Face to face social interaction is proven to increase happiness and help you live longer. We are increasingly isolating ourselves with technology and the ramifications of that are just starting to be understood. Gathering around a table with people you enjoy and sharing a meal is an easy way to increase your sense of community, togetherness and it boosts your happiness level. Why, then, are dinner parties so hard to put together? The holiday season is right around the corner, it’s the perfect time to plan ahead and keep it simple so that you can enjoy time with the people you care about.
Cloth + Gold, a new, local Startup serving the greater Denver-Boulder community, gives you pretty much everything you need to throw a dinner party. Currently, they offer six styles of tables with seasonal and special occasion settings to be added. Tablescapes include complete place settings, each with a charger plate, dinner plate, salad plate, wine glass, flatware and cloth napkin, as well as a table runner and centerpiece accessories. Hosts can purchase in increments of four for up to 40 guests. I’m thinking Thanksgiving dinner at my place, around 6:30?
This sound great, right? It gets better – they will also CLEAN THE DISHES FOR YOU! Each setting of 4 comes with a custom box: you scrape the food off, put the plates in the box and the next day it’s taken away. This part of it sounds so nice to me. It’s not fun to load the dishwasher at 11:30 at night after everyone’s gone home.
Bridget Rogers, the founder of Cloth + Gold, is a fun, energetic person who is passionate about dinner parties. She grew up in a home with parents who threw frequent dinner parties and would hear laughter and adult conversation and was enchanted by it as a child. Her father took special care over the way the table looked and her mother was a pro at the ins and outs of preparing food for a number of people.
I spoke to Bridget recently and she gave me 3 easy to follow tips for hosting a killer dinner party this holiday season:
1. Have a good timeline in place for your party and follow it. Each table setting style comes with a menu and Bridget worked really hard to make these as foolproof as possible. In preparing the timelines that also come with each dinner party, she consulted with her mom (and I love that about her). “It comes down to what you can do in the days ahead of the dinner to make is as stress-free for yourself as possible the day of the party,” says Bridget. She strongly believes that “the best host is a calm host – you set the tone for the evening. If you’re running around, frantic, as guests are arriving it doesn’t do anyone any good.” Totally agreed. Me deciding 15 minutes before guests arrive that I need to clarify the butter and then having to google what exactly clarifying butter entails is not a win-win scenario.
2. Don’t sweat the flowers – but do get them! “I don’t use any extravagant flowers,” says Bridget. “I purposefully styled each setting in the photos with flowers that you can easily pick up at the grocery store.” Love that. I do the same thing for my interior photo shoots – grocery stores have great stock and, if you talk to the floral department, they’ll usually order things in for you. Even if you forget Tip #1 – you can still pick something up last minute.
3. Put the records on: Bridget feels that music is a big part of a successful dinner party and she created multiple playlists for each setting. She has moods like “So Serene” with music that’s calming with a zen feel as well as a setlist called “Modern Soul” filled with modern soul music. Some of her customers will play one setlist at the start of the evening and then wind down with another. She creates setlists with about 50 songs per mood. I’m a big believer that good music and a great atmosphere can overcome so-so food.
“Far too often, we get caught up in daily living and our online lives that we forget to actually live in the moment and make memories with those we care about.” – Bridget Rogers, founder of Cloth + Gold
“Our survival hinges on social interaction” – Psychologist Susan Pinker.