Stephanie Booth Shafran’s Book Shares Hostess Secrets

By Jill Brooke

Named as one of the top hostesses in Los Angeles, Stephanie Booth Shafron understands casual and stylish cool. In fact, she wrote a book called, “You’re Invited” which gives her secrets to classic elegant entertaining.

Since it is  National Eat Outside Day, we sought her advice for some hostessing tips.

“I adore creating exquisite memories for my family and friends to share,” she says. 

Parties she reminds us are not about perfection but joy.  Follow some of her tips and it will take the stress out of entertaining.

10 Hostess Tips for a Great Party

1) Choose a Color Theme

“I see the world in color. I like to carry a color palette throughout fro the flowers to the food to my outfit. When guests walk in, I want them to be wowed. Not by the extravagance but by the setting.”

2) Create a Theme

“For a garden theme party, capitalize on it with repetition. Here I did that with the blue and white tablecloths and chinoiserie vases. I used pink lilacs, tulips sweet peas, roses and green viburnum.” The varying heights of flowers reflect a garden as well. 

3) Send Invitations

Sets up the mood and gets people excited. Also have special place cards for each guest. We love these watercolor floral ones she used. 

4) Lots of Flowers

“Abundance and repetition. Sometimes a steady row of blooms is more impactful than one big bouquet in the middle of the table.”

5) Always Be Ready 15 minutes Early

If you are relaxed, your guests will be as well. Leave time to get excited about the party.

6). Have a Cocktail in hand and a Smile to Greet Guests.

“It’s always fun to have a signature cocktail at the beginning of the night the nods to the theme of the evening.”

7). Find Details that String the Decor Together

If you have grandma’s china with gold trim and silverware of different shades, consider getting mercury votives to pull it all together. You can mix and match but find items that pull it all together. 

8) Have Extra Sweaters or Wraps for Cooler Weather

“If you are hosting outdoors, place pashminas on women’s chairs in colors that coordinate with the party’s theme.” It’s all about the details and this shows that you are not only thoughtful but ensuring that the party will last longer in case a chill comes in. 

9). Start Collecting Linens

Napkins are the easiest way to update a look. For monogrammed napkins, it’s worth the investment. Booth Shafron recommends resources such as Talmaris in Paris, Julia B. Deborah Sharpe, New Orleans-based Leontine Linens and Halo Home by KSW. If you have a hobby or passion, find cocktail napkins that echo that interest too since it personalizes the event. Also have a good collection of tablecloths that add dimension to the table. 

10) Invite People Who are also Good Guests.

Here’s one tip we couldn’t agree more with. To be a good guest, remember to write a thank you note and come 10 minutes late and leave when the party is winding down. Also, make an effort to talk to the person on your left and right so everyone feels included while surrounded in the cocoon of love the hostess created.

Whatever your plans today, try to eat outdoors. It could be a decorated table or even put a blanket on the grass with a basket and some wine and cheese. Make everything special and it will be. That is Stephanie Booth Shafran’s mantra and should be yours too.

Photo Credits: The Ingalls

Jill Brooke is a former CNN correspondent, Post columnist and editor-in-chief of Avenue and Travel Savvy magazine. She is an author and the editorial director of FPD.