Entertaining can seem like an intimidating activity, and unfortunately many people avoid it because they feel they have no idea where to start or how to do it. Fear no more, ladies! Entertaining is a wonderful experience and it should be part of your regular social activities. Here’s why:
- It gives you an excuse to get together with family and friends and celebrate just about anything (or just enjoy each other’s companies)
- It’s an opportunity for you to express your creativity, whether via the theme of the get together, the menu, or type of gathering
- It’s a great way to catch up with family and friends in person, let the kids have a little playdate of their own at the same time, and enjoy some adult conversation
The list goes on, so I hope you feel inspired rather than intimidated about hosting. It really is fun for you too, not just your guests, as long as you prepare ahead.
So if you ever wanted to host an event in your home, something casual just with your girlfriends while the kids play, or something more formal like a holiday dinner, you can use these easy steps to help you feel prepared and ready to host at any time!
- Choose the theme and menu of the gathering
When choosing a menu and theme, you will want to consider the time of year, any traditions that go along with the particular time (specific holidays), and how many people you plan to host.
For example, in the summertime, your menu will be a variety of light dishes, some of them might be cooked outdoors on the grill (since the get-together might take place indoors and outdoors). In the winter, you will probably choose hearty and warm dishes, such as stews and soups.
If there is a traditional meal that is traditional for that type of gathering, you will definitely want to include it (and no, I don’t mean turkey at Thanksgiving; Tofurky will be just fine J).
Have fun with your menu! Take into consideration the colors that accompany the holiday you are hosting and come up with creative ways to use them. For example, when hosting a Fourth of July party, find ways to incorporate the red, white and blue theme in your desserts (blueberries and strawberries come to mind). It’s all about your expressing and vision for your gathering.
- Do as much as you can ahead of time
Getting food prep done ahead of time is a great way to be able to enjoy your day of entertaining rather than feeling tired before your first guest has even arrived.
See if you can break down recipes and get parts of them done the day before (or sooner), make desserts the day before. Just don’t do what I did on my first time hosting Thanksgiving, where I thought I would save myself sometime and prep the salad the night before. Yes, we had to eat soggy salad that year! Eww
Also, be sure the house is clean ahead of time too. Even a few days before the party is good enough, so on the day of the get-together check for clean towels and supplies in the bathroom, and if you have pets like we do, you might need to do a quick vacuum or sweep, but nothing too intense.
- Set the table early
Depending on the kind of event you are hosting, set up the table the night before, or at a minimum, gather all the supplies the night before. For example, if you are hosting a barbecue and will be using disposable cutlery, get them all together and ready to go so you can easily display them outside or wherever they are going to be the next day. And if you are using disposable cutlery, be sure to check out these adorable sustainable cutlery sets, cups, plates, napkins, and straws. (these are affiliate links).
- Make it easy on yourself
There are many ways to host a gathering stress free, and I suggest you adopt all of these or any of these to make sure you don’t find yourself tired before the party even started!
First of all, you don’t have to make all the food. It’s perfectly acceptable to each guest bring a dish, of if you prefer to make all the food (I’m so guilty of this!), then let the guests help by bringing the beverages, appetizers, or something fun like a game to play later.
DO NOT, I repeat, do not attempt a new recipe on the day you are hosting. I don’t know about you, but when I’m making a new recipe, I have to follow the instructions precisely, I don’t know what to expect, so I’m on this expectation of is this how it’s supposed to be done, etc. Don’t stress yourself by trying to make something new. If you do want a specific dish that is new for this gathering, then make it ahead of time for practice, so on the big day you will know what to expect and how to make it.
- Have fun!
Remember to be flexible and keep it simple. If something doesn’t work how you expected, it’s ok! No need to stress. Your guests will take a clue on how they feel at your gathering based on how you feel. So if you are walking around stressed, worried about burning something, etc, your guests will pick up your energy and feel the same way! Not a very relaxing way to enjoy the day.
If you forgot something, so be it. Years ago, this would have bothered me to no end, but after having my son, I’ve become a lot more laid back when it comes to expectations of how “things should be”. It’s a wonderful thing!
And don’t forget to get dressed for the occasion too! Put on something that makes you feel confident and beautiful.
So remember to prepare ahead, keep it simple, and as soon as your guests arrive start focusing on them and on having a great time!