My Entertaining Tips
I love entertaining! I miss it…a lot. I’ve been hosting dinner parties, showers, birthdays and holiday gatherings for years and have picked up lots of tips and tricks along the way. Here are my entertaining tips.
A successful party starts with an organized to-do list. I use a legal pad to organize my guest list, menu, shopping list, timeline and to-dos.
Start with a guest list. Decide the number of people you want to invite then send out invitations by mail or online. For smaller gatherings, a phone call or text to check schedules works just fine.
Pick a theme: An evening in Paris, an Italian feast, Summer BBQ or pizza and ice cream sundaes are just a few of my favorites.
Once you nail down a theme, you can plan your menu and make your playlist.
Start from the beginning with cocktails and appetizers and finish with dessert and favors.
Pick one cocktail and make a big pitcher so you can pour drinks upon arrival. I also like to start the evening with bubbles! Provide non-alcoholic options as well such as flavored club sodas. With dinner, offer wine and always water.
Water, water, water! You never want your guests to have to ask you for a glass of water. Place a pitcher of still and a big bottle of sparkling water on both ends of the table and on the bar. I also like to have an extra pitcher and extra bottles of sparkling ready to grab during dinner if needed.
For Appetizers, a cheese platter is always a crowd pleaser. Try to keep it simple and don’t be afraid to let the store help you. Store bought dips, spreads, mixed nuts and olives are readily available and make for an easy start to any party.
Keep the evening moving along by sitting down to dinner an hour after cocktails and appetizers.
Pick a menu filled with things you’ve made before. This is not the time to test out a new recipe. Anything that can be made in advance and reheated is a must.
If conversations seem to dwindle, try these table topics.
Enjoy your dinner and conversations, keep glasses full and always offer seconds to your guests.
Clear the table while coffee is brewing.
Let your guests gather in the family room and get comfortable. Serve dessert and coffee.
If you want to send guests home with a little favor, keep them by the door so they can grab one on the way out.
Run and empty your dishwasher before guests arrive so it’s ready to load at the end of the night.
Check out this post on how to stock your guest bathroom so your guests have everything they need including a nice scented candle.
Be sure your playlist is long enough to last the entire night so you don’t run out of background music.
Put a fun movie (muted) on in the background. I like old black and whites or anything classic. It just sets a nice tone and makes everyone feel comfortable and relaxed.
20 minutes before guests arrive, pop some bubbly or pour yourself a cocktail, sit down and just breathe, relax and stretch a bit. That way when your guests arrive, you’re calm and ready to greet everyone. Nothing makes people more uncomfortable than arriving to a dinner or party and seeing the host running around, stressed out and unorganized. It creates a hectic vibe that can ruin the evening.
Flowers make the perfect centerpiece just be sure they aren’t fragrant, the smell competes with the food. Same goes for candles. The only scented one should be in the powder room. Unscented tapers and votives are perfect for the table.