We caught up with her to score a few pointers about entertaining at home, in true Arya style. — Whether it’s summer, winter, or the monsoon, I like to bring the outdoors in with seasonal palms, flowers, or leaves. And always keep citronella-anything handy to keep the mosquitoes at bay.
— When it comes to the food, I plan a brunch that’s a good mix of comfort food and more experimental stuff that may be an acquired taste. That said, it always has to be wholesome and hearty; I cannot entertain when the food is too precious or presented in a precious manner. A side note, this is how I build my friendships too!
— For drinks we always (always!) have a stocked bar and one cocktail that we prepare beforehand. I personally don’t care for champagne but I do love my prosecco so you’ll always find a bottle or two at hand. During the winter, consider a winter warmer like mulled wine, which appeals to even the most advanced palate.
— We (my husband Arjun and I) entertain casually more than we do formally. It’s often the same set of friends (or surrogate family as I call them) that we have over. I believe Arjun has excellent taste but when it comes to the decor he defers to me. He’s fantastic when it comes to setting up the bar or creating a playlist that sets the mood for the afternoon.
— I prefer it when I don’t need to fawn over my guests. Everything is laid out before hand and nothing pleases me more than folks who’re quite at home in my home. When it comes to the table settings, I’m more fluid. I try and reinvent my table setting to make sure it doesn’t look the same as it did last time; whether it’s new table linen or a new bowl to sit on a plate. Change things up, it does wonders.
— We tend to start gatherings early, so by noon everyone comes in. We linger over dessert and that morphs into another party in itself. For the latter part of the afternoon, there’s always tea or coffee, liqueur, and desserts for guests to choose from. Variety ensures everyone leaves satisfied. — There are parts of the home where guests will spill into so make sure those rooms are immaculate (like the guest bathroom or the den). The fragrance is paramount as well; my personal pick is lemongrass because it’s a great mood uplifter. If you’re struggling with winter fragrances, try warming ones like clove, cinnamon, or vanilla.
— The mood banks on the lighting for me. Even in the day, the light mustn’t be harsh but more tempered and cosy. It’s the attention to these little details that really set entertaining at home apart.
— Plan, plan, plan and do all this way in advance so you’re not stressed on the day. And then let everything unfold as it’s meant to without it all being orchestrated. Never forget about yourself either; whether you want to spend ample time deciding what to wear or if you want to settle down with one drink before your guests arrive.