A friend of mine recently asked me for some of my best hosting advice since last year I hosted a good amount of parties, dinners, crafting days, etc. It made me realize that I should probably do the same on my blog since some of you might be faced with a last minute event and these tips have saved my ass time and time again.
I like to refer to myself as Paul’s “butler” because he is often not even home from work by the time our guests arrive and I’m forced to entertain them on my own, much like I would imagine a butler would do. Or maybe they don’t do that? Whatever. The point is, I have perfected that easy-breezy-hostess routine down to a science that I now want to share with all of you.
Around the holidays I found myself on repeat with this routine, so I promise these little tips will make the whole process a whole lot smoother. Hopefully your significant other won’t strand you with the guests alone for a minimum of 20 minutes so it’ll be even easier!
MORNING OF EVENT:
-Refrigerate champagne: Or wine. Just make sure you always have something chilled. This tip is super helpful for any unannounced drop-ins, too.
-Buy fresh flowers. Keep a fresh floral arrangement on your dining table and in the kitchen since those are typically the places guests flock to. If you have any leftover flowers, throw them in a mason jar and place in the powder room.
-Map out serve-ware. Whether it’s just appetizers or a full-blown dinner, figure out which platters you’re using, if you need additional utensils, and make sure there’s enough plates, cups, napkins, etc.
30 MINUTES BEFORE GUESTS ARRIVE:
-Light candles. I always burn a woodsy candle in my home before anyone comes over. I want my guests to be greeted with amazing smells, so make sure your place is aired-out if you were frying anything before lighting the candle. Usually opening windows and doors for a cross-breeze helps. I also light a candle in the guest bathroom to make sure that space is equally as inviting.
-Turn music on. There is nothing more uncomfortable to me than utter silence while hosting. The right playlist will set the tone for your guests–ambiance is everything. It’s almost like you can trick them into thinking you’re fun just by playing good music. Kidding, kind of. But it does really add a lot. I have some fab dinner playlists, and you can follow them all on my Spotify.
-Put out the appetizers. I’m talking about a cheese platter, fruit, nuts, olives, etc. If it’s something more serious or plated (aka something hot, or a “first course”) then disregard. However, I find that putting out small bites leading up to the meal allows your guests to get comfortable before the meal begins.
-Freshen up. My mom was always that host that didn’t have time to get dressed and do her makeup because she was too immersed in making the dinner amazing. I can easily fall into that trap, too, but always map out 15 minutes to freshen up my make-up, hair, change, etc. In general I’ll get myself ready 2 hours prior to an event to ensure I have plenty of time to get ready, and later just allocate time for a quick touch up.
ONCE GUESTS ARRIVE:
-Pour them a drink. First and foremost. LOL. After saying hello, taking off coats, setting down handbags, etc., I head to the kitchen to pour drinks. This takes the edge off for me (most importantly, obviously), but also eases your guests into free-flowing conversation. Especially when people are meeting for the first time.
-Serve dinner between 30-45 minutes later. If it’s a dinner party, that is. Otherwise, if you have some sort of activity planned, now would be the time to begin.
-Don’t forget dessert. I’m not a big dessert person. I definitely LOVE my sweets, but I don’t necessarily like eating them during “dessert time.” I prefer to indulge in donuts throughout my day, actually. But after dinner it’s nice to bring out some nice dessert to not only satisfy a sweet tooth, but to prolong the entertaining.
-Have some backup ready. If things turn weird / awkward / stale, bust out a fun game and pop some more champagne!