How to host an authentic Edwardian-style summer party

The summer party hostess

Note: This article may feature affiliate links, and purchases made may earn us a commission at no extra cost to you. Find out more here.


The summer party hostess (1906)

The summer hostess domiciled by the sea or in the country finds that even more people partake of her hospitality in summer than in winter.

Her entertaining never ceases, formally or informally. At least a couple of guests are ever enjoying generosity during the season, who come and go at stated intervals. Then, too, there are garden fetes, weekends, luncheons and bridge suppers to be planned and executed, all adding to her fame as hostess.

Besides the fashionable hostess, there is even a greater army of women who love to entertain their friends, and who are quite as anxious to create a desirable impression, though, to be sure, they make no pretense to elaborate forms of entertainment. There is a great deal in simplicity when intelligence and tact are behind it.

Ladies at a luncheon - 1900s

In the up-to-date table service, artistic and dainty appointments are necessities, not luxuries. The time has gone when spotless linen and a table groaning with good things will satisfy the twentieth century aesthetic and gastronomic taste.

Linen of the whitest and handsomest quality procurable is still a sine qua non, but on the damask must be daintily arranged attractive appointments to lend aid in the serving of well-composed menus.

Someone has said: “To Adam, paradise was a home. To the good among his descendants, home is a paradise.” The woman who would make her home a paradise for some modern Adam will accomplish this end by no surer means than by taking thought that her table, its appointments and menu be like Caesar’s wife — above suspicion.

Vigilance must assert itself to this end at all times, not only when the smart dinner is on, but when the everyday dinner is served en famille.

Summer party table spreads

A very practical new feature in table appointments is the asbestos spreads to be found in all the shops. These covers take the place of the old-fashioned silence cloths of canton flannel, but are far and away more sensible. They may be bought in various sizes and in sections folding up conveniently for stowing away when not in use.

Another fad of today’s table service is the passing of bonbons, olives and hors-d’oeuvres by the servants instead of placing them on the table. The pretty dishes in which they were served, however, have not disappeared, but come in even quainter and more attractive patterns.

MORE: How to have a proper Victorian garden party (1899)

Paper novelties for luncheons and dinner are considered very smart, as they lend themselves more readily to decorative schemes than cut glass or silver, and at the same time give the table a novel and artistic touch. These paper cases for holding bonbons and ices are works of art, and the dainty doilies that accompany them rival Teneriffe lace and drawn work in handsome designs and general effect.

Round paper lace napkins with lace edges are used on serving plates. A new and attractive paper case in which to serve bonbons or ices is of crepe paper in a swan shape. These swan cases are daintier when carried out in white and gold. The paper is white and the swan’s bill gold.

Especially stunning for wedding receptions and engagement luncheons are the pink paper slippers with high gold heels which boast a small bow at the toe.

A summer party - 1905

PS: If you liked this article, please share it! You can also get our free newsletter, follow us on Facebook & Pinterest. Thanks for visiting and for supporting a small business! 🤩 


You might also like...

The fun never ends:

Comments on this story

Leave a comment here!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.