‘Tis the most wonderful time of the year...for everything including entertaining! We know hosting friends over for a dinner party can be hectic, exhausting, stressful, the list goes on…but we’re here to help you simplify and still have an elegant and fun affair with your friends and family. Read on for our take on A+ hosting without breaking a sweat.
Plan Ahead of Time
Make a menu, buy your groceries and ingredients at least a few days in advance, decorate the weekend before…just do whatever you have to do to get all the planning out of the way. The day of your party should be reserved for cooking and last-minute emergency trips (and believe us, there will be a few). Start preparing early in the morning on the day of so that you aren’t still scrambling or cooking when your guests begin to arrive.
Stick to Impressive but Tried-and-True Dishes
Maybe you’re tempted to try that latest Barefoot Contessa recipe, but now is not the time to be experimenting with new flavours or recipes. Make dishes that you know are guaranteed to please. If there is a recipe you’ve been trying to try out, give it a test run before your gathering so that you don’t have any surprises on the day of.
Decorate and Party Proof Your Home
Put your expensive, breakable items away for the evening and instead, opt for some classy holiday-themed decorations that your guests will appreciate. Skip the party store and instead, head to your favourite craft shop for tasteful holiday inspiration. If you have a tighter budget, try some more affordable DIY ideas, like these beautiful mason jar candles.
Mood is Everything
Don’t forget about having comfortable ambience at your party. Throw on a record or playlist that is easy to listen to - think timeless holiday favourites from Bing Crosby, Michael Buble etc. Keep the volume at a medium level, so that nobody has to yell over the music to speak to each other. As for lighting, warm yellows lights accompanied with candles work best to set the mood. Nobody wants to have fluorescent white light glaring down at them while they’re trying to relax.
Hire Help or Set Up a Self-Serve Cocktail Bar
If you can afford to, hire someone to serve drinks so that you aren’t running around trying to play bartender for the night. It doesn’t have to be a mixologist crafting fancy cocktails, but perhaps a friend’s child (over the age of 18, of course) who can use some extra cash and leaves you with one less thing to stress about. Another option is to simply set up a self-serve cocktail bar in a corner with everything guests need to help themselves to refreshments all night.
Remember to Breathe
Finally, have fun! Don’t worry about being a perfect host or hostess. At the end of the day, you’re hosting an event to reconnect with friends and family, so take it all in, socialize and have a great time.