Event planners Emily Read Bentley and Megan Douglas Shuler lend easy entertaining tricks.

By Real Simple
Updated May 29, 2013
David Meredith

Emily Read Bentley and Megan Douglas Shuler, who run Events Enjoy Co. and Shotgun Floral Studio, share their no-fuss party-planning tips:

  • Make room on the table. “Everything but the place settings should fit on the runner,” says Shuler. “Otherwise the table gets crowded and uncomfortable.”
  • Break out the good stuff. This fish-taco dinner sparkles, thanks to gold-plated flatware. And it functions smoothly with heavyweight cloth napkins (tacos are messy); small, easy-to-pass condiment bowls; and unbreakable dishes (melamine that looks like ceramic).
  • Add charming details. Place cards with names and your salsa recipe on the back add personality without taking up table space. A pot of succulents festooned with roses from the garden (or the supermarket) makes a stunning, effortless centerpiece.