Living Entertaining:

Swoony Tips for Successful Entertaining

Photography by Mirella Cheesman

I am without doubt a lady who loves herself a good party. And while I get immense creative joy in concepting the overall vision for an event, this feeling pales in comparison to the fun of the actual affair, once friends are gathered together. Last week I co-hosted a dinner with Kate Foley for Vestiaire Collective, in celebration of summer. Together with 30 inspiring individuals, we feasted under a starry Amagansett sky as the day turned to night, breathing in the scent of lush lavender mingled with the aromas of praline and a blueberry brown butter tart from our meal. The bash was one for the books – it was the swooniest of soirées. I mapped out the décor in yesterday’s post, but today I share the fun, the food, the drinks, and my essential list of entertaining tips!

I will not lie, event planning can certainly be stressful. There are an insane amount of moving parts you must get right in order to execute a successful gathering. So to help make sure it goes off without a hitch, here’s what to keep in mind:

You must be a graceful host. Communicating with all of your guests is essential, so be sure you have help with the behind-the-scenes and production elements. A stressed host projects onto the overall event. A relaxed atmosphere makes your friends feel at home.

Lighting is oh-so-important. Lots of candles and twinkly lights strung overhead flatter just about everyone and make for a dramatic photographic moment come nightfall.

An eclectic playlist, plus one for back-up, is essential. Having speakers in various zones is ideal so the music can be heard or lowered in key areas. The playlist I used is below.

A specialty cocktail makes things festive. Without fail, tequila always seems to liven up a party!! We had the Casa Dragones team whipping up their Pink Panther cocktail. Scroll down for the recipe.

Include a little something thoughtful for guests to take away. We offered our visitors sunhats from Viteri and Clyde. We also had a goodie bags with a Vestiaire gift card, Splash cocktail mixer and the sweetest makeup bag from one of our guests, Jessie Randall of Loeffler Randall.

The incredible seasonal food was prepared by the amazing team at Cloud Catering. Guests enjoyed a fresh summer menu that began with strawberry endive salad with spiced praline pecans, whipped creme fruit, strawberry vinaigrette, and arugula. After that was an entree of Tasmanian sea trout à la provençale with a mélange of summer vegetables, black olives, and a tomato vinaigrette. It happened to be the most artfully-crafted plate of food these eyes have ever swooned over. We ended the evening with a delicious blueberry brown butter tart.

I always love to find a way to extend some of the décor elements into the food or drink. Since our table was highlighted by a dramatic, 30-foot lavender garland, it seemed fitting to garnish our tequila cocktail with a sprig of lavender. That small touch carried forward the décor from table to cocktail!

Choosing what to wear was just too much fun not to share!!!! I spent hours perusing the Vestiaire Collective site and my biggest conundrum was Suno or Proenza Schouler — hahaha! I decided to wear Suno for the setup and Proenza, here, for the actual dinner!!! I just love that I would never afford a Proenza dress at retail, but Vestiaire gave me access to these designer digs. I offset the elegant dress with my son’s Vans flip flops. I love myself juxtaposition!

My favorite bit of the night was where the open sky transitioned from bright blue to dusky midnight. As the day turned to night, my garden was filled with friends and laughter and abundance. I swoon summer!

I cannot express enough gratitude to my incredible team for helping Kate and I execute this stunning event. Many thanks to Local Creative, Michael Haff, Fodder Fox Farm, Rough Linen, Cloud Catering, Casa Dragones and the teams from Vestiaire & Krupp.

Eclectic Dinner Party Playlist

by eyeswoon

  • Fahrenheit – Bloom Twins
  • Five String Serenade – Mazzy Star
  • Walk on the Wild Side – Lou Reed
  • Youth – Daughter
  • Do You Love Me? – Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
  • No Diggity – Chef Faker
  • Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door – Bob Dylan
  • Bag Lady – Erykah Badu
  • No One’s Gonna Love You – Band of horses
  • Paradise Circus – Massive Attack
  • Train Song – Vashti Bunyan
  • The Jean Genie – David Bowie
  • This Mess We’re In – PJ Harvey
  • All Day and all of the Night – The Kinks
  • Street Spirit (Fade out) – Radio Head
  • Coffee – Sylvan Esso

Swoon these songs on my Spotify!

Casa Dragones Pink Panther "La Pantera Rosa"

Jim Meehan and Enrique Olivera


  • 2oz Casa Dragones Blanco Tequila
  • 3/4 oz lime juice
  • 1/2 oz grapefruit juice
  • 1/2 oz agave syrup
  • 2 dashes celery shrub

The Prep

  1. Shake with ice and fine strain into a Collins glass filled with ice or a coupe glass.
  2. Top with 1 oz ginger ale.
  3. Garnish with a lime wheel (and lavender sprig at this event!).
Share this Swoon –

Necessary Objects

These items may contain affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission if you make a purchase using this link.