Just like I love event planning, I love entertaining, and when we used to live in the townhouse I would dream about all the parties I wanted to host at our future home. Now that the dream is our reality we have kicked off with several housewarming parties and I’m loving it, so I figured I would share my entertaining tips plus a couple of photos from one of our parties.
1. Make a To Do List.
Include EVERYTHING on this list and add anything else as you think of new things. I like to keep this initially in a Note on my phone, and then I create a full hand written list because I’m old school and I enjoy literally scratching off stuff from the list.
- What you are serving? (Apps, Sides, Cocktails, Dessert, etc.)
- What do you need to buy at the grocery store? (Food, Plates, Silverware, Cups, etc.)
- What do you need to buy at the liquor store? (Beer, Wine, Champagne (duh), Ice, etc.)
- What do you have to clean before guests arrive?
- What do you need to do to get ready? (Shave, nails, iron, etc.)
2. Do as much as you can before the event.
Buy, prep, and clean as much as you can the week of the event or the day before the event. Running errands the day-of will make you loose time and stress you more. To make things easier, you can also delegate some responsibilities to your spouse.
3. Enjoy your breakfast and GO!
Even if it feels like you have plenty of time to do stuff, sometimes unexpected things happen, and you also need to have enough time to get ready and grab a glass of wine before your guests arrive so you look (and feel) calm, cool, and collected.
4. Put some music on!
Make the process more fun by dancing and/or singing meanwhile cooking. It will lower your stress, put you in a good mood, and your Fitbit will thank you.
5. Play it safe.
I really like trying new recipes, but depending on the size of the crowd, trying a new recipe might not be the best option (unless it is a make-ahead recipe). When you try making something new, you will generally take more time so consider a blend of new recipes, old recipes, and some store-bought items.
6. Balance your menu.
To deal with time management I always have a mix of cold and hot menu items. Cold (or not served hot) menu items can be done or prepped ahead of time and you can also do them the day-of meanwhile the hot menu items are cooking/baking.
7. If nothing else is ready, the drinks and apps should!
If guests start arriving and you are not done, shift your focus to ensure your guests have a drink in their hands and bring out whatever appetizers are ready. Worse comes to worst, it will look like you like to cook and entertain at the same time.
Good luck and have fun!