Laurie Furber's pursuit of a stylishly sustainable lifestyle inspired her to launch Greenhouse Design Studio, a hybrid of an online shop, social networking site, and resource guide for green businesses. While curating a sustainable home takes time, Laurie believes in starting small. Her suggestion? Implement thoughtful details that make holiday entertaining easier and more eco-friendly — regardless of budget or aesthetic.
Laurie's entertaining style is decidedly casual and usually involves candlelight and a bountiful buffet, allowing guests to self serve and mingle freely. With the holidays approaching, she's sticking to simple guidelines and a few tricks to get her through the season.
Keep reading to get Laurie's tips on everything from incorporating vintage elements to stress-free decor!
- "A tall stack of eight-inch white buffet plates — we always use them for our parties to save on waste. No paper to throw away, and very little food waste. The plates are small enough that guests nearly always finish what's on their plate. (And the hungry guests can always go back for more.)"
- "A cupboard full of Our Favorite Wine Glasses — they're great because you can serve anything in them, they are (nearly) unbreakable, and they stack on your buffet. Help guests keep track of their glass by writing their name on it with a china marker. It will wash right off when the party's over."
- "A big collection of linens all in the same color — we use Vintage Cotton Napkins, Not Your Grandma's Vintage Linens, and Pretty Embellished Linens all in white. They make a pretty stack and can go right into the wash after the party."
- "A few pretty decanters for water . No need to have water bottles when you can fill a pretty decanter with filtered water and mint or lemon and let guests help themselves."
- "Don't stress out about arranging flowers . Go for a nature walk the day before your party and forage for pretty branches, flowers, acorns, pine cones, whatever appeals to you. Then arrange those pretty natural things in your favorite vases or bottles and voilà! Beautiful centerpieces (and a clear, calm head from your walk)."
- "Choose one house drink, place all the makings along with the recipe on a tray, and let guests shake their own. That way you're not tied to the bar mixing drinks all night. Our favorite is a gimlet made with organic vodka and limes from our backyard."
- "Not everything's going to be perfect at your party — just accept that. Focus on first impressions: think about the first thing your guests will see, smell, taste, and hear when they arrive at your party and make all those things great. Then you can relax and enjoy your party and your guests. A relaxed and happy hostess will make the party fun and memorable for everybody."
- "When the party's over, wash, polish, and press everything, so it's ready to go for the next party. That way you'll resist the temptation to resort to paper and plastic in a pinch. You can just pull out all your pretty plates, glasses, linens, trays, and flatware and be ready to go."