I love entertaining and would like to think of my hosting style as "inviting" rather than "formal", but really "casual" might be a more appropriate description. I prefer to use our everyday dishes and cutlery and don't much care that, after only five years of marriage, we have broken so many plates and glasses that we don't really have a matching set of anything. The food needs to taste good, but I recognize I am not very skilled at table decor or fashionable place settings.
In our little home we don't have a formal dining area and in fact our dining room table was repurposed into my desk when we moved here. We eat - and do a lot of small group entertaining - in the kitchen at our 12ft island/table. Given these size constraints it is much easier to have guests over during the warmer months when people can more comfortably spill out into either the front or back yard as temperature and space allow.
Tonight we are hosting the fellow's holiday potluck. This will be the largest group we have ever had over and, despite having spent the morning pushing furniture out of the way to make room for extra tables and chairs in the living room, I am still not sure how to construct a comfortable seating arrangement for the number of RSVP'ed guests (who, but the way, include some of my attendings and their spouses....). I have let myself off the hook vis-a-vis cooking by limiting my food preparation to putting out a no-cook platter of heavy h'orderves, desserts, and drinks.
On Friday I went to the heme/onc holiday party at the home of one of our attendings. It wasn't formal, but it was beautiful and make me think that one day I would like to be able to entertain such a big group in great style.
But that day is not here yet and tonight's party will be just as fun. Lincoln was correct to question my calculated guest-to-booze ratio, especially as most of the fellows don't drink alcohol as dictated by religion, pregnancy/breastfeeding, or a certain enzyme deficiency, but I stand by my one-bottle-of-wine per guest as that seems like the right amount for a heme/onc fellow and is certainly accurate for the heme/onc fellow's spouse.