With the holidays fast approaching, there’s a high probability that you’re contemplating hosting a special dinner or even a holiday celebration. Nervous? Don’t be! Just think: lots of people manage to do it every single year, and somehow they survive. So, if they can do it, YOU can do it!! And with our five easy (time saving) entertaining tips, there’s no reason why your next soiree shouldn’t be your BEST… holiday or any day!
There is nothing that can dress up your party more than some bubbly, the ultimate sign of a celebration! Having glasses of champagne waiting for your guests, whether at the front door or at an area reserved for cocktails, immediately adds a festive element to your home. You can still serve beer, wine, or mixed drinks, but champagne adds an immediate “welcome to the party” vibe. It’s kind of like confetti going off every time a guest walks in your door, but much cleaner! Best of all, you don’t have to stop what you are doing to offer or make your guests a drink as soon as they walk in. To really impress, add a strawberry and a sugar cube to each glass to create a champagne cocktail…BOOM!… you’ve just created your signature drink for the night. Yes, it’s that easy!
INCORPORATE AS MANY “MAKE AHEAD” DISHES AS POSSIBLE!!
Give yourself a break and try to prepare as much the day or night before as possible. Make-ahead recipes are perfectly acceptable for entertaining, and a little secret, sometimes taste better than “day of” dishes because you let the flavors marinate and blend over a period of time. There are several salads, like potato and pasta, that taste much better prepared ahead and chilled than if you were to make them an hour before the party. Cheese balls, dips, and pestos can all be prepared ahead of time, ready to be quickly incorporated into your appetizer tray a few minutes before the guests arrive. So, save yourself time and energy on the day of your party, instead spend that time enjoying a glass of bubbly before the guests arrive… see, you GOT THIS!
DON’T BE SHY TO ASK YOUR GUESTS TO BRING SOMETHING.
It’s pretty much a given… you invite someone to a party or dinner, their first question is “what can I bring?” It’s perfectly acceptable (even encouraged) to let your friends know what to bring to your party… as long as they ask first. Guests don’t like to come empty handed and chances are, they’ll probably bring something anyway… most likely wine! If they ask, tell them EXACTLY what to bring, as long as your requests are simple… HUGE time saver!
Also, if you are having many guests over, don’t feel obligated to cater to every dietary restriction. If a guest has specific food allergies, you can ask them to bring something for themselves. For example, if they have gluten allergies, have them bring their own crackers or a side dish which you can incorporate onto your table and share with others. Chances are, your guest will be excited to share their item or prepared dish with other people at your party.
SET THE TABLE AND DO ALL THE DECORATING, THE NIGHT BEFORE!
This little entertaining tip is known by all the experienced hostesses. Setting your table, the night (or even a few days) before your party, not only saves you time on the “day of”, but also gives you a chance to really play with your table design. If you realize you are missing something or want to add a little something extra, you have plenty of time to find something vs. running frantically to the store. The same goes for cleaning and organizing the house before the party.
OUTSOURCE, OUTSOURCE, OUTSOURCE!
There is no better way to save time, while planning your next party, than to realize YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO EVERYTHING!! Outsourcing certain things, especially the tasks you may not necessarily enjoy, is perfectly acceptable and even encouraged!! Some hostesses have a simple system, preparing the dinner and delegating the dessert and appetizers to a caterer or grocery store, or vice versa. We know some hostesses that don’t prepare ANY food and outsource everything to a caterer. As a rule of thumb, if you have six or less guests, you can handle most things on your own and may want to purchase appetizers and/or desserts at the store. But if you have more guests, consider outsourcing certain tasks to a professional caterer… Beauty of the Bistro, for example (yep, we just recommended ourselves!!). Delegating certain things to professionals allows you, as a hostess, to focus on what you enjoy most about entertaining, spending more time WITH your guests than AWAY from them!