautiful! It was the perfect time of year to pick hydrangeas for the table. What a wonderful giveaway from LoveFeast!

  2. Christi {Jealous Hands} says:

    Our best gatherings are always in the Fall – we had a blast last year hosting a chili bar with several friends & their families. Such a fun giveaway!

  3. One of the most meaningful gatherings at my home was Christmas Eve dinner for my husband and myself, plus our best friends. The whole day was wonderful as my husband and I spent the morning together prepping the food, setting the table, listening to Christmas music and enjoying each other’s company. The dinner was delicious, the setting was festive and the company was fantastic.

  4. Thanksgiving is my favorite thing to host. I just adore fall andentertaining so Thanksgiving is perfect.

  5. One year when my four kids were smaller, we hosted Thanksgiving @ our house. Their great grandmother, grandparents, aunts & uncles were all attending. The kids helped make little turkey place card holders & wrote everyone’s name on them. We set the table with candles, mini mums & cloth napkins. The table was so festive & it did set the mood as something extra special. It was a great day that I (& I hope they) will always remember.

  6. I put together a lovely mother’s day brunch this past year. It was very relaxed, and we played bubbles with the kids after eating.

  7. Christmas Eve is a big to do at my house! Everything is done fondu style! Appetizer: cheese fondue; main course: shrimp & steak fondu; dessert: chocolate fountain. Plus everyone has their own bottle of sparkling cider. Add that to the classic Christmas music, the sparkling lights, festive center pieces, and it’s a memorable holiday event!

  8. Peggy karrasch says:

    I love to do lunches with my girlfriends. I deck out the table for the season..centerpieces, dishes, napkin rings and napkins, and of course a little favor for the guests. In Spring they loved the gardening gloves and seeds.

  9. The most memorable get+together I can think of is the Thanksgiving after my mom passed away. It was her favorite holiday and she loved the food. My dad and Aunt and my family got together and made everything the way she loved it. You’d think it would have been bittersweet, but we honestly just remembered how much fun and love we had, and still have, for each other.

  10. We threw a “Welcome to Richmond” party when some college friends moved to town. We had 22 at one really long table that stretched out the dining room door into the front entry! So so fun. It is ALL about the connecting and not the perfection of food or “stuff” (thank goodness!) but I always try to set a pretty table.

  11. My most recent memorable gathering was recently –with our new pastor’s wife. I decided to invite her for lunch. I figured she’d be too busy, and that she probably had been invited a million places, but I took the chance anyway, and she said yes. We sat for hours and chatted at the lunch table – and I was so glad I had taken the time to set a pretty table with colorful foods, since we never moved from the kitchen! What fun we had getting to know one another!
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  12. I love sitting out on our deck with friends (especially this time of year) and just enjoying one another’s company. A few candles, warm beverages and a little music makes for a wonderful atmosphere!

  13. oh, I love to host Thanksgiving! It’s all about food and fun and family! Thanks for the opportunity.

  14. My favorite gathering has recently been our family Thanksgivings. I had never made Thanksgiving dinner all by myself before and a couple of years ago, I started. It was an intimate affair including my husband and 2 small children, but I still pulled out the china and allowed the kids to have “breakable” glasses! They loved it and the table was set so lovely that I can’t wait to do it again.

  15. I hosted a cookie party for a few years in a row. I loved having my close girl friends over for a night of talking and enjoying each others company. It was also nice to have holiday cookies for the rest of the season. Thanks for the giveaway!

  16. My three teens, husband and myself had a wonderful dinner with a ninty year old Italian gentleman in his home in Ashcille, N.C. We walked in and he said we do not have drinks and appetizers in Italy, we immediately sit at the table and have conversation and food. We began with a simple pasta course, then soup, then meat and potatoes, then salad, then cheese, fruit and chocolates. Our whole family agrees that dinner at Ginaro’s was one of the most memorable meals that we ever enjoyed. It was the combination of food, fellowship and hospitality.

  17. A recent tea party with our young girls. Yummy foods, unrushed time together, a beautifully set table… They helped with food and setting the table. It was a fun time enjoying giggles and hearts.

  18. I love hosting birthday parties for my kiddos. It’s important to me for them to have a wonderful day filled with their family and favorite things (even if it is Elmo!). I go all out and love every minute :)

    I love your blog! xo

  19. My grandpa’s 90th birthday celebration. Dinner was a potluck cook out served on the dishes in the big old house we rented and dessert was chocolate cake followed by smores cooked around a fire pit in the yard. I love pretty plates and nice centerpieces, but it’s the people (and the food) that really matter!

  20. Love hosting Christmas morning breakfast. It’s been many years now since we hosted as the kids have gotten older and aren’t up at 5am, but love all the excitement in the air of Christmas and yummy food.

  21. I have a fond memory of hosting Thanksgiving one year when my boys were younger, and letting them make the place cards. They decorated them with drawings of each guest.

  22. Suzie Reilly says:

    I love to have people over and use beautiful dishes and interesting centerpieces. Each fall I have a “Women I’m Thankful For” luncheon where I invite the most important women in my life. There is always good food and good fun. One year, after eating our lunch, we made gingerbread houses for Christmas. We always have a good time and it give me a chance to give back something small to the women who are so meaningful to me.

  23. I hosted a wine tasting with the theme of “weiners and wine” for all of my girlfriends. We had gourmet hot dogs and wine! It was a great time of merriment and togetherness.

  24. We were blessed to host a Christmas-time gathering of all our family in which our now son-in-law proposed to our daughter! It was very special and a forever memory!

  25. Cheryl Miller says:

    Our family always hosts Christmas because our son Nicholas was born on Christmas Day, so it turns out to be a Christmas and birthday celebration all in one!

  26. One of my favorite times of the year, Thanksgiving. Giving thanks for all we have and food on the table. It was my father’s last Thanksgiving, and he died 12/12/01. But my father-in-law stole the show when he put potpourri on his plate to eat! Out of all the food, he chose potpourri instead! He said it looked dry! LOL

  27. The first New Years Eve after we bought our first house I hosted a party for about 40 people, my first with that size group. We had our Christmas tree up and the house and tables decorated. It was special to see how much fun everyone had and how comfortable they were in our new home.

  28. For breakfast while the kids were small, we asked a friend for breakfast and he was a big storyteller. I poured him another cup of coffee, sliced another piece of coffeecake to nibble on. He began, “this is a true story.” He proceeded to narrate a long tale about his encounter with Sasquatch. All three kids sat quietly, glued to his face. When he finished, he said he best be going and if they had any questions. Not a one said a word. Until our friend had pulled out of the driveway and then they peppered me with questions: but you said Sasquatch was a hoax, does he live in the mountains up there, where we go camping, can we go hunting for his footprints, mom but you said . . . .

    Is it true? I really can’t say which is no comfort when you are backpacking, I know

  29. Last Christmas I forced myself to host a dinner at my daughters request. My husband had past away 5 months prior and I just thought I wasn’t up to the task. I decorated the table with my best dishes and candles. We made turkey with all the trimmings and invited a few friends that would be alone for the holidays.
    It turned out to be a lovely evening that brought a little bit of joy back in our lives.

  30. My most memorable gathering was when I had my husbands extended family to our home for Easter dinner – it was our first time hosting for a big holiday meal, and our first time ever hosting more then a few people in our new home. We had to get very creative – in the end our tv and dining room was crammed with tables and chairs for 20 people! There wasn’t any space left, but it made for a pretty intimate meal! With the limited space on the table I added some simple flowers in milk vases and some candles and it was lovely!

  31. Shelley Krupa says:

    My favorite gathering is every time I am able to have our family together. My daughter and her new husband live in Austin now that they’re married So every time they come to our home I love to decorate and set the table beautifully and enjoy sitting around and sharing conversation. So really, every time we get together is a great gathering time! Family gathered round the table laughing and sharing good times is always the perfect gathering for me. :-)

  32. I love entertaining. But, for me the best gatherings always involve our five grandchildren. Cooking for them always makes me smile. They enjoy helping me in the kitchen and I love having them help prepare the meal. Thank you for the giveaway opportunity. Hugs
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  33. We had a party to introduce my husband’s family to our newborn son. I had never hosted a party before as we were only in our mid-20s and most of our friends were still going out to clubs. Thank goodness my parents were able to help us with the party…I had no idea how to coordinate the food and how even set up for a party. Thanks especially to my mom – I learned how to throw a great party and we’ve been throwing parties for many years now! We’ve recently moved and we are looking forward to having parties with our new neighbors and friends :-)

  34. Memorable? Any get together with my closest friends and family – I love to experiment with the menu and then relax and laugh.

  35. I like to host a Christmas brunch for our friends that do not have family close by and others that have to work Christmas day. They are able to stop by and hopefully feel like that have spent time with their extended famly on the holiday.

  36. Recently, my husband, three daughters and I set the coffee table for dinner and had a fun and cosy meal in front of the living room fireplace. We had zinnias from the garden and we sat on pillows. They want to do it again.

  37. One of my most memorable gatherings is the first Thanksgiving I hosted at my house after giving birth to my son. I had hosted it here for a few preceding years, but everyone kept asking over and over whether I was sure I wanted to do it since we had a new baby. I wouldn’t miss it. I trimmed the menu and planned ahead, so I could cook as much as possible in advance and avoid a frenzy on Thanksgiving Day. The vegetables weren’t perfect, and the baby cried a lot; but that Thanksgiving, as I was again surrounded by my loved ones, I was humbled and grateful that — of all the places in the world they could choose to be — they chose my home. As long as I’m able, I look forward to my house being the place to be on Thanksgiving.

  38. Kara Kieran says:

    A birthday celebration for my grandma who lived a couple states away. It was loud and crazy and full of love. It was also the last time I saw her before she died. Those are memories that I will cherish forever!

  39. One of our most memorable gatherings was our son’s first birthday. I had just recovered from the horrible flu and was afraid it wouldn’t happen….our friends gathered and took care of everything…including me and our little boy!

  40. It was the Sunday before Thanksgiving. I attended a small church and knew that a few others that attended would spend the holiday alone. I asked my pastor to announce that anyone with out a place to go on Thanksgiving was welcome to come to my house for dinner.

    Little did I expect 60 people to show up!

    It was a day that lives in my heart.

  41. Most memorable was when I hosted christmas of 2012, was the last christmas with my dear sweet grandfather. Miss him so. I feel like I was given a gift from up above , I got to spend his last last christmas together. Tender sweet memories:)

  42. Just this weekend we had a cousin and a friend overnight. I cooked for the men, and they were busy trading stories. It was rustic, with great fall decorations of gourds, mini pumpkins, and mason jar candles filled with layers of dried corn, black beans, and lentils. Rain forced the shish kabobs to be done in the oven, but that just filled the house with lovely fragrance of roasting herbs and spices. A simple but welcoming evening for all.

  43. One of my most memorable gatherings was our first family dinner with our immediate family and my parents just after we purchased our second home. Our 1st home was 800 Sq ft and we had just had our second child, things were claustrophobic! I obsessed over getting into our current home but it had an accepted offer (with a bump) & another party that had just gone through for their 3rd time and we’re ready to write an offer too! We ended up getting an accepted offer but it was 5 months before the sellers would be put so it was very special after we were finally in and settled! That dinner was my sigh of relief! :)

  44. Thanksgiving is a special time for us — the gathering, food and I always prepare a game and craft for after the meal — everyone enjoys this time together.

  45. Cheryl Mayers says:

    My most memorable entertaining was Christmas Day 1990 when my mom broke her hip leaving Midnight Mass. She was in the hospital and couldn’t come to our house to celebrate my oldest daughter’s first Christmas so instead we brought Christmas to her, dinner and all. We used my good china, delicious food, had decorations and the works!! If you didn’t know it was a hospital room you never would of guessed, sadly my mom passed away on New Year’s Eve 2006 and I miss her more everyday!!

  46. Dede Jackson says:

    My most memorable gathering. We returned from living in the middle east a couple of years ago. We really missed being around family at Thanksgiving, so we decided to get together with a few other American families living in Doha, Qatar with us and we hosted service men and women from the army base in Doha. What joy to be with 100 or so men and women who were serving our country and who like us were far away from family as well. A blessing for us all!!!

  47. I love the Fall, especially Halloween. I had a big costume party the first year after I was married, 9 years ago. The house was decked out in spooky decor, with fog machines, and all sorts of cool lighting. We had a blast. Now that I have kids I try to make Halloween more happy festive now than spooky. But I will be taking out my fog machine this year.

  48. Cynthia Lester says:

    My husband and I both come from large families so there have been many wonderful holidays spent with them. Either us hosting, or one of the other member’s of the family. My favorite, but bittersweet Thanksgiving was in 1995. My Mom had just passed away on October 30th after a fairly brief but intense illness. We had my family at our house for Thanksgiving. We were all still “shell-shocked” after what we had been through with our Mom. And my Grandmother (my Mom’s Mom) was with us. She would pass away just 6 months later. It was so sad, but yet great to be together. And we felt our Mom there with us.

  49. our most memorable gathering is definitely thanksgiving. it is four days of everyone clearing their schedules and being “home”! it is such a joy to see our three granddaughters and the excitement of the holiday!

  50. My family used to rent a fabulous cottage every year, for the Thanksgiving weekend…those beautiful memories are tied to my heart…firing up the old wood stove to cook our meals..lots of love, laugher and very full tummies!! *perfect* – thank you for the excellent giveaway, cheers, Valerie :)

  51. A favorite gathering is our annual pre-Halloween dinner. I decorate and keep the food festive and fun for kids and adults. My girls and I love collecting themed dishes and decorations for our party.

  52. Tanya Hulbert says:

    Last Thanksgiving was the very first I had ever hosted and made a turkey. Everything was put together so lovely and I even made homemade bread. Family was over and it was a lovely time. Thank you for the chance. What beautiful items these gals make.

  53. I love Christmas at my house! It used to be super traditional ~yawn~ until my cousin married a Chinese woman. We now invite her and her ENTIRE family over. With many cooks in our family it means course after course of creative dishes. From vegan (me), to traditional Christmas, to Chinese dumplings, to Estonian cuisine, everyone makes something to represent there tastes and culture and it ends up being the most wonderful feast. A trip around the world at our dinner table.

  54. I just hosted a couple of friends who flew in for a few days of just hanging out, hiking, eating, fall colors viewing, making bowls and dishes out of air dry clay (this was so much fun!), attending a concert and just relaxing and catching up. It was a great time together, something we don’t do often with out busy lives and busy families. Dishes and bowls are a weakness of mine! But friends are a strength builder!

  55. I hosted 6 of my high school girlfriends for a long weekend. It’s been 35 years since we graduated but we talked and laughed like it was yesterday!

  56. Madelaine Smith says:

    There is something magical when you walk into a party and find that the host/hostess has staged the table and food island in some special way…that they invested time and imagination instantly creates a feeling of happiness and party-tude for me. It makes me feel valued, special and that this will, indeed, be “a memorable occasion”. For those book club nights that I was hosting, I always tried to create a presentation (including food choices) that mimicked the feeling of the book. If the location was set in a small village in France, I would choose geraniums in clay pots, bistro tablecloths, champagne and candles. If it was set in the dunes of Cape Cod, I would create a beach on my island with sand, shells, driftwood, lanterns and serve the nosh items in shell plates and bowls. It is fun to be a hostess as well as a guest at events that show special thought and attention!

  57. This tradition unfortunately ended when I moved to Nashville 4 years ago but up until then, I hosted an annual Chili and Doughnut Night for friends. It’s such a strange but fantastic combination. We’d usually share what God had been teaching us over the past year and it was so cool to see the ways returning guests were growing and learning. People still talk about these gatherings!
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  58. It was Thanksgiving and our family hosted several Marines from our area to celebrate and Thank the Lord for our Country, Family and Their Service to our Country. It was an amazing time. It was great for my children to serve, play games, pray and lift up these wonderful men who were homesick. We created wonderful memories and shared the gospel as well. We still correspond with these men today. Happy Thanksgiving Everyone.
    I love the velvet pumpkins. Ordered a few myself.

  59. Tonya Broddle says:

    I recently went to a dinner party at a friend’s house where the table was beautifully set, the conversation was amazing and we laughed until our jaws were sore!

  60. We had a Tea at my church as a fundraiser. I sponsored one of the tables and decorated it with my antique Currier and Ives dinnerware from my husbands grandmother and from hunting down the rest at numerous antique stores through the years. My theme was Lunch at the Farm. I had a bright red country check tablecloth and pulled out my mason jars, red paper straws, chalkboard and all my collected farmhouse decor. It was a blast. On top of all the fun, I won the prize for top table decor. Now I have a reputation to uphold at our church. Can’t wait until next year.

  61. Thanksgiving dinner when all of my kids were in the same room. I got a chance to decorate the table and make it special.

  62. One of the most memorable dinners we’ve had the pleasure of having actually took place years ago. We had good food, a beautiful table, and a mix of friends that was exciting and spontaneous. Sometime in the evening someone asked the question “What was your happiest moment in your life?” and we agreed that a candle would be passed from friend to friend and who ever had the candle had the floor, so to speak. By the end of the night, we had candle wax all over the place and we had laughed and gotten to know each other better than we thought possible. We still talk about the night of the candle-passing.

  63. My favorite gatherings are the times my Nana makes a big spaghetti dinner for her whole family. :) I love those times.

  64. Those plates are fabulous. They remind me of agate slices. My most memorable gathering was for my grandmother’s 90th birthday. It was the last large gathering where we were all together before she passed away. I’ll always remember how happy she was that day :)
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  65. I love having my family here at Thanksgiving and Christmas. All are memorable in one way or another, but one that was extra special was Thanksgiving a few years ago. My son wanted to deep fat fry our turkey which involves peanut oil. Since one of my granddaughters has a peanut allergy, I served each grandchild with their own special capon. I’ll never forget the look on their eyes when they saw they had their very own turkey!

  66. Rebecca Musser says:

    I remember a Christmas day gathering my family and I hosted when we were not able to travel to visit our extended family for the holidays as had been our tradition. We invited some other families who also had no relatives near by. It was a sweet time that made us feel not so alone.

  67. I’m still in college and live home with my parents while at school, so I haven’t been able to host my own events in my own place, but I love Christmas Eve every year at my Aunt’s house. Seeing my cousins is the best and the Christmas spirit and season makes everything that much better.

  68. carol clark says:

    I will never forget it was my maw maw’s 80 surprise birthday party and the whole family showed up and we found lost friends for her to see it was so fun the joy and smiles that day is still with me when i think of it she was so happy and thrilled

  69. Made a huge pot of chili & from-scratch cake for my nieces birthday recently. So much fun!

  70. While travelling in the UK one December, my sister and I had a most enjoyable Christmas celebration with a group of strangers! We were all staying at one of the youth hostels in Bath, England. One of the guests was a chef and prepared a scrumptious meal and we celebrated traditions from around the world with our new friends!

  71. We have hosted a Christmas brunch for my in-laws for years. We serve casseroles, fresh fruit, oven-roasted shrimp + so forth + so on. Lately, I’ve been adding pitchers filled with mimosas, which is very festive! Such a coincidence the beautiful plates are featured — we just painted our powder room a medium-dark-ish gray, + it needs a plate wall. I was about to head over to etsy + see what I could find!
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  72. I had my family over for a Christmas dinner, I had a beautiful tablescape as well as my entire home decorated. My family agreed that it looked like it was out of the pages of a magazine.

  73. I just hosted a 30th birthday party for my husband. He said it was his best birthday ever. We had a bonfire, a cookout, cake, and a piñata. It was a blast.

  74. Since high school, I have not lived near my family (just outside of Seattle:) and have taken on the role of “orphan” for many Thanksgivings spent with family friends in NYC when I was living in Boston and now hosting my own for friends w/o families around in Denver. Last year, my husband and I invited some friends to join us at the most quintessential cabin in the mountains. I prepared as much as I could before we left because the cabin kitchen is TINY! We jumped in the car early Thanksgiving morning and started cooking when we got there. We started a fire, hand-churned some cinnamon ice cream to go with the pie, listened to music, read books, and more. Although I would love to be with my family, I love how these gatherings are a reminder of how many lovely people surround me and how fortunate I am for all the things that I have and to be able to get away from the hustle and bustle in “our” little cabin in the woods.

  75. Fall gahering with friends. Pulled pork sandwiches and lots of misc. side dishes and dessets. Curved pumpkins and played games.

  76. Every year I host a BIG halloween party. It started out for my kids and their friends and it just grew from there. Now the whole neighborhood enjoys coming!

  77. “The goal for me in entertaining isn’t entertaining people (because let’s be honest, I’m not all that talented or funny) but rather setting up the time and experience for meaningful connection to take place.”

    I might put this on a sign for my house! I hate the word entertaining. It makes me think of trained monkey. But setting up a place for meaningful connections? Definitely! Most memorable events? Back deck, wine, candles, and close friends.
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  78. Our friends hosted a going away party for us. We will never forget the cake! It was a huge decorated ‘suitcase’ cake. It had our most memorable events together emblazed all over it. Lots of friends/food and a live band! We will never forget that party!

  79. Katherine Gormley says:

    I decided one Friday morning I’d have a dinner party – that Saturday night. So I sent an email to anyone I thought might be around and suddenly we were 17 people! It was a great mix of friends old and new who could all walk to our house, many who had not yet met. The food was casual but delicious, the conversations full of laughter and we had seats for everyone around 2 tables. The best part was that I didn’t stress over it for days – this was the most fun party I have ever thrown and the guests were laughing that I pulled it off in less than 2 days. I even managed to paint a wall that had been waiting for paint for a year and a half and the inside of my china cabinet (parties are a great incentive to get jobs done around the house)!

  80. Christmas Eve dinner with my husband and two children last year… the table was set simply but beautifully. Greenery, candles, white dishes, quiet Christmas music playing, delicious food and family all together. It doesn’t get any better!

  81. Teddi Pettigrew says:

    When we moved to Singapore a few years back, we hosted a going away party with Singapore slings, Tiger beer and of course, dragon fruit to eat and for decorations! Big colorful paper lanterns hung everywhere and we set up several large paper umbrellas so guests could take pictures for us to take on our adventure. A magical night!

  82. We host a summer solstice party on ohr deck each year on the first day of summer.

  83. Lisa Cooper says:

    Years ago, while living in Germany, I attended a dinner party at a castle. It was candle lit and festive and I felt that I had gone back centuries in time.

  84. My most memorable gathering was hosting all of my college students for Thansgiving Dinner in Kiev, Ukraine. They were so excited! They were talking among themselves about how much food I had bought to prepare, and we’re convinced the other students not in my class were peering in the windows while we ate and talked. I will never forget it.

  85. Every July we host a potluck on our site at Ocean Overlook Campground. We a close group of several couples. Our day is very informal, with a ‘Margaritaville’ theme. Everyone cooks something fabulous and there’s always too much food and not enough time. It’s not the decorations or fine dinnerware that makes a gathering so special, it’s the time spent with the people you love that makes it a perfect occasion. Paper plates and laughter go together just fine. Must be a success, because everyone looks forward to it every year. We will be closing our place in October and going home to Massachusetts to our 16 grandchildren and their wonderful parents that we have missed…..BUT by February we will be longing for May to join our ‘Maine Family’ again.

  86. My husband and I got married almost a year ago. We had our rehearsal dinner on a Thursday night then held a family party at our house the night before our wedding. It was so much fun to have all of our bridal party and close family in a casual setting before one of the most important days of our lives! We had great comfort food (ribs!) and great company. It was the perfect way to set the tone for one of the best weekends of my life :)

  87. For my 50th birthday several years ago now, I held a Croning Ceremony with my BFFs to celebrate my moving into midlife wisdom years.

  88. Our favorite gathering is homemade pizza night at home. My husband makes the pizzas on the grill and they keep coming out all night long -delish!

  89. my brother and sister in law insisted on hosting thanksgiving in their basement while their kitchen was being remodeled. with no expectations in mind, the cozy low ceiling in the basement added to the charm of being in close quarters with family and friends enjoying good food and laughter with candle light flickering. what can be more memorable?

  90. Christmas dinner has always been my favorite. Christmas music in the background, beautiful place settings, awesome company, delicious food, and as always a fun new game to play after dinner.

  91. My favorite gatherings are always at my Mom’s house because she always puts love into amazing tablescapes as well as the homemade food! Thanks so much for the chance to win!

  92. your tablescape looks beautiful. a few thanksgivings ago, we had a..shall we say lively…discussion on different political topics. it didn’t start that way, it just ended up there. it was so awkward, lol!
    b
    the cape on the corner recently posted..The front is fall-ifiedMy Profile

  93. Just has a Celebration of Life gathering for my Mother in law. She wanted a joyous party that all the grandchildren would remember fondly. Lots of food, flowers & fun. Those dishes from LoveFeast would have taken a special place at that party!

  94. My sisters wedding at our old family farm last summer. Simple but meaningful decor, candlelit and just lovely.

  95. I am a newly wed so our wedding has to be the best event I have hosted AND attended! It was 200 of our friends and family, hosted in a beautiful historic landmark. I loved all the details and every minute of the day.

  96. The most memorable gathering I’ve ever hosted was a fondue party for my family of four (two kids) with friends and their two kids. We served both steak and cheese fondues. The kids wrote out “penalties” for those whose steak cubes or bread cubes fell off the forks into the cooking oil or cheese. Since the kids were between 8 and 10 years old, you can imagine how hilarious the penalties were. (I won’t reveal who had to “shoot the moon” at the front door, but I will say he was 8 years old.) We sat at the table and cooked steak (with a few mishaps) and dipped crusty bread cubes into the melty cheese for hours, laughing and telling stories and indulging the kids. Best time I ever had at the dinner table.

  97. One of our daughters and her family live far away. Two years ago they were able to come east to visit us here in New England. On one of the weekends, we took all of them and many of our other grandkids up to a large log cabin on a lake. It was a wonderful time as I and my daughters took turns fixing meals, the dads took turns with family devotions, and so on. One night we celebrated “Christmas” since we are never together for that holiday. We had previously drawn names and bought and wrapped dollar store gifts — even brought along a little Christmas tree and a string of lights for the fireplace mantel. What fun we had. Unforgettable memories were made that weekend!
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  98. Aside from hosting my family…one of the events I hosted that I will never forget is the Spring Event I held at my home with Mindy Gledhill who shared her talents with over 200 women . Great music, good food and lots of sharing. Happy Day
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  99. I hosted a surprise 75th birthday celebration for my mother years ago. Surprise is the key word because she lives with us, and I was able to pull off the surprise. It was an open house party with floating hours from one until six. It was my favorite party I have ever thrown because so many of my mother’s family and friends attended, and it was the last time she saw so many of them. I still love looking at the photos, and seeing the faces of those no longer with us tugs at my heart.
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  100. I love to entertain too! One of my favorites- a roll your own sushi night!
    I would love something from love feast to make our space more inviting!

  101. We’ve had many Thanksgivings when the rooms are full of people and chairs have pulled from every room. They are wonderful memories.

  102. I love having people over to play games and a good BBQ! I’m a newlywed and recently moved to a place where we actually have some space to comfortably entertain, it’s a completely new thing to me because we never did that growing up.

  103. We hosted the our first thanksgiving in our new home…with an actual REAL dining room ;) It was glorious!! And to make it even better, we have room in our house now to sleep our family and guests so the party can continue!!!

  104. My most memorable gathering was Thanksgiving seven years ago…we had extended family over (aka big crowd) and I had prepared a buffet..everything from hors d’oeuvres to dessert.
    With the feast spread on a ‘festooned’ (aka well-disguised closet door laid across 2 sawhorses) table, everyone was so gracious with compliments to the chef and decorator (both disguised as me).
    We spent hours that day around the dinner table laughing, sharing, and being thankful.
    Ever grateful for that day which I’ll never forget as it was my mother’s last Thanksgiving on earth with us. But now she gets to offer thanks, daily, in heaven!:)

  105. Lauren Hail says:

    Thanksgivings are usually my most memorable gatherings. My grandmother used to host beautiful thanksgivings, complete with table linens and silver. I will cherish those memories. Hopefully someday I will host thanksgiving like that.

  106. I love Fall!!! I enjoy decorating for Thanksgiving each year and sharing this holiday with my family. I especially love burning my fall candles in my home to add to the celebration.

  107. One of my favorite gatherings occurred every time we visited my gradparent’s house. We would always linger around their kitchen table well after our meal was over. Usually over fresh-baked cookies or apple pie my Nana had made, and coffee. I have since inherited that table and it is now the place where my husband and I enjoy gathering our growing brood. It is especially precious as my grandpa made the table in his workshop in the basement of their home. What a gift! Thank you for letting me share! :)

  108. Yes, centerpieces wow me every time! My favorite was an Easter dinner with grass, forsythia and daffodils creatively growing on the table!
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  109. I went to my friend’s farm house for a visitation for her father who passed away. It was not at all like I thought. His favorite music was playing and old videos were showing outside. Dr. Pepper bottles and peanuts were served with other food at long tables he had made from tractor equipment. Over 100 people were happily telling how much he meant to them. It was a true celebration of his life, and I left really feeling like I got to know him.

  110. One of my most memorable meals was many years ago and shared with my best friends. Our families had shared Thanksgiving Dinner since before our children were grown. As usual, everyone shared in the preparation of traditional Thanksgiving foods, including the kids who were now all teenagers. What made the meal very special was knowing it was likely the last Thanksgiving we would share with everyone together. One of the boys was going off to college and the others would shortly follow. The demands on our families and the distance we lived from each other were increasing. We had talked about all the reasons this would be hard to do. During grace before eating, we all shared something we were thankful for. Looking around the table, seeing these wonderful soon-to-be adults, all anxious to get started on the exciting things coming their way, I couldn’t help but think I wanted to remember this and, all the other wonderful times we had spent together, in my heart forever!

  111. I remember a dinner one stormy Valentine’s Day, when the power went out. We all helped make dinner by candlelight, and after eating sat on the enclosed porch talking and looking at the night sky.

  112. Good morning!
    I am a new follower/reader!
    My most memorable gatherings happen to occur at Christmas time. My cousin hosts it every year and it is the only time our big family is all together. The mood in the house is always festive and fun. She decorates her 10 foot tall tree with deep reds, golds and greens. It is elegant, but she always adds touches of the unexpected! The most memorable parts include the sounds of the kids laughing and the smell of all the baked goods sitting in the kitchen, waiting to be devoured!! Every time I smell a cinnamon candle, it takes me back :)
    Have a great day!
    Thanks
    Rachel

  113. judyking811 says:

    For the last 5 years I have helped my daughter (now 27) host “HandHeld Thanksgiving”. Many of the attendees are my adult children’s friends that are not able to go home for Thanksgiving. The “HandHeld” part was my daughter’s idea – ALL the food is finger food with a Thanksgiving theme. We’ve had turkey drumsticks, turkey sliders, turkey wings, stuffins (stuffing muffins), mac n’ cheese balls, green bean casserole skewers…it gets VERY creative and is SO much fun! The group has grown from 12 -15 the first year to as many as 40 some years. Everyone participates and looks forward to it every year!!

  114. My favorite gatherings are when all of my nieces and nephews are here. The noise, the mayhem, the craziness! I love it!

  115. Pam Ballard says:

    What a wonderful giveaway. I think for me attending a wedding in Israel was the highlight so far. Not just for the religious aspects but the feast and decorations were amazing. Thanks for the chance at this.

  116. When I went to North Carolina to visit my sister over my birthday weekend, she threw a birthday dinner for me with all of their friends. It was so fun to get to know everyone!

  117. Connie Harper says:

    The last Thanksgiving I spent with my Mom before she passed away. It was a beautiful day of relaxation, conversation, and love. I’ll always remember that special day.

  118. Every gathering of friends and family is special because life is short, and meant to be shared. Full joy happens when folks are gathered together. I especially loved my family vacations at my parents lake cabin. It was when my parents were healthy and the one time a year I would see my brother and his children. The cabin is no longer in the family but the memories still are.

  119. My most memorable gathering was the first Thanksgiving in our first house. I was responsible for most of the cooking, including preparing and cooking the turkey. Up until that point, I had a made a grill cheese sandwich and cooked a pot of box macaroni and cheese. I just thought it would be fun to give the turkey a try and had invited most of my family over. The turkey turned out great and the company was amazing. We had the best Thanksgiving that year.

  120. Jenny Hitchcock says:

    The party was a surprise progressive dinner party for a friend’s 50th birthday!!

  121. I love setting and making our home cozy and memorable for my family every Thanksgiving and Christmas Day…I want my children and grandchildren to remember all the fun special details.

  122. I’ve had several memorable parties- one was a joint party to celebrate my son and daughter in laws recent marriage (no wedding) and my Father in laws 90th birthday! I’m happy to say another was just a few weeks ago…a 95th birthday celebration for my FIL!!

  123. Pamela Bolton says:

    We hosted a dinner for 25 of my husband’s graduate students from China.After dinner,my husband invited the students into the kitchen to see how an American home is organized.Luckily I had recently organized the cabinets and pantry.

  124. Thank you for the give-away! I have wonderful memories of many, many dinners with a group of friends. When we were in our 20’s and early 30’s, we had an ‘international gourmet’ group. The host would choose the country, put together the menu and do the entree, distributing recipes for the other dishes to the other members. It was a way to have the fantastic meal you dreamed of while sharing the work and expense. The memories of those meals are so special (the Japanese meal that lasted almost all night because so many dishes required last minute preparation, the Spanish night of paella that also took longer than expected) and we all learned so much about food and cooking and ingredients in a time period before it was as easy as it can be now to find specialty ingredients. I don’t live in the same city any more, but these friends of 30+ years are still close to me and my heart family.

  125. Christmas at my house for my daughter and her family is now my favorite time. We have all the family favorite foods and open gifts. It is a calm, peaceful, loved filled time with all our favorite family stories.

  126. My most memorable gathering was in our casita at Terranea Resort after my son’s wedding. Our family and his family all gathered in the afternoon for wine, champagne and appetizers. I was so glad I had brought fun food to share as we all moved around the room getting to know each other better.

  127. Beautiful table!! I love bringing our extended family together for Christmas dinner. The special details of the gathering and time spent with those I love make it a memorable time for all of us!

  128. I hosted Thanksgiving one year for friends with kids the same ages as ours. The children helped with meal planning and decorating. They played games in the yard and made cards with their thankful lists. It was amazing!

  129. I attended a beautiful outside event at the farmers’ market in Ithaca, NY. It was fall and lovely. There was one very long table with high and low candles. The food was organic and delicious. The evening included a small, Irish band that we gathered around for dancing. What an evening!

  130. Angie Jones says:

    We do Christmas breakfast at my home. It’s always fun to watch the kids open gifts while we enjoy yummy breakfast treats!

  131. Several years ago I hosted my first Christmas for my husband’s family. I had a crying two year old on my leg all night and my first attempt at cooking a monster beef tenderloin did not go too well. It’s all about family and friends anyway, and subsequent Christmas meals went more smoothly.

  132. Natalie Bowman says:

    Every year I have some girlfriends over to drink wine, carve pumpkins and bake cupcakes. It makes you feel young again and really sets the mood for fall!

  133. We recently had a neighborhood oyster roast! It was great getting to meet the neighbors!

  134. Those new plates are beautiful! Several years ago as a newlywed I hosted Thanksgiving for my family. I had no idea what I was doing or how to get everything prepared and to the table at the right time. I look back on it as a wonderful learning experience and appreciate any time I’m able to host my entire family for a meal.

  135. Every year my dear friend and client hosts a huge Christmas party. Every inch of her home is decorated. A large crowd of friends and neighbors attend. It’s always a good time.
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  136. My son’s 30th surprise birthday party. Totally surprised him and what better way than with a throwback teenage mutant ninja turtle theme. He is the most amazing son, husband, father, brother and friend. I could not be prouder of him. He is a kind non- judgmental person and deserves all the joys life can bring. The party was filled with love and joy , nothing is better than that!

  137. virginia syombathy says:

    My husband and I had just gotten married and we hosted our own first Thanksgiving for both of our families. It was wonderful!
    Thank you for the giveaway!

  138. Prayer pasta feed before my “sole” sisters and I went to run the half or some of us the full marathon..it was amazing…

  139. Cheryl Jacobo says:

    The last year my Dad was with us for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I miss him.

  140. Sarah Mercado says:

    The most memorable gathering was a birthday party I threw for my daughter’s 21st birthday. I made her favorite food and invited her closest friends and family. I enjoyed so much doing it fir her and seeing her have so much fun!

  141. An injury just 2 days before Christmas made it impossible to visit family in the mountains. Not wanting to be alone with nothing to do on Christmas Day I made a plan to have open house all day. I made a last minute shopping trip on Christmas Eve to get all sorts of appetizers, desserts, turkey, cheeses, rolls, and munchies. And of course, lots of cider. I really didn’t know if anyone would come due to it being at the very last minute, snow was deep, people had their own families and I lived 8 miles from town. I called lots of people and at church on Christmas morning made an announcement; then headed home to set up a buffet. During the mid-afternoon until evening there was a steady flow of friends that popped in. Everyone had such a lovely relaxed time talking, playing board games, putting puzzles together and warming themselves by the fire with hot apple cider and good fellowship. Such a good memory.

  142. I think the most memorable times are when we are purposeful to enjoy our guests. People remember how they felt being at your house the most…not always what your centerpiece was.

  143. Helen Harrison says:

    The most memorable times are always about the people you are with. Whether it be around a nicely set table, or a cozy firepit – it’s all about the folks who sit around it with you!

  144. I think one of my favorite gatherings happened just recently. The weather was unseasonably cool and so we took it outdoors for a cook out over the fire pit. Four families pulled together a great last minute, no fuss meal with lots of conversation and room for the kids to play. The crisp air, fire light and fresh air made us all linger longer. It was a great night!

  145. We had a gathering of family to welcome family from Norway!

  146. BEAUTIFUL! I love this. Absolutely inspiring for fall entertaining. I have moved a few times in the last few years, and haven’t entertained as much as I want…but I hosted Easter at my home last year and it was so much fun to pull out all the fun table decor I never get to use. I realized I need to keep much of it out more often, because it is just so cute!

    Your blog inspires me, and this store is just magnificent. I look forward to hearing who is the lucky winner. Thank you for this great opportunity!

  147. I have themed store events in my Interior Decorating studio approx. 3 times a year. I love doing the Christmas events, but my most favorite so far was a Halloween event with all of the creepy food to go with it! The food contributed to the table decorations and was so fun for everybody!

  148. Kristin Fish says:

    I hosted a baby shower for my sister and it incorporated her colors of green, pink and brown. Everything came together perfectly and everyone had a good time.

  149. This past July my 87 year old mother flew from Florida to West Virginia to attend her 69th (!) high school reunion. Everyone always wants to see her the day she arrives and there are too many to sit together at a restaurant, so I decided to have a fiesta for my three sisters and whatever grandkids/great grandkids could attend. I love to cook and rarely have time and have to admit I got a little carried away – I originally thought just a taco party – super simple, right? The more recipes I found the more I wanted to make and it evolved into chicken and beef tacos and enchiladas, mexican rice, sour cream and green chile rice, gluten free chocolate cupcakes with buttercream icing, lime punch, etc…. Other family members kicked in with homemade salsa, kiwi guacamole. chocolate strawberry layer cake, peach parfaits and a gluten free orange dreamsicle cake that was to die for! The decorations were really easy-bright colored linens on the table with seashells and candles scattered around. It was wonderful to have all my sisters and some of our children together with our mom/grandma! I am truly blessed and grateful.

  150. Eden Scharer says:

    My favorite gatherings always take place at my moms house with my whole family, a roaring fire, and lots of laughs :)

  151. Megan Johnson says:

    I had the honor and pleasure of throwing my mother’s birthday for her this past year for the first time. A woman that has dedicated her life to me and my sister, I wanted to do this not only to celebrate her life, but also to show her gratitude for how much she has sacrificed for us for many years. Her favorite food is pasta, so I whipped up a splendid pasta bar and made a fig cake of a recipe from Ocracoke, NC, an island that is so very special to my and my mother’s hearts. The whole party was wonderful, surrounded by immediate family and most importantly, allowing her a break from showering everyone else for an evening.

  152. Jennifer Jackson says:

    It is all about getting together with family during holidays. I am not a great cook but family understands. It is fun to try a new dish. Usually it turns out fine or if not I have a funny story for next year.

  153. Stephanie B says:

    My favorite gatherings are unplanned ones. This summer some friends stopped by, then once our kids got to playing outside we lost track of time so pretty soon we were grilling food together and having a wonderful summer night. P.S. those dishes are simply stunning!

  154. I’m hosting my college friends in a few weeks, hopefully it will be fun and memorable!

  155. Fall is my favorite season to host get togethers! One of my favorites was actually a Halloween dinner before trick or treating when my oldest was still little. It was a simple chili bar dinner…but the memories of feeling like family with a group of friends who had all shared the first few years of our first kids’ lives with lingers warmly to this day.

  156. We love to host pizza parties complete with red and white checkered table clothes and wine dripped chianti bottles for table decor.

  157. One of the most memorable I’ve hosted was a thanksgiving for my family. Usually we were at my parent’s house but that year I was the hostess. It was the perfect fall day. The children were small and content to be outside in the beautiful weather. The food was great. Everyone got along. Our little town hosted a downtown Christmas open house in the afternoon so the big girls got to shop while the men napped and watched football… I mean the kids. All in all a great day.

  158. Heather Kirk says:

    Our annual Christmas drop in! We provide a mountain of food with a merry atmosphere fir around 60 family and friends to drop in with their kids. It’s such a great way to kick off our Christmas season of celebrating.

  159. One of my favorites recently was a simple gathering after Sunday night church with the young married couples my husband had just begun teaching. We bought $5 pizzas and had brownies and ice cream. Simple, and yet we had such a good time getting to know these families! We had children jumping on the beds, mommies sharing birth stories, guys hanging out in the man cave, and just great fellowship.

  160. Lisa Blakesley says:

    One of my most memorable gatherings was when we hosted an “American Cook Out” this summer for some international families from my husband’s company. It was the first time some of them had been invited to an American’s home (made me so sad!) and we had the best fun doing “all things summer cookout style!” Everyone loved it, especially the children! We have plans to gather again soon! God is good!

  161. Just hosted a tenth birthday party for my daughter at our house complete with an outdoor movie, smores, tent, and popcorn. We had a great time! Memories to treasure!

  162. Just this past weekend we threw a poolside bbq to celebrate our best friend’s 50th birthday. We ate, swam, and had a wonderful time reflecting on 20+ years of friendship!

  163. Bertie DeWane says:

    One special get together that stands out in my mind is my son’s engagement party that my best friend hosted at her home. We’ve just built onto our tiny home and I plan to do lots of entertaining in the next few months. I would love to win $200 to shop for something new for my new house!

  164. Every Christmas morning is a special time for me. I host our family and serve our traditional Christmas breakfast.

  165. Some of my best dinner parties involved something that is now considered archaic: the fondue pot! I would fill the pot with heated oil, The menu included pieces of steak, chicken and shrimp. I prepared dipping sauces, a few appropriate to each of the meats. Appetizer was crab quiche and as side dishes we had a yummy salad and some delicious bread. We spent hours at the table, cooking our meal, enjoying each other’s company. What memories of good friends!

  166. My most memorable party was by grandson’s baptismal party. He was the first grandson and a special baby!

  167. Thanksgiving Dinner is my favorite holiday to host. The colors, smells, tastes together with family and friends makes for a special event!

  168. I think the most fun ones were the birthday parties we had for my adult son, David. He didn’t want any cake so I whipped up a meatloaf cake. Yes, meatloaf. I made the meatloaf in a round, deep Corning ware dish (like a souffle dish) and when it was done, I inverted it on a plate and then had mashed potatoes as the “icing”. I decorated it with little broccoli “trees” and baby carrots. I wrote “Happy Birthday David” with one of those aerosole cans of cheese that comes out like icing. It was a huge hit. The following year we made one with tortillas! I think the meatloaf one came out the best, though.

  169. Thanks for the fun give away, Melissa! Just this weekend, I attended a 50th Wedding Anniversary Party. The cute decor was “rustic chic,” and the food was good. But what made it a stand out for me was the nice variety of old friends and new, as well as family. Often in large gatherings like this, it is for a funeral, and there is a sad undercurrent. This time, it was a joyous celebration–with happy “reunions” happening around me–and one of my own. We sang worship songs, and the party favor was a cedar seedling, with Psalm 1:3 printed on the label. Memorable indeed!

  170. I love to entertain and try to do so often. I cook simple dishes that have 1 special ingredient to make them seem fancier than they are. I put a lot of love into each recipe because I think you can always taste when someone pours themselves into their food. Every year I host Easter brunch complete with a big bloody mary bar, french press coffee, pastries and bake a savory frittata with spring veggies.

    – thanks, Jaime
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  171. Christmas is my favorite time to host. I love the colors, the scents, and everything that goes along with the holiday! I love to change up my table each year, keeping the basics, and splurging on accents.

  172. I once hosted a baby shower for a young mom about to have twins. It was in the Spring and it was such fun coming up with a theme and tiny little snacks! I love entertaining any time of the year — it’s such a creative outlet!

  173. My sister and I recently hosted a spa party for Mom’s birthday at my home. We invited a small group of her closest friends and set up the living room with a massage table, pedicure corner and facial station. We made our own completely natural facial masks, foot bath salts and body oil blends. The mood was set with the curtains drawn, candles lit everywhere, a custom playlist of favorite relaxing music and several bouquets of wildflowers. Popular buffet dishes included caprese kebabs, cacao-dipped strawberries and lemon, cucumber and strawberry infused spa water. It was so fun to create an environment where all these lovely ladies felt comfortable to “let their hair down”, laugh and reminisce together. We sent them home with cute little tin pails full of fun items for creating a mini spa party of their own! This was by far one of the most rewarding parties I have hosted and loved every minute of pampering these sweet gals God placed in my life!

  174. I hosted a wine tasting party for my husband’s birthday. It was so fun to have this kind of theme behind the table and the food and the decor! I love hosting!

  175. One memorable event I attended was at a friend’s engagement party in Guatemala. Instead of renting a hall, she invited about 50-60 people for a backyard get together. The tables were colorful, with Guatemalan textile covers and matching napkins-the silverware was sparkling and the dishes were white or clear but very classy disposable (who wanted to wash dishes after all?) floral centerpieces and candles were on every table and they had hired a caterer from Argentina who made it a fun BBQ accompanied by rice, baked potatoes roasted over an open fire, french baguette breads and tortillas, and garden salad with several dressings and lime juice and every kind of salsa imaginable-from mild, to hot to sweet, depending on your tastes. It was served buffet style, and everyone had a great time-each table had a bottle of wine or alcohol and mixers or even a steel bucket with a 6 pack of bottled beer in ice. Even though served buffet style for the first plate, as soon as your plate was empty waiters came and took it away, making the way for the many desserts they had prepared. I really enjoyed the colorful design/theme that they had planned using Guatemalan textiles and handicrafts to reflect their heritage. We will be celebrating my daughters 15th birthday in Guatemala in a couple of years, and I’m hoping to do something similar.

  176. At the airport now leaving my Aunt’s home-i loved being there yesterday with my 92 year old grandmother, her 3 daughters, my cousins and my cousins kids. Grabbing more chairs for the table and everyone running in and out of the kitchen is such a staple of my childhood memories. I know we won’t all be there for much longer So now I always pause to remember and soak it in.

  177. Shannon Combest says:

    Every fall my sister, cousin, and our husband get together for a pumpkin themed dinner. Every food item on the menu must have pumpkin within it in some sort or fashion. Even the cocktail is pumpkin themed! We love it and look forward to it every fall season. We’ve all begun looking for pumpkin recipes even though this years dinner isn’t until November.

  178. Last year I hosted a Halloween party for our neighbors. It was quite the fete I must say. We had fabulous food, fun decorations, and of course, good wine. Thank you for the wonderful giveaway.
    Erin
    fairyfractal at gmail dot com

  179. One my most memorable was a Nutcracker themed dinner I prepared for my granddaughter and her friend before we went to see the Nutcracker Ballet. I decorated a small tree with Nutcracker themed ornaments and candies, nutcrackers as the centerpiece and I made white paper cutout ballerinas with snowflake tutus that I hung from the chandelier and in the window. My granddaughter loved it.

  180. Elaine Hankins says:

    One of our most memorable events was to host an early Thanksgiving dinner in our new home – it was so fun and so wonderful to have our family and friends be with us.

  181. Lynda Carter says:

    The event I’ve had in the past that brings a smile to my face is…

    Cookies and Milk PJ Party(ies)

    I’ve done it around Christmas time – usually the week after.
    I ask people to drop in in shifts – 7-8pm; 8:30 – 9:30pm and 10 – 11pm. The people with children I invite for the early shift. Neighbors I ask at the latest time and the others in the middle. 30 minutes between shifts gives me time to replenish the food and drinks.

    People are to dress comfortably – in PJs if they would like. I have cookies and other simple finger-size desserts to eat – nothing too heavy, hot tea, cider, coffee and milk to drink. The lights are low, the fire in the fireplace is going, Christmas or soft music is playing… It’s just kind of a magical time!

  182. Theresa Grace says:

    Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and hosting our family meal with my cousin makes it extra special. My husband and I cook while she and her husband open their home to our 40 relatives. It’s warm, cozy and inviting with a football game in the background and kids running through the kitchen.

  183. I love the fall break party my siblings and I have with our teenage kids. Our mom’s pumpkin bread recipe is the highlight of the menu. We live a few hours apart so its a great way to connect before the craziness of the holidays sets in

  184. Hi! My mom and Grandma were fabulous entertainers! They taught me to prepare as much as possible before the guest arrived. That way you can have fun at your own gathering! They have handed down their love of entertaining and dishes to me! My most favorite memory was my husband and I sharing our first meal on our new china – kraft dinner by candle light :) a simple dinner for two on our new beautiful place settings! I still absolutely love those dishes and how they make me feel special every time we use them. Thanks Melissa!

  185. We hosted a “cruelty free Thanksgiving” It was great! Thank you for the giveaway.

  186. I grew up having people in our home, but my husband did not. He actually remembers the menu from the one and only company they ever had! The first time we had another couple over, he was so worried that they wouldn’t like something on the table that he insisted that we have two meats, two kinds of bread, four veggies, and two desserts. For 4 PEOPLE!

  187. About twelve years ago in Seattle, we had a snowstorm with massive winds that topped all snowstorms (at least in this area!). It wasn’t uncommon to see 20+ large Evergreens covering one road. Electricity was out for some for 10+ days. Store shelves were bare, and driving wasn’t possible for many days. My husband and I lost electricity for only three days, so I put a large pot of homemade chili on the stove with crusty bread and hot chocolate. Pretty soon a small gathering of friends turned into a much larger gathering of friends around our long pine kitchen table. It was a time for our friends to get warm, and to share their wind and snow stories (in between getting showers!!). Truly a fun memory.

  188. Every year we host a Halloween party following our neighborhood trick or trear. All the families from our neighborhood end their trick or treating at our house by the outdoor fire pit. We spend a few weekends before creating a haunted trail in the woods behind our house and serve up yummy treats and festive beverages. This year we are showing an outdoor movie as well. I is a wonderful tradition our kids look forward to.

  189. I hosted a traditional Seder meal for my other single friends who were my urban family at the time. We were all young and had so little money and no family in town. I didn’t even own a kitchen table!!

  190. Thanksgiving and Xmas eve, xmas Day, new year’s eve are a big in my home.

  191. This past Fourth of July we hosted a couple from Australia, formerly of England, a young man from Zimbabwe and London, a couple from our community, my sister and nieces, and my husband and myself….13 in all. I chose to have a “moveable feast” with appetizers and wine (one of the guests owns a wonderful winery) on our lower lawn with dinner and dessert on our upper patio. The highlight of the evening? My husband’s toast to the Commonwealth and the wonderful United States of America and how our two countries are separate but melded. The evening ended with fabulous fireworks over the lake. Sublime.

  192. I always have in mind an Easter dinner I hosted, this was the last one I had as a full family before my mother past away – it always brings a smile to my face!
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  193. I have hosted a number of baby showers for my co-workers at the non-profit where I work. No one is making big bucks so it’s a joy for me to make bacon wrapped dates, put out the nice serving dishes, light the candles and create a welcoming, warm environment to celebrate the joyous occasion. Especially given that our work with refugees involves many hard days, it’s especially sweet when there are celebrations.

  194. My most memorable gathering has to be just spending time together outdoors around the fire pit!

  195. A not to be forgotten event I hosted was after our oldest child was baptized. It was a fun brunch which was easy to prepare ahead of time so it was easy to visit during the event.

  196. my first year out of college my fiancé and I hosted his sister and her husband in our tiny appartment. I had barely any cooking experience but I was determined to cook a turkey. I was so nervous and was in total shock when my turkey literally looked like it came from a magazine shoot. Proud moment that has given me the confidence to continue entertaining and trying new things in the kitchen

  197. We just had a gathering at my cousin’s home in Rapid City this past weekend. The weather was perfect and the trees are turning colors so we dressed up their patio table with a pretty tablecloth of yellow gingham and cherries and used a pretty natural wicker basket of coordinating napkins as our centerpiece. It was so perfect I’d love to go visit them again next weekend! Grilled pork, salads made from our fresh garden produce, big glasses of flavorful iced tea…what more could we have needed?!

  198. I always host Thanksgiving, but my favorite was the one time my grandma came. She didn’t get to come here to my house except that one time, and she really liked having dinner here with my kids and some of our friends. She had a small house in the country, and never had a dining room, and she really enjoyed us having dinner on the table I had inherited from an aunt, and that I was using some of her mother’s dishes.

  199. I love those pumpkins!

  200. Carmen Glasgow says:

    My first thanksgiving I hosted after I purchase my home! I felt like a real grownup!

  201. Thanksgiving has always been the best holiday. Always a great day without much stress. My mother set the tone for how to celebrate this occasion, and my most memorable times are Thanksgiving dinners at her house. I miss her.

  202. Anything attended at my mother-in-laws house is always amazing. She has such a welcome presence, always makes sure you are comfortable, and insists on a casual come-as-you-are affair. She makes everyone feel like family.

  203. Tracy Mondel says:

    We host a Thanksgiving Day breakfast, which includes turkey bacon (of course)! It’s my favorite holiday to host because I love to create a warm and inviting ambiance with the fall decor.

  204. My most memorable affair was the Bridal Shower that I had for my daughter. It was a Lilly Pulitzer Kentucky Derby theme. Beautiful dresses, big hats and decor full of color, horseshoes, mason jars, colorful horseshow ribbons and even a saddle on the buffet. She was the happiest girl in the world when she walked in the door and realized her dream had come to life. No website for me but my daughter started her own blog called
    Thisdelightfullife.com. Thanks for letting me share :-).

  205. My most memorable was my sisters first time hosting thanksgiving!

  206. My favorite gathering was Thanksgiving 2003 at my mom’s house. My husband and I had gotten married the Saturday before and returned in time to make dinner at my mom’s house. Her Thanksgiving dinners are amazing, and afterwards, we got to open all our wedding gifts.

  207. Tammy Tomberlin says:

    I love hosting a brunch for my girlfriends. It is such a fun Sunday- yummy foods, lots of cocktails, networking, and reconnecting. Plus it gives me a chance to pull out my vintage linens and China. Cannot wait to host another brunch:)

  208. Last month, a friend hosted a luncheon on her very large porch and in her garden. It was lovely.

  209. The house warmed by firelight, the door opens and my children are home again! any meal with all of them at the table again is special, but the one I remember most is Christmas many years ago, before grandchildren, before my parents died we all went to visit my grandmother and my mother’s family in New Orleans. I can still remember it snowed, a rarity and melted as it hit the ground. My youngest proceeded to solemnly explain, to his amazed second cousins, how the snow in Chicago would be as deep as our roof and that was how Santa Claus would get to the chimney, if his sleigh broke down by just walking and climbing down the chimney.
    The imagination, the innocence, the even the sheer audacity of the tale, the wide eyes and expressions of love, on both my teenagers and the adults can never be replicated.
    FYI we lived in a two story house.

  210. The best gathering is when my grandparent’s past away. And my family and I moved in their house. No one was in the mood to celebrate but I decided to go ahead and the whole family come over just like we did when my grandparents were alive I had thier pictures on the Mantel when everyone got there thing s was rough but they seen the pictures and we all started to talk about the good times. Now its been 15 years and I, I’m still having the whole family over and won’t change a thing. Love you guys.

  211. My favorite was a baby shower thrown in my honor. Everything was Pinterest perfect!

  212. One of my favorite get togethers will hopefully be this year when I attempt thanksgiving all on my own! :-)

  213. Our four kids are all grown and living away from home, but we still all gather for dinner in our home every Wednesday eve. (Four grandkids have joined in in the past five years, and another will arrive in two months.) There’s always something wonderful to celebrate, even if it’s just being together. So, we’re still creating wonderful memories at our weekly celebrations.

  214. one of my most memorable gatherings was after my grandmothers funeral and all the family went back to my moms and reminest over all the good times we had had with our grandmother. we looked at old pictures and just relaxed with no one in a rush to get any where.

  215. I love hosting get togethers at our home. It is such a special way to invite people into a closer relationship. It’s hard to choose my favorite event I’ve hosted! I loved throwing my husband a 30th birthday party. All of his closest friends came, there was good food and the music was the top hits from the past three decades. It was a blast! It’s always a good party if your guests stay late and leave smiling :)

  216. Karen Nardi says:

    I decided to host a tea in honor of my Mom-she was several years into her diagnosis of Alzheimer’s and while she couldn’t remember everyone’s name, her friends were familiar to her. I invited her closest friends to her home where she would be most comfortable and set out her best dishes, candles, flowers. I had little tea sandwiches (yes, the crust was cut off!) and plates of fresh fruit, vegetables and of course scones to go with our tea! I helped Mom get all dressed up pretty and fixed her hair for her. She loved every minute! She laughed and talked for a couple of hours, it was almost like before she had gotten sick. Of course we took plenty of pictures! Afterwards, I made a little book with the menu along with all of the pictures included. A memory I will never forget.

  217. My husband travels a lot and couldn’t be home for Christmas so we had an after Christmas celebration with a bonfire, Christmas crackers and great food – it was awesome!

  218. Any time we have a get-together with friends around a fire is my absolute favorite! Just the simple act of being together with good food and drink is always the best !!!

  219. I love hosting winter gatherings – we have a fireplace in a small cozy dining room and play relaxing music. Half the fun is planning and making the meal with my boyfriend.

  220. One of my most memorable gatherings was a graduation tea given by the mother of a fellow classmate for her daughter. That was 24 years ago and the concept was foreign to me. My friend was one of five children and her parents were very cost conscience and traditional. They lived in an old architectural house full of character. None of my other friends had a tea so I was so tickled to go. Her mother had set the table with mixed patterns of old china. She decorated each place setting and the centerpiece with her gorgeous garden blooms. You could feel the love at that table. It was intimate, it was beautiful, and it was a glorious celebration. Her mother had made everything for the tea, the punch, salad, entree and dessert and served each one of us. I think the most important thing you can decorate with is love and that was in abundance that day. It was one of the most special and meaningful dinners I have ever had and I was honored to be a guest. The feeling of that day and her offering of love has stuck with me through the years.

  221. Every Sunday night we host “nacho night”. We have done this for years. Some evenings it’s a small group. Other evenings it gets quite large with friends and neighbors stopping by. It’s totally casual and relaxing. We have been blessed to see community happening and great friendships formed by sharing by this simple meal.

  222. I usually host the family Thanksgiving. A couple of years ago I went to a little extra trouble and made “place cards” with childhood pictures of everyone . The grandkids got such a kick out of seeing their parents and grandparents as children. It was definately worth the extra time!!

  223. I love to entertain, but probably my favorite was a Mothers Day brunch with 7 friends and their moms about 5 years ago!!

  224. I love it when my entire family gets together. We cook, eat and talk, laugh and love! Since our children are now grown and living at different places hundreds of miles away, it is unusual indeed when we are all together. That’s what makes it so special!

  225. Karen on Bainbridge Island says:

    On a Saturday in October, and I actually hope for a rainy night that will require a fire, we host an Apple Party. We invite friends and neighbors to our home to celebrate the fall. We serve drinks and food, and always have a menu that include apples foods. We chat and laugh and chat and enjoy a casual evening.

    Over time, I have collected Franciscan Apple dinnerware which I mix with brown transferware, creamware and wood. I use a mix of clear and amber glassware, wood handled utensils, and any cloth napkin that has the color red somewhere in the pattern. It makes the evening visually festive, and nothing is fussy.

    Entertaining is always about making your guests have a great time in your home.

  226. Every gathering that involves family, friends and food is memorable. One of my favorites was a Birthday party with all my (years ago) junior high friends at my grandparents house. They made us all feel so loved and welcome even though we were a loud bunch of silly girls.

  227. What a fabulous giveaway! My husband and I hosted both sides of our family at Thanksgiving many years ago. It was wonderful and so relaxing. And the food turned out great!

  228. Silvia Fugate says:

    I have so many gatherings that I recall as just being awesome!
    I think the last one I attended that I really enjoyed was a British tea time party. I loved the mismatched sets of tea pots and tea cups so much I started collecting tea cups!
    It was such a perfect and elegant setting and not having everything match added character to the event.

  229. My daughters 3rd birthdate. We had family over and for some reason my sister in law brought over her hamster. While he was crawling around on the kitchen table…we looked away for a minute, he fell off onto the tile floor and my yorkipoo, Baxter, jumped right on him. In hindsight (that was 24) years ago, the fall killed my sister in laws hamster, not my dog. She left crying with the thing, we all were stunned and silent as the front door slammed. Then I said loudly, “anyone for cake”? We all felt really bad, but it was Alexa’s birthday and we had to have the party, right?…it was just mainly family and a few friends. Boy, that was a memorable birthday. I did save a Pringles can for her as a little coffin, really, I thought it was perfect…ugh!

  230. I hosted my first Thanksgiving of my own after I moved to England. 19 adults. Many British or European. We had a lovely time. My now husband and I still ‘argue’about whether the day party casserole is a dessert or side dish.

  231. We host Thanksgiving at our house every year. I truly love it! Usually there are about 20 people from both sides of the family and it is such a fun day with great food!

  232. Rebecca terMeer says:

    My favorite entertaining moment was three Christmas’s ago. We just moved into our home that we build and my whole family spent the day at our house. We ate and played silly games and the house was filled with the happiest noise all day :)

  233. Living as an expat in a country where Thanksgiving is not celebrated, my husband and I have started the tradition of hosting several Thanksgiving dinners each year to accomodate our new friends in a small apartment. Such a blessing for us to share our traditions and favorite foods. Some people have never had the opportunity to say aloud what they are thankful for.

  234. We lived in Houston for four years…far from family and friends in GA and SC. Traveling home was expensive and my husband’s work schedule didn’t allow for him to be away so we hosted Thanksgiving for some new friends who were also ‘transplants.’ My patents ended up surprising us and coming to Texas. We had the most fun, the best food and made some great memories!

  235. I attended my boss’ wife’s 80th birthday party (which I helped facilitate). Guests were asked to where clothing from other cultures. The entrance to the party room looked like a big ship. You walked onto the “ship” and were greeted by boss (dressed like the ship’s captain) and his Mrs. The dinner was divine and the entertainment was from around the world: African drummers, Chinese dancers, a big band on the podium. Just loads of fun. Jo @ Let’s Face the Music
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  236. I just hosted a surprise party for my husband’s 40th. It took so much planning and was hard to keep a secret, but the look on his face when everyone yelled surprise made it one of my favorite memories.

  237. My extended family on my Dad’s side always get together for Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. There are lots of us and we love it!

  238. Last Thanksgiving I hosted my family for dinner. I made personalized aprons for everyone and each family had to make a dish. While we cooked together I also did a wine tasting and we voted for our favorite wine. It was a fun time!

  239. We hosted Christmas for my fiance’s family in our small, but cozy condo last year. I made personalized ornaments for each guest and hung them on our small, but practical tree. Guests found their ornaments and kept them as a reminder of a great holiday. Hopefully we will have a bigger space to host in years to come!

  240. My favorite gatherings are my family’s “Second Sunday” lunches at my parent’s house. After my sister and I were both married, we decided that we would gather regularly once a month for Sunday lunch. With busy lives it has been good to have a regular time set apart to get together and stay connected. My mom generally hosts and makes the main course and my sister and I contribute side dishes or desert. It is one of my most favorite things in the world to get together with family, enjoy a meal, and talk, and laugh a lot.
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  241. i love thanksgiving. i have great memories of when my grandparents would come out and my whole family was together and it felt so special.

  242. Wendy Thelen says:

    One of my most memorable gatherings was Thanksgiving 2012. It was my last Thanksgiving with my dad before he passed away the next month.

  243. My first Thanksgiving as a wife was so important to me! I loved using my china but I really stressed over the centerpiece. I could have used something simple like you show here!

  244. Gina Whitlock says:

    Each year I have a Valentines Brunch. Along with eating heart-shaped scones and quiche with champagne, we each make a valentine card for our special honey. This happens the Saturday before Valentines Day or the week before.

  245. Last week, a few days after we moved across country in to our new home, I cleared off the dining room table and invited my sister in law over for dinner. Dinner of frozen lasagna, baked in my 1957 Westinghouse wall oven. Today she is having surgery for her stage 4 cancer, a total mastectomy. One of the reasons we moved back here. So this dinner was very memorable, a time to just sit and eat with her, share some love with her, and take time out from a month of moving craziness.

  246. My most memorable event to attend was while living in Denmark. Some friends invited us to their home for a traditional Danish Christmas meal. We had only been living there for a month so I was overwhelmed by the differences in their traditional foods, culture and how christmas was celebrated there vs America .

  247. A tea I gave for 8 women. So much fun!

  248. Hosting Christmas for my husband’s family every year. Such a joy!

  249. Lynda Caldwell says:

    Christmas Evening at my house with family, good food, and stockings for everyone. A wonderful end to Christmas Day!

  250. My husband and I had a wine tasting with a focus on French wines- we brought in experts and learned how to taste and did a little competition with all our friends! It was fun and delicious!

  251. A family Christmas dinner I hosted one year.

  252. My most memorable event would have to be our house warming barbecue this past Spring. It was nice to celebrate our new (first!) home by welcoming friends and family with few good drinks and a lot of great food. Those velvet pumpkins would make our first fall in our house perfect! :)

  253. Morgan Lewis says:

    Definitely Christmases at my Mamaw and Papaw’s house. The whole extended family gathers for Christmas Eve dinner, and Santa comes in the back door with presents for the little ones in a pillow case. The same Santa suit has been used for over 50 years now. So special <3 and such wonderful memories.

  254. A great party was one outside in the evening…..strung mason jars with candles, burlap runner, pails of ice & drinks! Just perfect!

  255. A birthday party for my husband a few years ago, we had many friends attend.

  256. My most memorable meal was Christmas at our local hospital when my grandma was admitted for the holidays. My mom and aunts prepared the holiday feast and transported it to the hospital to share with our family and hospital staff who also had to work over the holidays! We put the gravy in a thermos to keep it warm and laugh every year when we remember that meal!

  257. My favorite gathering to host is a pre Thanksgiving gathering of friends. I started doing it long before “Friendsgiving” became a thing! I like to do it sometime between Halloween and Thanksgiving so that no one has turkey burn out when they are with their relatives, and have everyone bring a dish to share. Tried and true is fine, but I tell everyone that if they have a recipe or an idea they are dying to try to bring it! Unique dishes and unusual flavors are just the best conversation starters.
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  258. My best gatherings are always the Fall & Christmas dinners. I love to decorate the house and also decorate the table with beautiful plates & flatware. Even my kids, nieces & nephews appreciate a gourmet meal served in style.

  259. One of my favorite gatherings was Thanksgiving 2012. It was the first time I had a house big enough to host a holiday for my huge Greek family. It was amazing. It was also the start of my love for decorating for the different seasons. Thanks for the giveaway.

  260. I hosted a recent birthday lunch for five best girl friends. The birthday girl had been ill most of this year so it was special to get together! It was Pot luck so we had a ton of food, and so many festive decorations on the table it truly cheered up everyone, and warmed our hearts to see our birthday girl feeling well finally!!

  261. One of my adult best gatherings was a christmas I hosted for my husbands family at our house. They just relaxed and went with the flow and loved my cooking which helped me to be a better hostess. It was fun and we all had a great time.
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  262. My favorite even to host is Thanksgiving. Fall is my by far my favorite season so I go all out with the decorating, but the most important ingredient is family! Adore the LoveFeast pumpkins!

  263. I hosted a get together with my two best friends and cooked pasta, homemade bread, and berry cobblers in ramekins for dessert! We had so much fun!

  264. My daughter, husband and son recently hosted a pool party for a group of disabled teens. This was something many of them had never had the opportunity to do. One young man in a wheelchair was able to swim due to my thoughtful husband putting a life vest on him. It was an amazing evening because we were able to witness these kids enjoy themselves to the fullest.

  265. Jennifer S. says:

    I’ll never forget my first Friends-giving, when three couples got together and made our own mix-matched family gathering. There was tons of traditional dishes and tons of not-so-traditional tequila. It was the best.

  266. My most memorable gathering at our home was hosting the wedding of my sister in law in Sept 2008. I was very proud that she thought enough of our home and gardens to want to have her special day here. I spent all summer tending and watering the gardens. We painted our gazebo and deck and had a great time decorating it with fresh flowers in orange, lime and hot pink. Very fun and gives me great memories – what is better than doing something very special for someone you love?!

  267. One of my favorite gatherings I’ve hosted was a Christmas tea party. It was for 6 of my good friends, and I had a blast preparing the food and arranging a pretty table for it. My favorite was getting to read to each friend what I admire about them and why I treasure their friendship. So much fun!

    Beautiful pictures and words as always, dear Melissa. Love you!
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  268. Jenny Peterson says:

    Two years ago we decided to host a family Thanksgiving for my husbands side, inviting the entire extended family. It was the year my father-in-law turned 80 and we wanted to make it memorable. Planning was an enormous task, which started in August, due to the fact that my husband is one of 7 children, each of his siblings has anywhere from 2-6 children, and even some of those children have children!!! Needless to say it is approx. 125 people when all is said and done (and my sister-in-laws and I did all the cooking)!! It was a wonderful Thanksgiving and turned out so well!!! The perfect time for family to come together.

  269. I hosted “Christmas” at Thanksgiving two years ago for 18. It consisted of family and a childhood friend with his partner. It was wonderful to say the least!

  270. I have hosted Thanksgiving for our extended family of 16 people several years in a row. It is a noisy, crazy time with all the kids running around, and several conversations going on at once. The food is yummy but the best part is the feeling I get when I look around at all the smiling faces and realize this is MY family and I am so grateful to part of it!

  271. Bev Petruzalek says:

    An acquaintance who was fighting cancer planned a special day of surprises for her three dearest girlfriends. For one of their stops she requested a tour of my house, which I have decorated all retro/vintage. Nothing fancy – leisurely tour and conversation, iced tea and taking pictures of each other out on the deck on a lovely day. I felt so honored to have them (and relieved; very upbeat, no crying). She passed away later that year.

  272. You would think that Valentines day for 10 single, college girls would be one we’d like to skip right over. However, our 6 boy neighbors decided to take it upon themselves to show us that love is beyond romance. Valentines can be celebrated for friendships and the love God has for each on of us. So that evening they threw us a surprise homemade dinner with chocolates and candles sprinkled throughout the room. They even looked at our Pinterests boards and re-created some of our most desired desserts (I, for one did not know they had such skills). Most memorable of all, they surprised us with their rendition of One Direction’s “You don’t know you’re beautiful.” We felt feeling so loved and blessed that they would do this for their friends. Who knew college boys could be such great hosts?

  273. Angelika A. says:

    Hey Melissa! I don’t host a whole lot but earlier this year I threw my book club’s February Valentines-themed meet at my house. I just so happened to have pink tablecloths/accessories in my hope chest that Grandma had given me, and the table was decked out in decadent sweets and red roses for all my ladies to take home. It was so much fun :)

  274. The most meaningful gatherings I have attended were years ago when both my grandmothers and my mother and father were alive. We often had aunts, uncles and lots of cousins also in attendance and we had gatherings every holiday and some in between. Now I am much older and the family feeling has changed and people are spread out all over the country making get togethers harder. So many of my family have passed, however, their memory and the delicious food and the celebrations continue to live in my memories. Blessings to all

  275. I was in college and my parents came up to see me for Rosh Hashanah. I had booked them a hotel room suite that had a full kitchen. I made all of our family favorites for my parents for the first night of the Holiday. I borrowed china from my sorority and had a friend buy their favorite wine (I was only 18). We read the service and ate. It was intimate and homey and my parents loved it. Sadly, my dad passed away unexpectedly 3 weeks later so that meal is a very special memory that I hold on to.

  276. My favorite gathering happened a year ago, when family members converged on my little cottage to help tear down an interior wall, demo my kitchen and officially begin the renovation process. It might as well have been an old-fashioned barn raising. :)

  277. The best gathering that I loved attending were when my whole family would pack up the trailer, hitch it up to the pickup and go camping by the river. I loved helping my dad set up the tent and of course the cooking food on an open fire. I don’t know but food cooked on an open fire always tastes so good and of course making smores. I love sitting around the fire on a cool night, watching the fire, and just relaxing with the family. I don’t get to do it much anymore now that I moved away from home but I will definitely be taking my kids (when I have kids that is) camping. They really are the best memories I have as a kid!
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  278. One of our most memorable holidays was when the oven accidentally got turned off. Raw turkey=quickly going to a plan B.

  279. My favorite fall gatherings have been impromptu. It starts out with a bunch of kids playing outside in the cul-de-sac because the weather is so nice. Then us parents follow them, then someone brings out their fire pit to one of the driveways. Someone grabs marshmallows, kids go on the hunt for the perfect sticks. A few lawn chairs later and it’s 10pm! We’ve even been known to order some pizzas ;)

  280. One of my most memorable gatherings was my 30th birthday party. Being born 2 days before Halloween has always made for fun birthday celebrations. My closest friends and family, a ton of really great food, vintage style cocktails and getting all dressed up made this one really special.

  281. We had some friends over for Thanksgiving last year and planned out a bunch of traditional Thanksgiving foods, potluck style, and just enjoyed each other’s company. It was great!
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  282. Kate Bentley says:

    My hubs and I have been saving for 2 years and we just hosted our first 4th of July party with all our friends and family that have been rooting for us for the last 2 years! Sprinklers, hotdogs, s’mores over a fire, we made memories we will never forget!!!

  283. We hosted our first Thanksgiving last year — members from both families too. Was such a wonderful time.
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  284. My husband and I purchased our home last October, and hosted both of our families for Thanksgiving– it was BYOC (Bring your own chair) and we draped table cloths over folding tables, but it was so nice to have all of our family over to christen our home with delicious food and drink, laughter and love!

  285. the handcrafted dishes are so pretty!

  286. Tanya Peshovich says:

    My youngest daughter’s birthday is close to Halloween, so I am now hosting a sweet Halloween party each year packed with not-too-scary activities and treats. The children love it and it gets me amped up for fall.
    What a lovely giveaway from LoveFeast!

  287. whenever my sister and I get our 2 growing families together at the beach…those are the best times!

  288. Susan Gossett says:

    My favorite fall parties are Sabika jewelry parties that give me the chance to have fall decor, fall inspired foods and beverages, and my lovely lady pals enjoying themselves.

  289. I hosted a Family Christmas dinner that was wonderful!

  290. The most memorable gatherings we have had was when my husband and I each had our mothers over to our first home for dinner. While they were separate times, they were both equally memorable as we were so happy to be sharing love around our table, in our home – as they had done for us so many times throughout the years. To finally have them in our home that we had worked so hard for, was really amazing for all of us. I don’t even remember what we ate – but the feelings and memories of the laughter and stories we shared, I won’t ever forget.

  291. Our first Thanksgiving in our new home, after years of apartment living it was so wonderful to be able to seat all of our friends and family at one table!

  292. I had a 60th anniversary party for my parents at the house. We had family and some friends of my Mom’s from 1st grade. They still keep in touch. It was an elegant sit down dinner! The decorations and food were fabulous for the occasion.

  293. My best get togethers are those that are half planned and half spontaneous, with open invitations to lots of family and friends, and enjoying the camaraderie of old and new acquaintances ….especially for two-day prep feasts like Thanksgiving with guests bringing their own creations to add to the table.

  294. Those Plush Pumpkins are so pretty! Our most memorable meal was our very dinner party. We had a teeny tiny apartment stove and I made homemade pizza for 20 young people from church – in shifts! We couldn’t afford paper plates so I used tin pie plates from our camping dishes and paper napkins – but we only had 4 so we had to eat in shifts – it was so much fun!

  295. Thanksgiving is always memorable. The crowd changes every year (aside from family) – we always invite people who live alone, people whose family might live a distance away, and often one or two out-of-state friends drop in. The food is always fabulous, with everyone pitching in, and the table is long and merry. It’s a perfect start to the holiday season!

  296. Tana Hendricks says:

    I host our family Thanksgiving each year. I have a tablecloth I have used for many years that I have everyone who attends write down what they are thankful for each year with indelible ink. To get them to be more creative, I exclude the obvious of friends and family. Had some great comments and it is so enjoyable to
    re-read what has been written in the past years.

  297. I can’t pick the most memorable gathering but a memorable gathering for me would be my first born first birthday. Something special about having your first baby turn one and surrounded by family celebrating.

  298. We just spent the evening with dear friends. The father/husband is deploying this week. It was a sweet time with both our families.

  299. One of my most memorable gatherings was a Sunday cookout with all my family. We laughed and had fun with all the kids. I even remember a water balloon fight that most of the adults ended up wet! Great fun and great memories. Thanks for the giveaway!

  300. Many years ago I lived in a mobile home and had my family over for Christmas, there were about 10 adults and 8 children (my grands). There wasn’t room and I was worried but everyone sat in the floor. The grand kids were so excited and so was I…..we played games and sang…that was the best Christmas ever….I live in Florida now and the grand kids are grown…..thank goodness for computers!

  301. I love to host Thanksgiving. I pull out my favorite dishes from great-grandparents. grandparents and my Mother. It makes me feel like they are there with us.

  302. A treasured memory for me was hosting Christmas dinner last year for our friends who had just moved to the US from another country. We enjoyed dinner together, exchanged a few small gifts and our friend put on a magic show for the kids. It was a fun, memorable evening.

  303. I usually host a small Thanksgiving dinner. One year, we used decorative fall leaves as place cards, writing the name right on the leaf. It turned out so cute.

  304. My most memorable gathering was with a group of friends in my home. We had a fabulous meal of roast pork tenderloin with several delicious side dishes and just as we were finishing our creme brûlée, we heard some noise outside. We went out to see what was going on and discovered a fireworks show over a nearby lake! We stood in the front yard and watched in silence until the last glimmer of light faded from the night sky. What started out as a few friends sharing a meal became something almost magical!

  305. Bonnie Mortensen says:

    Most memorable might have been the time when I was making the least amount of money, as a newly divorced single mom and threw a cowboy-themed party for my 5-year-old. I laid a quilt on the floor, fed the kids hot dogs, bbq beans and s’mores in a tin pie plate and played various cowboyed themed games: lasso the stuffed animal, pin the tail on the burro, but the best was the black-licorice spitting contest. Watching a little gal (3rd generation Osmond) in her gingham dress, and white lacy bobby socks with patent leather shoes huck a wad of black chew down the rolled out white butcher paper was priceless. I sent them home with bandanna-stuffed party favors. The cost of the party was pennies. Oh but so much atmosphere existed and fun was had by all.

  306. The most memorable gathering that I ever attended was at my aunt’s house for Thanksgiving. We always have a large number of people (well over 50) and this specific year we had about 75. I remember all of the men in the kitchen cooking up an amazing meal and the rest of us just catching up with old friends and family. The home was so well decorated and felt so warm.

  307. Jennifer C. says:

    We usually host our family for Thanksgiving but a few years ago, we noticed that there was an abundance of families in our church that weren’t from our area and they weren’t “going home” for the holiday. We invited all of them to our house of Thanksgiving and it turned into our new “family” gathering on that very special Thursday in November! Now they come every year!

  308. Back when I was single, I threw a Nutcracker themed tea party for my friends. It was so much fun, I repeated the theme for my daughter’s fifth birthday last December!

  309. I just hosted Easter in our new house this year. I was super casual, but it was nice to have a space big enough to handle a gathering.

  310. I think this christmas will be the most memorable because I am hosting it at my new house:)

  311. This past July I invited 25 women to our home for a luncheon and fellowship – no agenda – just girls uniting. Everyone brought a salad dish to share. We had the most wonderful time. Everyone brought a 99 cent item that reminds them of summer and we did a drawing and each woman went home with a summer treat. I practically had to ask the gals to leave!! (just kidding). It was a fabulous time.
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  312. Our best party was when my entire family came out to visit us in Wyoming. We did it all: camping, Yellowstone, the Tetons, a horseback ride, whitewater rafting, lots of cooking and laughter.

  313. right now i love helping to host baby showers for my friends

  314. I threw a big New Years Eve party several years ago, with lots of couples — all of whom had small children, and they were invited too. I think it was the largest crowd I’ve ever had in my home — the playroom and kitchen took a huge beating, but it was worth the next day clean up to have so much laughter and conversation filling our home.

  315. We enjoy gathering people together in our home. One of the most memorable events hosted was a bridal shower for a close friend. She is passionate about her horses & riding so I secretly borrowed one of her saddles & tack, had feminine “cowgirl” grub and served dessert out of canning jars. We all dressed up with boots & brims. It was so much fun!

  316. The first Thanksgiving dinner I hosted was a blast. We had a lot of friends over, and it was just a purely enjoyable evening – great food, great conversation, everyone was relaxed.

  317. My most memorable time of entertaining took place last year with five of my seven granddaughters. I had crocheted each of the girls a ladybug dress with purse to match and had been wanting to give them a formal tea party for quite a long time. Thus my Ladybug Tea Party was birthed. I decorated with a ladybug theme and I made ladybug appetizers with other goodies to eat, ending with ladybug decorated sugar cookies and raspberry sorbet. After our “tea” we had a fun craft time, with their moms, making pretty hair clips. I ended our tea party by gifting each of the girls with their own silver plated child’s tea set, four of which I had bought before any of them were born…teehee!…told you I had been planning a tea party for them for a long time. My husband and I had each of the girl’s names engraved on their serving trays. All of them were delighted with their special tea party and gifts and my oldest granddaughter, 10 years old at the time, summed it up by saying, “Grandma this was so nice. I love my tea set and I plan on keeping it really nice because it is so special, I want to pass it on to my little girl some day.” My grandma’s heart melted and misty tears came to my eyes as I hugged her and told her how much I loved her and how happy I was to be able to have this special time with her, her sisters and her cousin.
    Our Ladybug Tea Party was definitely a wonderful “Memory Making Moment”

  318. The most memorable would have to be every single Christmas we spent at my grandma’s. My grandparents both passed away 17 years ago and I can’t tell you how often I wish they were still with us. I took for granted all the times we were over there and did what most kids would do, I played with my cousins and generally ignored the “adults”. I wish I had spent more time with my grandparents, given them more hugs and told them I loved them more. We always had plenty of good food; grandma was an excellent cook. She always had a layered German chocolate cake or pumpkin pie. We would sit around talking with family for hours and not realize how late it was till we kids started falling asleep on the floor, the chairs, the piano bench. LOL It was a great time in life. I’m hoping to one day have the same family feeling in my own home, and I will make sure that I spend that extra time with my grandkids.

  319. our annual halloween parties – when my kids were smaller – we would have kids, friends, neighbors over for games, food & fun before trick or treating. I miss those days!! thanks for the giveaway!!

  320. The most memorable gathering I remember attending was a small wedding inside a private home. It was such a tight space that made it so intimate – we all gathered around the couple as they said their vows.

  321. Last Christmas I had the privilege of hosting my entire extended family on my dad’s side for a Christmas dinner. I’m the oldest grandchild and it just made me so happy to have my parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, plus all of my immediate family gathered together in my own home. We ate good food, laughed, sang, played music, and even shed some tears as we recalled family memories and remembered my grandparents who have passed on. I won’t ever forget it!

  322. One of my most memorable family gatherings is a Christmas Eve celebration when I was 4 (or about that age!). I have an older sister (she’s about 5.5 years older) and she came up with the idea to put on a show of us acting out a Christmas carole. We did Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer that year- I still remember so clearly us giggling and making a fantastic exit, her as Rudolph pulling me as Santa (wearing something only a child would consider a ‘beard’!) on a red plastic sled. We put the show on for our parents and my Dad’s Mother who lived in the upstairs apartment of our home. We always did a German Christmas Eve dinner and to this day, we always relive those years as we sit down to our German feast. I feel so incredibly blessed to have had such an idyllic childhood. <3

  323. Elizabeth Turner says:

    I hosted Easter dinner for a bunch of friends when I was far away from family – beautiful Kentucky ham, blue cheese deviled eggs, asparagus Gruyere tart…great time.

  324. My most memorable, and cherished, gathering, was the last Christmas we spent at my grandmothers for Chrustmas. It wasn’t perfect, but spending time with them in her house is one of my favorite memories.

  325. Last year I hosted my sister-in-law’s baby shower. Decorating and creating the favors was fun, but spending time with her family and ours together was so special. Things went on for hours and hours, with much laughing and talking about our own babies and the next generation. As her mother was leaving that evening, she said, “Your warm, welcoming, effortless hostessing makes us all want to stay forever!” Her words made me so happy. It wasn’t effortless, but I’m so glad it was warm and welcoming!

  326. Thanksgiving is my favorite meal to host. Love the focus on faith, family, friends, & food!

  327. di@Cottage-Wishes says:

    One of my best memories is my youngest daughters wedding shower. We hosted a gathering at my great uncle’s farm in NC. My mom, sister-in-law (who are no longer with us), my best friend and my other daughter had a girls weekend and had such fun. Staying at a fun family farm and sharing our stories was the best adventure we have had! Thank you for this wonderful giveaway. Di@Cottage-wishes

  328. I’ve hosted teas for my granddaughter while my mom was still living and they were wonderful memories.

  329. Introducing friends to a favorite entertaining meal of ours…fondue!
    And ever a cup of hot tea with family after dinner, impromptu afternoon tea with my hubby’s Dad, or on cold winter afternoons with my daughters!

  330. Last year was the year of big parties for us. I threw our daughters first birthday party. It was a pumpkin/fall theme. Lots of comfort food, oranges, pumpkins and everything I love about fall. The kids loved it! Then in December I threw my mom’s 50th gold theme birthday party. It was all about the glam. Fancy finger foods, gold everything and lots of glitter! I’m new to your site and glad I found it :)

  331. When I was a kid some family friends of ours would host a cookie and ornament exchange every year at Christmas time. I remember it so fondly — always such a fun gathering of women young and old, lots of laughs, lots of festivity.

  332. Rebekah Bloyd says:

    Last year, I was 37 weeks pregnant at Christmas, so my husband and I got to host our families since I couldn’t travel. It was such a special day, and we created many memories. Can’t wait to celebrate this year with my new little guy!

  333. Laurie Takens says:

    I usually have the Christmas parties for my extended family that can have over 30 people. I love getting the house ready and putting pretty dishes out. One year, I made small copies of everyone’s pictures when they were little and used those as place settings so you had to figure out who sat where by the picture – very fun and great for the grandkids to see all the oldies in their younger years!

  334. One of my most memorable gatherings was Christmas 2012. It was the last Christmas my mister’s grandmother would get to spend at home.

  335. My most memorable gathering was a retirement party given to honor my daddy. It was an outside event with a large extended family and lots of friends. Patio tables galore with beautiful mixed arrangement adorned the garden and I benefit with precious memories of some of my late relatives who were there.

  336. Heidi Menges says:

    I like hosting Christmas! I love all the little details that most people get frustrated about

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