How to throw a memorable ladies luncheon


Just like Barbara Walters is the guru of interviewing, I consider myself a guru of entertaining. Having said this, I have been to probably 50+ luncheons and can firmly state the good, the bad and the ugly of a ladies luncheon.

How to throw a memorable ladies luncheon is truly an art (and most people invariably don’t get it right)!

I just attended a rather expensive luncheon just last week. It was a charitable event, and I had to pay $75.00 for the luncheon, and still commit to a whole lot of money towards the charity. My experience last week has prompted today’s blog content:

The Do’s and the Don’ts of throwing a ladies luncheon:

1. Greet the guests with champagne mimosas with floating strawberries.
2. Attempt not to hire clumsy waiters that spill an entire tray of mimosas at the front registration desk as glass and orange juice splatter onto guests.
3. Have knowledgeable staff in crisply ironed white serving attire pass trays of hors d'oeuvres. Staff should be well groomed and should not look as though olive oil were dripping from their hair.
4. The hors d'oeuvres should be decoratively arranged on platters with paper doilies and silver trays.
5. Do not serve “messy” hors d'oeuvre that require dunking, dipping or cutting.
6. Offer an open bar with wine, soft drinks and iced tea.
7. Know your audience and who is attending. If the majority of women are “working woman” who have to scurry back to the office, then forego separate 1st course and main course dishes. Have the main plate and the first course on the table as you enter.
8. If the majority of women are NOT pressed for time, then have the 1st course on the table as you enter the main dining area and allow the waiter staff to serve the main course later.
9. Cold gazpacho served in martini glasses is really getting old and stale. Force your caterer to come up with more original 1st courses.
10. Have interesting breads, lavash and an assortment of specialty rolls and bread (certainly NOT plain white rolls that could crack a window if thrown)
11. Select table linen that is season and time appropriate. For a ladies luncheon, go with something in the pastels, floral patterns, light and tranquil colors. Do not select table linen that looks heavy or better suited for evening functions.
12. Think of centerpieces that directly help the charities, such as baskets of food, diapers, or clothing. No one really cares if the table has gorgeous flower centerpieces … most would prefer to see $$$$ being spent for the charity.
13. Timing is critical … get the speaker up to the podium quickly and don’t loose your audience.
14. Of all things… get the tables cleared quickly and efficiently so that dessert is served PRIOR to people leaving. As soon as the speaker finishes, 75% of your room will vacate even if the dessert has not been served.


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