While I love a dinner party as much as the next person I find I prefer smaller, more intimate gatherings over having 12, or more, guests; especially when I’m hosting the event.  I realize some of this is due to the fact that we (hubby and I) don’t have a cook to prepare, let alone a butler to serve, the meal (as in Downtown Abbey).

Downtown Abbey – Highclere Castle we’re not.

My favorite dinner party is hosting 2 other couples.  There is something about a total of 6 that seems to work very well where conversation is concerned.  I think it allows for a single conversation at the table since it is a smaller venue.

We entertain pretty informally; it’s all about the table settings and flowers for me.  I still love a couple of our groups of friends that bring the number up to 8 and 10 respectively but somehow when we host 12 it becomes less satisfying for me.  I think it’s because while cooking and serving I have less time to get around to visiting with everyone…sometimes that’s okay and sometimes I feel cheated out of a good visit with a friend.

That said here are some dining rooms I’d like to entertain in.

Ina Garten’s barn offers such warmth and style, while being so inviting.  I’d love to have this kitchen/dining area in my house.

We have chairs on the ends of our dining room table, but I do love the way this looks with chairs on each side.

Isn’t this the most cheery room.  Love the exposed beams and the lighting.


Any room with a lantern light wins my vote.

I think these wicker chairs are great.

I wonder if a round table would require a larger number of guests so that you didn’t feel like you were talking across a great expanse of table?

I like the idea of having a table for 2 in the library.

Who wouldn’t enjoy entertaining with a fireplace in the dining room?

This is pretty, not sure about the color of blue, but I like the essence of the room.

Another great dining space in a library.

What is your preference when you invite friends over for a meal, formal or informal?