11 Old Fashioned Entertaining Tips For Maximum Charm

Maximize charm at your next gathering with these 11 old fashioned tips for entertaining. You’ll find these top notch tips are worth reviving.

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A few years back I was lucky enough to receive a cocktail cart that was owned by my grandmother Wanda. A lady who to me, was the quintessential 1950’s housewife. Never a hair out of place, able to whip up a home cooked meal in minutes and a home kept absolutely immaculate. She embodied the proud homemaker. Who were these women? A different breed perhaps.

According to my uncle, she was also someone who enjoyed opening up her home as much as 3 times a week for dinner parties! Something I can’t quite wrap my brain around. But that is just it, this generation of people made entertaining a way of life. And in doing so, it became an art we can learn from.

cocktail cart for old fashioned entertaining

My grandmother would take this very cocktail cart, and pull it table side to make cocktails for her good friends. Can you imagine? What an experience she was creating right in her little kitchen. I now keep this cocktail cart in my dining room and each time I look at it, I think of her pushing it into her kitchen to serve friends. Luckily, you don’t need a cocktail cart to make people feel special.

There are plenty of other old fashioned entertaining tips that will make your gatherings memorable and ensure your guests have a great time.

Personally, one of my new years resolutions was to have people over more often. I hate to say it but here we are in April and I have yet to host a proper dinner party. Last year I hosted maybe 5 gatherings (not including kids swim days) and for me that is just not enough. The thing is, I know there are people that do this even less than I do and so for this reason. I wanted to share some great tips I have found that will instantly add charm to your next dinner party.

woman holding flowers and champagne flutes

These tips are a combination of things my grandmother Wanda would do and some others I found online that I will be reviving in my home.

Punch Bowl

You don’t have to make classic cocktails for everyone or have a full bar for that matter. Instead consider making a classic fruit punch complete with chunks of fresh fruit placed out in a punch bowl. This is not only a great old fashioned way to serve a drink but it helps you as a host serve your guests and keep everyone refreshed with a drink without much effort from you.

Besides, not many of us know cocktail recipes off hand and the best part is a fruit punch is pretty much a guaranteed crowd pleaser. This one tip has me scouring our local antique stores for a punch bowl with matching glasses. 

Paper Invitations

Years ago a friend out of the blue sent me a paper invitation in the mail for a ladies tea at her home. The moment I got it, it made me excited to attend her tea. I knew if anyone made the effort to mail out invitations, surely the event would have a lot of thought put into it as well. Turns out I was right and that event stands out in my mind simply because of the way it was presented, with a paper invitation.

So consider sending out a paper invitation for a dinner you host. It will create excitement around the occasion and make it more memorable.

Make Something Homemade

Of course not everything has to be homemade, especially when serving an entire dinner and certainly not the main course. But having a homemade cake or pie to serve at the end of the meal is a nice old fashioned touch that tells your guests that you put in a little extra effort for their visit.

If you truly want to make your next dinner party have a little vintage flair, consider baking or cooking something from a vintage cookbook or serving an old fashioned main dish. 

Dress Up

You might not think of sit-down dinners at a friends house to be cause for going all out in your attire BUT, when everyones dressed up, the casual dinner now becomes a special occasion. Besides, who doesn’t like having a reason to dress up every once in a while? So don’t be afraid to asks guests to dress up for your dinner and bring back this very classy, very memorable vintage practice.

old fashioned things for a great gathering

Play Records

I know I know, who has a record player anymore? Not me at the moment. But I am on the hunt for one as I think the idea of playing records as opposed to an Alexa playlist is so much more charming. Hit up garage sales or even think about investing in a modern record player. The age of the record player doesn’t matter, it’s the fact that records are being played that adds charm to the evening.

Just think Frank Sinatra spinning on the side table to add a special touch. 

Play A Game

Every year for my birthday, I have friends over for a dinner, conversation and you guessed it, a game! This was once something people did regularly but seriously, how many gatherings have you gone to lately where the adults played an interactive game?

One of the best party tips I can give is to play a game because a game can help create a more relaxed atmosphere and help people come out of their shell. Much of the time people play on their phones in between conversation. This tends to kill the vibe a bit. Take a tip from the all stars of the entertaining generation, and have a game of charades, Pictionary or guess who ready. 

Set The Table

Set a proper table. This is something I see seldom done these days. Even if you do not have a formal dining room, don’t let this stop you. Setting a proper table for your guests is not only charming but it creates an uplifted feeling around the meal you are serving. Essentially this will make for a more enjoyable meal.  

You can put your own spin on the color palette however, ideally the table should have a linen cloth, a floral center piece or even just a jar of backyard cuttings for greenery, cutlery and it’s best to use your best dishes. Throw in a neatly starched cloth napkin, you may have just transformed into a good housekeeping hostess. 

Cake and Coffee

My grandmother would serve coffee and cake after a meal she served. This was something done quite regularly in peoples homes and is still something people do practice. It is likely one of the top tips that have stood the test of time. But it is not as common as it once was. I say, it is a keeper. There is nothing quite more charming then a homemade cake or even store-bought cake placed on the table with coffee allowing guests to enjoy a last bit of conversation, and a treat before the end of an evening. 

note cards and other old fashioned things to do for dinner parties

Place Cards

I have only done this a couple of times for dinner parties I have thrown. You would not believe what a little personal touch does for your guests. The reaction is always a surprised one as I watch the guests move around the table to find their names. I can tell they are pleased by the effort. Try a handwritten place card at your next formal dinner party. If you don’t have the handwriting for it, you can also purchase printable place cards as well.

Send Thank You Card’s After

They say a little thoughtfulness goes a long way and in this case, I would have to agree. Sending out a mailed thank you card after a dinner party is not only a nice gesture but one that makes the guest feel appreciated.

Final Thoughts

Whether you are looking to throw your first dinner party or planning your next party, these tips are sure to charm anyone on your guest list. By planning a simple menu and incorporating plenty of throwback touches you can pull off a classic dinner party that will not only charm your guests but ensure they have a good time.

Other Posts You May Enjoy…

Homemaking 101 For Beginners

How To Serve Afternoon Tea at Home

7 Vintage Skills That Will Change Your Kitchen

*Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive commissions if you choose to purchase through the links I provide (at no cost to you).

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