There’s an art to entertaining, and it starts with the planning. It doesn’t have to be elaborate decorating, or the food made from scratch, it just needs a little bit of planning and organization to make the event feel and seem effortless for you, and your guests!
I’ve had parties when I cleaned for a week beforehand, and ones when I merely fluffed the sofa cushions; when I stayed up all night cooking, and when I ordered the food out; when I hired a decorator, and when I didn’t! The success in entertaining started with the planning.
Here are a few helpful reminders to make your holidays AMAZING!
Take time to pre-plan every detail, writing down notes to yourself to remember. I’ve had such detailed notes that I kept them because they became a part of my fond memory to remember the time together
If you’re making a new recipe, try it in advance to make any adjustments needed (Once I had the idea to make homemade bread in star shapes for sandwiches on the 4th of July. I started the morning of, had company coming, and my dough didn’t rise … need I say more?!) Make notes on your recipes, my books are a mess with my added scribbles! Ina Garten (barefootcontessa.com) says if it can’t be made in advance, don’t make it!
Think of the time of year you’re planning for when creating your menu. I won a bake-off contest in the fall because my cake was an apple cake with caramel topping. I didn’t win because the cake was better than the others; I won because it was festive and fun!
Don’t be afraid to call your favorite restaurant for that one tried and true item you love that would make your menu go from good to great!
Clean your house, days in advance. No one will notice that the bathrooms weren’t cleaned right before they arrived! I’ve had my house smell like Pine Sol instead of the meal I prepared ... the one time I didn’t want a clean smelling house!
Decorating (including setting your table!) can be done in advance and will be perfect for the day of! I set my table the day before, which gives me time to add details that I wouldn’t have added last minute
A centerpiece doesn’t have to be big or elaborate. By setting your table in advance, you’ll know the space you have left for table decorations, after the serving pieces are added. Sometimes I’ve added a few candles, or sprig of flowers from my yard, and it was perfect!
Think of your guest list, and plan your seating accordingly. I like to add a children’s table to make it fun for everyone. Make the kid’s table, ‘kid friendly’, and even let yourself use paper plates. The kid’s table possibilities are endless, from the table setting, to the food served, making a dinner party even more enjoyable for the parent’s!
Don’t talk politics :) A little added tip since it’s a hot topic right now!
Don’t forget to have fun! A relaxed host makes your guests feel comfortable, allowing time to enjoy one another and make beautiful memories along the way!
Cheers to Easy Entertaining!
Hazrat Inavat Khan, Sufi Teacher