THE BLOG
05/23/2012 09:22 am ET Updated Oct 11, 2012

Memorial Day Celebrations: 4 Tips for the Perfect Soirée

Want to throw the party of the season, but feel fresh out of ideas? With Memorial Day this weekend and many more reasons to celebrate this summer, try my "perfectly imperfect" approach to entertaining and your guests will remember your celebration for years to come.

Here are my 4 tips for a unique Memorial Day Celebration:

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1) Pick a star. Sprinkling your party table with equal parts red, white and blue is a safe way to create a traditional Memorial Day look, but it can also feel a bit predictable. Instead, make one color the star of the show (in this case red), and use the other two (blue and white) as accent colors. The difference is subtle, but very chic. Then, to give the all-American palate an extra jolt of sophistication, add a pop of green, by placing a pretty plant on the serving table. Bonus: a greens-only arrangement is an uber-affordable centerpiece option that can be picked up last minute at your local florist. Make sure it's a vibrant green to add the right pop!

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2) Go natural. Rather than relying on the old standbys (think: paper stars and striped napkins) why not make party foods pull double duty? Cover the bottom of a white serving tray with blueberries, then place a second clear serving tray on top. The result: a super cool look that's still useful for corralling silverware, glasses and other party supplies. You can recycle this idea indefinitely, with any color scheme. Imagine it with lemon slices, or even herbs.

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3) Mix high and low. As with fashion or décor, don't be afraid to blend the fancy with the not so fancy. On Memorial Day (or any other day), mix silverware, glassware, you name it. Everything comes out when it's time to party. My mother always said, 'Why have things if you aren't going to use them?' So bring out your nice red plates. But partner them with the cheap red plates you snagged on eBay or at a flea market. Keep your eyes peeled for certain colored pieces all year long -- you're building your entertaining arsenal. Tip: Red plates, glasses and candlesticks will work for at least three other major holidays; Independence Day, Christmas and Valentine's Day.

4) Your mood matters. Don't slave over a stove all Memorial Day, or fuss over every last detail, to the point where you're crabby and tired by the time guests arrive. Make a few things and buy a few things. Ideally, you'll be finished, and ready to spend time enjoying guests by the time they start trickling in. After all, isn't that sort of the whole point?