Setting the stage for a party? Maxine Turner's advice will serve you and your guests well. A few of our favorite tips:

1. It’s not just about the food, and it’s not just about the décor. It’s about enticing all the senses. Consider lighting, temperature, colors, aromas and music, and make sure each element is fine-tuned and complementary tothe others. Think super ice-cold beer on a hot day or flattering light for a daytime party.

2. Don’t buy cheap ingredients. You won’t end up with quality if you don’t start with quality.

3. Take vegetables off the platter and salads out of bowls. Instead, present them in small vases or interesting cups. Turner serves a Greek salad on a stick: feta, cucumber slices, grape tomatoes and kalamata olives lightly drizzled with vinaigrette.

4. Scour hardware stores for fun props. A shower curtain for a backdrop or to cover a table for a beach buffet. Dryer vents, metal caps and paint buckets can all be repurposed.

Back>>>Cuisine Unlimited's Big Night

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