Dinner Party Secrets From Cupcakes And Cashmere’s Emily Schuman

While there’s nothing more civilized than a chic dinner party at your place, if the idea of cooking and entertaining gives you heart palpitations, we’ve got your back. We’ve asked Emily Schuman of Cupcakes and Cashmere—L.A.’s coolest blog that covers everything from personal style, interior design, and yes, recipes and entertaining—to dish on the ultimate tricks of the trade for a simple and sophisticated at-home affair. From idiot-proof serving pointers to easy decoration ideas that won’t leave you broke or exhausted, these entertainment tips will ensure you have the best dinner party ever.
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Rule #1: Be prepared.
“I always make sure I have a few things in my kitchen at all times, so if I find out about a last-minute guest, I'm never unprepared. Here are my essentials: a chilled bottle of champagne, olives, crackers/breadsticks, nuts (I prefer Marcona almonds), dried fruit, pasta (in a pinch, some minced garlic, salt, pepper, and olive oil makes an easy dinner).”
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Rule #2: Keep things simple.
“I like natural table settings and usually stick with one color palette since it always looks chic and clean. I use a white table cloth, some burlap (it creates a nice, rustic touch), unscented candles in hurricane vases, mismatched white flowers in vintage julep glasses and pour water into separate bottles (it makes even tap water seem a bit more refined).”
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Rule #3: Pay attention to the details.
“Little things, like the right ambiance is key to a good dinner party. Make sure your lights are slightly dimmed, there are lit candles (these should be scented) in the bathroom, and that you choose a nice playlist that appeals to the crowd/situation. If you're hosting a game night, pick something that's lively and fun, whereas if you're hosting an intimate dinner party, keep the music mellow and soft.”