The Essential Spring Entertaining Party Primer

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Southern Socials

The Essential Spring Entertaining Party Primer

Although much of this information was presented last spring, timeless advice always rings true when planning lovely spring parties. First & foremost, beautiful gatherings begin with your good taste & they need not be complicated. Simple flower arrangements, polished heirloom silver & a backdrop of neutral plates, linens & stemware can be elevated with a few stylish touches. When planning a celebration, it’s important to assess what will be needed well in advance of the event so that the gathering runs smoothly. If a little forethought is put into action now, the preparations will not seem overwhelming in the least. Brush up on the essentials that include making glassware selections to pointers on How To Polish Silver. Look to time-honored Southern party recipes as well as fresh collections to begin getting ready to host a season of beautiful parties.

The Recipe Box. Rebecca Gordon Buttermilk Lipstick Southern HostessFROM THE SOUTHERN HOSTESS OF BUTTERMILK LIPSTICK

{helpful advice}

How To Properly Plan For Spring Southern Socials

Every great gathering begins with planning & logistics. From the invitations to the provisions, many tasks must be taken care of ahead of time. Create a timeline well in advance & mark items off as you go. Once the menu has been prepared & carefully arranged for guests to enjoy, the hostess takes the lead in orchestrating the memorable occasion.

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rebecca gordon buttermilk lipstick Southern Recipes & How To's Easy Tailgate Recipes RebeccaGordon ButtermilkLipstickThe Essential Spring Entertaining Party Primer

Spring socials are an opportunity for the hostess to honor family & friendships. With a little forethought, they can be simple & lavish gatherings. A few pointers will have you ready to host an array of receptions, showers, garden parties & birthday celebrations. Here’s what you should know.

No. 1

The Tabletop Style

Neutral elements will always look the best when building the foundation for a beautiful soiree. It’s always a good idea to choose a base color to thread throughout the space. Welcome the bright spring green indoors & let it serve as inspiration, then tuck a few freshly snipped blooms in a contrasting color to liven the space. White platters, small bowls, plates & freshly pressed neutral linens will showcase the color & set the tone in good taste. Wooden boards can ground spaces & offer a practical element while blending with heirloom china to lend a fresh, modern look. Once you are ready to pull it all together, layer the pieces in a variety of heights for interest. Have a set spot to organize plates, napkins & flatware.

How To Polish Silver

A bit of spring cleaning will need to be addressed in order to have heirloom silver looking its’ best. To remove the tarnish quickly & effectively, particularly from place settings & cake servers with intricate details, my two step method will tidy them so that only minor polishing will be needed during the remaining season.

Line a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with aluminum foil with the shiny portion facing upwards. Place the silverware in a single layer in the pan being certain all of them make direct contact with the foil. Bring 8 cups of water to a boil. Sprinkle 4 teaspoons baking soda over the utensils, then pour the water over them. Let stand a few minutes in order for the chemical reaction to remove the tarnish. Once shiny, remove them from the solution with a pair of tongs & rinse them under water. Dry the pieces & use a little commercial cleaner such as Wright’s Silver Polish & a soft cloth to buff them further for a beautiful shine. Wash the silverware well with soapy water before using. The silverware should only need a quick additional polish or two with commercial cleaner during the upcoming months. Tuck away the silver when not in use by placing in zip top bags to keep it looking its’ best longer.

No. 2

The Punch Bowl

Create a beverage location away from the main party fare to keep guests flowing seamlessly though the space. Use your lovely glasses received as wedding gifts now & forgo the paper & plastic goods. Assess stock & pick up extras ahead of time or borrow from a dear friend.

The Glassware

Punch Cups

If a punch is to be served, classic glass cups with a handle to one side are certainly appropriate. As they have become increasingly more difficult to locate, I find a modern wine glass with simple, clean lines can step in for a variety of beverages but particularly punch as they are low & wide with approximately an 8-oz capacity.

Water Goblets

Water, sweet tea & lemonade are appropriate drinks to serve in water goblets.


Water, sweet tea, lemonade & soft drinks can be served in this straightforward style. They are appropriate for more casual gatherings.

Champagne Flutes

When formal affairs beckon, look to this classic stemware if a toast is in order.


These low, wide mouth glasses perched on a stem were originally intended for champagne but are certainly appropriate for an array of drinks such as punch, spritzers & champagne cocktails.


Have white or red stemware available depending on the variety that is to be served. Stemless glassware makes a good casual option.

Martini or Cocktail Glass

Although optional, a special cocktail does deserve a chic little jewel. If martini’s or cosmopolitan’s beckon, by all means have a few of these on hand.

The Container

If your great aunt’s crystal punch bowl is unavailable, there are still many fine options for which you can choose to hold the sipper. Simple glass pitchers make ideal vessels. For large quantities, be certain to have several of the same style for a cohesive look. Smaller carafes make a pleasing display when they are iced down in a beverage tub. For more casual gatherings, consider a beverage jar & accompany with an antique silver ladle for serving.

The Garnishes

Lovely drinks deserve a pretty finishing touch that speaks to the occasion for which it is to be served. Spring offers a variety of fresh fruit & herb sprig options when perched on rims or to float about. Fresh citrus rind can be curled & dropped into glasses for a welcome addition to a variety of specialty concoctions as well. Prepare an ice ring to float in large bowls to keep punch cool during the duration of the event.

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The Provisions

Up to a month ahead of time, select recipes based on the type of function you wish to host. Although an assortment of tea sandwiches, canapés, cheese straws, grain & mixed green lettuce salads accompanied with a classic petit fours always make for timeless, delightful offerings for a baby shower in particular, a blend of Mediterranean dips, kabobs & sangria-style punch sets the tone for an evening bridal social. When breakfast socials are in order, consider a lovely assortment of delicate fine pastries & breads ranging from homemade bagels & kolaches to cream cheese Danish, pinwheel pastries, Buttermilk Croissants & Pain au Chocolat. Laminated dough varieties may be cut or layered & filled with classic luncheon fare or in the most traditional ways for offerings that will truly show guests how much you care. Look for those specialties in the weeks ahead. Once the menu has been set, pull plates, platters & bowls for serving. Label the pieces with the foods that will be reserved for them & set them aside.

The Savory

Prepare as much of the food ahead of time as possible. Rolls can be baked & frozen several weeks in advance then placed in the refrigerator to thaw overnight before warming & filling. Sauces can be prepared up to 4 days before gatherings so that transferring them into serving bowls is all that is necessary come party time while kabobs, beef & pork tenderloin should be left for cooking on party day. If it will be used for filling rolls & biscuits, prepare & slice up to an hour before guests are to arrive & keep it warm for safe serving.

The Sweet

Many baked goods can be prepared well in advance. Consider preparing drop cookie dough up to one month in advance. Thaw the dough & bake the cookies the day before the gathering. Cookies can be baked & iced up to two days ahead of time. If you are planning to offer a specialty layer cake, bake the cake layers up to two weeks in advance. Wrap them well in plastic & foil then freeze them. Remove the layers from the freezer 30 minutes before you wish to finish them & reserve time for frosting & garnishing the cakes the day before the gathering.

No. 4

The Event

Social gatherings are carefully orchestrated affairs from warm welcomes to fond farewells. A hostess gently directs guests during the gathering.

The Greetings

Try to be available to welcome guests at the door. If your attention is needed in the kitchen, appoint a friend to greet them when the bell signals. Have a designated area for placing handbags so guests feel more comfortable to socialize. If a signature punch is being served, offer one to guests right away as they are a lovely way to create a festive feel to any party.

The Mingling & The Refreshments

Give guests a moment to chat & mingle for approximately 30 to 45 minutes after the start time of the gathering so that they can get to know one another through light conversation. When you are ready, direct guests to the refreshments. Allow everyone to make a plate & continue conversation over a few nibbles.

The Polite Parting

As the gathering concludes, be available for guests to thank you for the invitation. Position yourself close to the door so they can easily find you. Make parting conversation gracious but quick so as not to have other guests waiting too long to say their goodbyes.

The Tune
“Inspiration” Doris Day 

social butterfly
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About Rebecca Gordon

* Southern Born * Southern Bred * Tailgate Queen * Football Fanatic * Buttermilk Lipstick Culinary & Entertaining Techniques Instructor * Cooking & Baking Tutorials * Media Personality * Baking & Pastry Artist * Gardener * Runner * Retainer of Useless Pop Culture One Liners * Terrible Dancer * Even Worse Singer * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Rebecca Gordon shares over 20 years of cooking knowledge in the instructional filled original editorial content on Buttermilk Lipstick as well as the cooking class format videos that can be found on her YouTube channel through regular collaboration with numerous media outlets. Gordon draws from an extensive background in corporate publishing spanning over 13 years on both the business and editorial side focusing on women’s southern lifestyle. She is a classically trained pastry chef and draws from fine dining restaurant experience from a James Beard award winning chef as well as her southern roots upbringing to share cooking, entertaining & style content relevant to today’s modern woman.

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