valley & co. tips :: 5 ways to elevate at home entertaining

Entertaining season is officially upon us and we’re so excited to share our recipes, flowers, and home with you (and with our families) – something we missed so much last year! It’s time to open up the cabinets, sharpen our kitchen tools (or order takeout!), and gather to our hearts’ content! To make up for the lost gatherings of 2020, let’s all make a pact to ramp up our soirees – whether it’s dinner for two or a full house for Thanksgiving, gatherings deserve all of the hallmarks of personalization. Follow these 5 Insta-worthy tips to put your stamp on home entertaining ::

Begin with a bevy that will become your signature: think about what your crowd would enjoy sipping on and make a batch before they arrive. Maybe it’s a festive punch packed with flavor (this is a Valley Fam signature!) served up in a vintage punch bowl for each Christmas, a decadent nog, or a classic bubbly drink – whatever it is, it’s fun to have a signature that guests look forward to experiencing when they come to visit!

Drinks and styling: Valley & Co. | Photos: Katie Parra

Embroider cocktail and dinner napkins: totally traditional? You bet. Extra special? Absolutely! We love a good embroidered napkin that packs a personal bit of flair. We iron and use our V embroidered napkins at each Thanksgiving dinner – it’s just a tradition and it makes us feel extra special!

Photo: Jen Fariello

Mix and match homemade + pre-assembled bites: you heard it here, folks – it’s entirely acceptable to mix from-scratch menu items with store bought or pre-assembled. It’s also entirely acceptable to order takeout or a chef’s kit that you simply put out on platters for your guests if you’re not a cook by nature. While we love to make everything from scratch, it’s time consuming and we’ve found that simplifying a few menu elements makes our kitchen time much breezier! Think: big cheese + charcuterie platters, chilled seafood (we love serving lobster claws on crushed ice at Christmas), and homemade apps (classic deviled eggs are always a hit) to begin.

Food: Table Catering Co. | Photos: Katie Parra 

Use unique elements to house blooms: punch bowls, terra cotta pots, and vintage champagne buckets all make for the prettiest and unexpected vessels for a centerpiece. Mix and match on your tabletop with floral elements in julep cups or bread bowls. Don’t forget to put flowers on your bar, kitchen counter, or in your powder room!

Flowers: Valley & Co. | Photo: Katie Parra

Splurge on paper: setting the table with calligraphed or hand-painted menus or place cards certainly set the tone for an intentional party and are well worth the spend (you’re also supporting artists by doing so!). It’s just that extra little bit of effort that will wow your guests – we also like to include personalized notes at certain dinner parties and Ava loves to make place cards for the holidays! And don’t forget a bar menu! So helpful for home parties (both with a bartender or at self-serve stations)!

Styling: Valley & Co. | Stationery: Libby Tipton | Food: Table Catering Co. |

Photo: Kerry Jeanne Photography

Photo: Katie Parra

Now, who is ready to celebrate?

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