You don't need an enormous table to entertain big. Set up mini-buffets throughout your house, and serve everything from appetizers to desserts.

Beautiful Buffets (Redesign Image)

Think location, location, location when you set up your next party. Find three fabulous places in your home to serve each course. A perky salsa bar sits on a kitchen island; the main course is spread on a table near the fireplace; desserts stand on a sideboard in the dining room. The idea is to keep guests moving from one place to the next and re-energizing the conversation with each new destination.

Featured Buffet Recipes:

Setting Up

  • Create a cascade of heights with the serving dishes and decorations. We layered two platters, with a napkin in between, to elevate the potatoes.
  • Scatter tiny bouquets of ribbon-tied flowers and clear iridescent flower-arranging pebbles on the table.
  • Identify recipes with place cards. These ceramic ones come with an erasable marker. Log on to a search engine, and enter "erasable ceramic place cards" to locate a style that suits you. Or buy inexpensive tiles at a home-improvement store, and use a dry-erase marker to add the recipe title.
  • Check the position of votive candles by pretending to serve yourself--you don't want to chance a guest getting burned.

"Beautiful Buffets" is from the December 2005 issue of Southern Living.