If you have read this blog for some time, you will know that I absolutely adore all things Charlotte Moss. I own every book she has ever written. They are all completely inspiring, especially if you want to surround yourself with sophisticated ambiance and timeless style. Lucky for us, she added a new book to her collection, Charlotte Moss Entertains.
Charlotte Moss Entertains showcases casual chic soirees and elegant dinner parties with every detail in place. She knows how to do it right! I recently had the opportunity to interview Charlotte about the book and ask all my curious questions about how to have a truly memorable evening. Her answers are something to treasure and remember. Hope you enjoy!
To purchase the book: CLICK HERE
What inspired you to write your new book, Charlotte Moss Entertains?
Entertaining seemed to be the missing link after my last gardening book and a number of decorating books. The dining room, setting the table and creating arrangments for the table have factored into all of my books.
Every picture in your book has the most elegant and chic ambiance. What advice do you have to “set the tone” for a memorable evening?
A memorable evening begins with people. I have gotten through some pretty dismal meals because my dinner partner was terrific. There are some obvious things – romantic lighting, I love candlelight, harsh lighting can be a real mood killer, food, decorations, pristine glassware, flatware, and linens are all essential. One thing is for sure, your evening should say – ” I knocked myself out for you.”
A rule of thumb: do the best you can with whatever you have and can afford, and remember to keep the “party” in dinner party.
What are the top three things about entertaining that you think have changed over the years? What remains consistent?
One thing that remains consistent is that people like being together, sharing meals, and celebrating. People today have a more relaxed and casual approach to things, it’s not good or bad, it’s just different. For example, I remember ONLY sending engraved invitations, now in our technologically enhanced (and challenged) world, Paperless Post allows you to personalize a digital invite and it is efficient, for SOME things.
Many people choose to entertain in restaurants, it’s not my choice, but if it works for you, I say carry on. For me, the home has always been my “center,” and sharing it with others is the southern way, and how I was brought up in Virginia.
What was one of your most memorable dinner parties (that you created or attended)?
Most memorable? Hmm…that’s is a tough one! I have attended so many beautiful dinners and events, but perhaps the most amazing was at Versailles. Musicians play throughout the chateau as everyone arrives in their ballgowns, candlelight everywhere, and dinner was held in the palm houses. It was summer and there were fireworks over the water. Votive candles had been nestled in the giant Versailles tubs so that as it got dark they twinkled and lit up the underside of the trees. Absolute elegance, beauty, grandeur…. heavenly.
Do you have any suggestions when it comes to place cards and seating arrangements?
Place cards allow a hostess to seat people where she thinks they will have an enjoyable evening and takes the pressure off guests having to choose. Ten or more guests require cards. There is the usual protocol for seating, if there is a guest of honor, she/he should be seated to the right of the host/hostess, but absent that, just knowing your guests and doing your best. I record all of my dinner parties, including seating to make sure that I don’t repeat seating the same people next to each other.