Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Wednesday's What If Post…"What If I Couldn't Decide What To Do?"

Well then, if you were Pattie or Ellen…or let's say even Brenda or Sharon…you would laugh and say, "She can NEVER decide what to do when it comes to this annual Christmas Party!" And I'm sure in the back of their minds they are thinking to themselves….when will she ever learn?

Each year we have the exact same Christmas Party with pretty much the exact same guest list…and I love it that way! What I don't love is trying to decide what to do…should I have a seated dinner party or a buffet style party? Just ask Brenda and she will tell you that the ONE year I had it buffet style I swore I would never do it again! Why? I'm not quite sure...

 I thought I had learned exactly what kind of party I liked to have at my house…that is, until I attended my own Grandfather's 90th birthday celebration at my Aunt Jayne's house! You can see my blog post that I did on my personal blog right HERE  if you want to! It was such a lovely affair…and it was buffet style and seemed so 'effortless' on her part! I bet you $100.00 she would hit me right now if she heard me say that! Because, the truth of the matter is…she worked her "can" off! And it showed! We had the best time! But it got me to thinking…"Why do I always do a seated dinner?" It's hard to set up tables in my house and seat 30 or so people…and yet, I like to be organized and in control! So, if I do it buffet style, will they stick around and linger and talk and laugh like we always do, or will they eat and run? 
That, my friends is the "What If" question for today! HELP!!!

Just look at these pretty 'seated' dinner party tables! 

Some are so elegant and then some are so traditional and welcoming and let you know that you are indeed in someone's home! We Southerner's tend to want to do that, you know! We WANT you to feel at home!

Just like you can see HERE at Sweet Something Design Blog!

I mean really….who wouldn't want to be seated at any of these lovely tables for a Christmas Dinner Party?

I'm in love with this pine farm table!! What a gorgeous setting! After this post was done I also saw it on Tina's blog…you know, my sweet friend Tina of The Enchanted Home! Check out her fabulous idea of the perfect winter day! You won't be sorry!

And then I also love the "elegant but understated" feeling you get when seated in someone's dining room! What to do?

Wouldn't you feel so very special if you were seated in any of these spectacular dining rooms?

And yet, you get to these beautiful buffet pictures and you think to yourself, this is good! 
Maybe I should do this!

You can find these great buffet tips here!

And then, just when I think I have my mind made up…I get to some more of these beautiful dinner party pics that show both ideas and I'm even more confused!

Thank you Barbara, for these fabulous pictures of both a buffet style dinner party as well as a beautiful seated dinner party! You are the Hampton Hostess, I might add! Now I know why you are the hostess we all desire to be! You can check out Barbara's beautiful blog HERE!

What would you do? Formal… seated... stand around…buffet?

It's the biggest decision I face all year, every year!
 So, after that being said….I guess we will have fun NO MATTER what we do! If that's my biggest decision of the year... then we are definitely good to go... I'll keep you posted!
Love you all dearly!

Also, if you missed the very sweet blog post that Teresa of Splendid Sass did yesterday for my shop, please take a look at it right HERE!!!!


  1. Carolyn, these are great photos! Wow! I like to set up a fabulous buffet on the large serving island, near the kitchen, and have formal seating at tables. Best of both worlds and less stress!

  2. Hi Carolyn,
    I do love a seated dinner, but when I have a big crowd I don't have the room for it here so I always do a cocktail party with a buffet ample enough that no one feels the need to go out to dinner afterwards. I invite people for 6:00 and the last to leave are heading home between 10:30 or 11:00 - nobody eats and runs. Just do a sliced tenderloin or ham with finger-sized brioche buns or biscuits and the men are there for the long haul. Add platters of antipasti, cheese, a crudité and shrimp or side of smoked salmon - people think you slaved over it for days but it is actually easy!

  3. I love special dinner parties...but my favorite are backyard bbqs on a warm summer night!

  4. What beautiful ideas for a party, we have a small party every Christmas eve for our family. Nothing super fancy but I do enjoy setting the adult table and one for the kids, its always buffet style. I like the idea of a buffet because its easy.

  5. Tbere's something about a buffet around the holidays that just feels really warm, cheery and cozy. I do love a seated dinner party but its more formal, people generally don't socialize the same way as they do when they are getting up and circulating, I love how you can decorate a beautiful buffet table, with the glow of soft candles everywhere and lots of greenery, have me dreaming of a party too! I know WHATEVER you do is going to be GORGEOUS!!!

  6. Wow - I wish you had done this post before I was planning my party last weekend (for colleagues, but still fun). I was in Costco wishing I had done some research into pretty table arrangements for a dinner!

    We kind of had a combination of the two different styles. We had mingling time for the first hour to 75 minutes (passed hors d'oeuvres), then there was a buffet set up on the kitchen island, and we had two tables set up for the dinner. The tables were set with linens, glasses, silverware. Half of the group sat in the kitchen, but the table was set up in a pretty way, with twinkling candles and lights and a nice centerpiece; the dining room was set for another group, with another pretty centerpiece. We thought that people would switch tables or mix it up during dessert, but interestingly that didn't happen - each table had its own dessert plate, and the group was happy where they were seated! After dinner, there was some more mingling (we thought people might go to the outdoor room in front of the fire, but people stayed in the kitchen). It all worked very well.

    However, I think that you have a tradition and it sounds like the perfect thing year after year. Do you have the dinner served at the tables, or do people serve themselves at a buffet line? I hope you document it all and post it so we can see how you do everything!

    - Holly

  7. You do a amazing job of setting up dinner tables.

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