Plenty of planning is associated with entertaining. I channel my color sense as I layer pattern over pattern to put together a tablescape to greet my guests with a smile. I thumb through recipes to design a creative menu, and I imagine decadent flavors in action with each bite. Before I pull a frock from my closet, I consider its practicality so it doesn’t interfere with my ability to be a gracious hostess. That’s a lot of moving parts when we have guests, and so it’s important to dress somewhat practically.

As much as I covet the entire process of beautiful dinner parties, I am thrilled when less fussy occasions arise.  A gathering where food centers on a meat-and-cheese board offers that ease. Most ingredients can rest in your pantry long-term. Of course, you’ll need to buy meats, cheeses, and fresh bread last-minute. But there are no rules with this style of gathering. Much like when I see an empty room that can be decorated in a variety of ways, I look forward to arranging a board into a piece of food styling sculpture.

That impromptu gene that’s by far the best part of a charcuterie board’s DNA is not to be ignored when it comes to wardrobe. Charcuterie boards may, in fact, be the first course at a benefit or gala where you are expected in formal attire. However, the at-home version calls for casual dressing. It’s summer, so turn to your trendy tiered skirt or comfy summer dresses. Pair either with sandals. By midsummer I am missing my jeans so, I add a feminine blouse and a strappy low-heeled sandal. Even the most informal pieces will make you feel dressed up if detailed with a flirty ruffle.

Technology has managed to sneak its way into almost every part of our lives, and it beats throughout our gatherings, too. I specify songs for my get-togethers much like I pick textiles for upholstery and window treatments: with grand enthusiasm. But remember, this is an impromptu affair. If you don’t have time to schedule the perfect set of songs, not to worry. Spotify or iTunes has your back. Embrace the shuffle setting and have fun with the random picks that these services identify as your jam.

Remember, charcuterie boards are well-suited for two. And they are well-suited for 20. Either way, they are easy to pull together to have fun.