We’ve had some incredible interns pass through the doors of team Camille Styles through the years, and saying goodbye at the end of their school year is always bittersweet. Although we’re sad to see them go, it’s exciting to think about the bright future that lies ahead of these talented ladies. In that spirit, we threw a goodbye and good luck party for our current rockstar intern Suruchi, who heads to Minneapolis next month for an amazing career opportunity. She’s been my righthand woman in the kitchen and on the blog these last few months, and I’ll miss her dearly, though thankfully she’s promised to continue contributing to the blog from afar. For her Bon Voyage-themed fête, we teamed up with Target to design an easy breezy appetizer buffet with a nautical vibe. It’s the perfect look for any springtime get-together, and we’re sharing tons of tips in the following slides for keeping things super easy on the host so you can have fun right alongside your guests. As they say, parting is such sweet sorrow…
*photos: Molly Winters
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Low-Key Entertaining Tip #1: Rather than have guests sit around a table, keep things casual with an appetizer buffet brimming with stylish pieces in shades of blue. Layering fabrics and adding height to serving pieces is a great way to add interest to any buffet area.
We’re a big fan of any kind of toast, and the options are endless when it comes to interesting and seasonal toppings. We served these adorable bite-sized crostini with sautéed kale and cannellini beans on top of a chic wooden serving board. Stay tuned for the recipe this afternoon!
pictured: Acacia Wood Serving Board, Stoneware Blue Dots Appetizer Plate, Engineer Stripe Napkin
Low-Key Entertaining Tip #2: Make a big batch of punch so that guests can serve themselves and the host isn’t worried about topping off everyone’s glasses. Use a bar cart or dedicated drink area with ice and ready made mix-ins that will allow guests to fill their glasses as needed.
Pictured: Stoneware Blue Dots Bowl
When it comes to cocktail parties, I like to keep appetizers super simple so that I’m not rushing around getting things ready when my guests arrive. Skewers of fruit and cheese are perfect because they can be fully prepped in advance and are great for serving a crowd.
Pictured: Stoneware Tray Blue Stripes
Low-Key Entertaining Tip #3: Mix and match patterns on plates and serving pieces for a fun and laid-back party vibe. We let guests serve themselves on these spotted appetizer plates and bowls, then mixed in cute striped napkins as a nod to our party theme.
Pictured: Stoneware Blue Dots Bowl, Stoneware Blue Dots Appetizer Plate, Engineer Stripe Napkin
Another way to keep things low-stress? Create a menu of dishes that you’ve tried before and know are delicious. I brought out one of my favorite dip recipes that is easy to whip up and adds a fun pop of color to the table.
Pictured: Stoneware Blue Dots Bowl
Low-Key Entertaining Tip #4: Appetizers that can be made ahead of time are a surefire way to eliminate last-minute stress. Along with a few delicious recipes, add store-bought items like olives and cheese for variety — without increasing your prep time.
Pictured: Stoneware Tray with Rope Handle, Stoneware Blue Dots Bowl
I set out a show-stopping cheese plate that required little more than pouring snacks into cute bowls. And like most well-appointed cheese plates… it was the hit of the party.
The best part of serving food buffet-style? Everyone can choose their favorite snacks to pile on their plates, adapting the offerings to suit any and all dietary restrictions or preferences.
Pictured: Stoneware Blue Dots Appetizer Plate
And of course, everyone could help themselves to seconds while I was free to lounge with my glass of rosé. The bold patterns on these plates and napkins were such an easy way to spice up the décor.
Pictured: Stoneware Blue Dots Appetizer Plate, Engineer Stripe Napkin
Low-Key Entertaining Tip #5: Let your local bakery take care of dessert! A gorgeous cake or cupcakes can be dressed up for a party with the addition of fresh flowers and a customized message that coordinates with the party theme.
Brilliant idea for any going-away party: ask all the guests to write postcards that will be mailed to the guest-of-honor’s new address. It’s a fun way to pass along words of wisdom and well-wishes!
Low-Key Entertaining Tip #6: In lieu of a perfectly-set table, set up a couple of comfy conversation areas where guests can perch with their plates and drinks. These outdoor pillows and poufs made my back patio both inviting and chic.