Tips for Excellent Entertaining
Parties are supposed to be fun, right? As hosts we often end up stressing over every detail in the weeks leading up to the party and before we know it the festivities have passed and a messy kitchen is all we have to show for it. The secret to success isn’t five-star catering or live entertainment. The key is thoughtful planning for a shin dig that doesn’t break the bank or sacrifice your sanity. Whether it’s your annual holiday bash or a small dinner party here are six tips for excellent entertaining to consider the next time you don the host hat.
- Start Early:: Procrastination pop-ups are not a thing. Stay organized by creating a plan early. Try using a template like this one from Real Simple to help you stay on top of your party planning game. Or, if you are feeling crafty, customize your own Evernote template.
- Pick (Or Don’t) A Theme:: Themes can be a great way to generate enthusiasm around your event whether it is by cuisine, costume, or otherwise. But keep it simple; a theme that is either too vague or too complicated will lead to disorganization in other areas of the planning process (e.i. decor, entertainment, etc). If you find yourself straddling themes this may be as sign to nix one altogether. Remember, a classic dinner party is tough to beat.
- Invitations:: This is where starting early is necessary. Aim to send invites out around 2 weeks in advance – possibly earlier if it’s the holiday season. There are a number of options here. You can handwrite and mail your own invites or look to online, paperless alternatives such as Evite or by creating an event through social media platforms like Facebook. For a personal touch, create your own graphics easily with free graphic design services such as Canva.
- Food:: Think about the guests – and number of them – when planning the menu. If cooking is not your forte, skip the six course meal. Go for finger foods or, alternatively, consider a pot luck and let your guests’ culinary skills shine. If you plan to serve alcohol providing both wine and beer is smarter than one or the other, or consider mixing up a signature cocktail for the evening.
- Ambiance:: Decorations like streamers and banners should be saved for special occasions. Whether or not you choose to decorate, lighting should always be addressed. Lighting that is either too dim or too bright can kill the mood. If dimmers are not an option, opt for more natural lighting and candles, votives, lanterns, etc… Fresh flowers are also a great way to not only add a bit of color, but also
- Entertainment:: Thanks to streaming music live music is not a necessity. Select a playlist or radio station that will complement the mood. Apps like Spotify and Pandora have number party playlist options. Worries about an extended silence? Check out these tips to keep the conversation flowing!
Most importantly, entertaining should be an opportunity to spend quality time with friends and family. If your guests feel welcome and comfortable the party is sure to be a success. Planning a party this holiday season? Share your tips for excellent entertaining with us!