For The love of entertaining?
Do you love entertaining? I know I love entertaining. But do you wish you could entertain with less stress?
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Do you ever get to the point in your preparations where you become so stressed out from planning that you wish your guests would call to cancel? LOL!! Do you plan ahead? Do you picture in your head how your evening will progress? The evening will flow nicely right?
How Does Your dream Party Go?
You have the hors d’oeuvres (I never know how to spell this 😊) planned out and the exact time you will serve them. You have the first course planned out perhaps earlier on in the day and the exact time you will serve that.
The main course is complete and goes out to the table. Then the side dishes are presented to the dinner table. Then finally the final dish – dessert.
All the while, you get to sit with your guests for dinner. Enjoy their company. Have a sip of your favorite Chardonnay.
It’s nice to think and dream your evening will go this smoothly . . . but does it really? Heck nah!!
Change Your Ways (Get Organized)
You can do this. With just a little more organizational tricks, tips and a whole lot of breathing in and out, you will entertain once again stress-free.
I love to have things organized. In the past, I tried to do it all and by myself to boot. I don’t get a chance to do it often. So, when I do see my friends and family, I want to splurge on them because I love them so much.
I used to want to create several different kinds of hor d’oeuvres, several different kinds of side dishes and a three-layer cake. And have the kitchen and house clean before the guests arrive. When was I supposed to do all of this in one day?
How in deed? You couldn’t do all this unless you had a team of people helping you. Well first thing is to lessen the load. Your friends and family don’t expect you to create multiple dishes of hors d’oeurves and side dishes and main courses and multiple desserts.
Keeping it Simple
You need to keep it simple. You invited your guests to get together over dinner and drinks. Keep it comfortable and cozy. Organize your evening so that you, as a hostess, can enjoy the evening with your guests as well.
You don’t need to go beyond what you can handle. It’s not expected of you. I created a few tips you can follow to help you through your day preparing for your dinner party. And I have also created a worksheet to help you along.
To have less stress at entertaining dinner guests starts before the party begins. You just need a good plan.
Tips For A Great Dinner Party
1. Make a Plan – as I said earlier, making a plan a few days before will help you stay sane and stress-free. Plan the day ahead. Who are you going to invite? Will it be a big gathering? Will there be children as well? In that case, you need to possibly prepare food and drink separately for the children.
You should make a schedule/worksheet as to when you will best be able to accomplish these tasks. As you accomplish these tasks mark them off your schedule. Then you will be that much closer to having your dream party.
2. House Cleaning -if at all possible, you should clean, dust, vacuum your home the day before. If not possible try and make a plan for the days before the dinner party. Perhaps do a quick touch up the morning of the party.
3. Plan Recipes – go through your recipe books or go online to find the perfect recipes for your special night. You have to know what you are going to cook right? Make sure you put into place what you are going to have for appetizers (see I didn’t use the other work – lol), salad (try a different kind of salad – add berries-yum!).
What will your main course be like? From there you can choose what sides you will add. Then a dessert. You can either buy something or make simple cupcakes if there will be children there. I did that once and made cake pops also. The kids (and adults) loved them. They are easy and a nice small addition to the big meal you just had.
You also need to plan what drinks you will serve. There are plenty of cool recipes to look for cocktails. Don’t forget the children. Plan some cool mocktails (non-alcoholic) for the kids. They will love it.
4. Seating Arrangement – I always plan out where everyone will sit. If you are planning to have a lot of guests, you have to probably prepare for another table to add. Perhaps set up a table just for the kids. When I had my daughter’s confirmation celebration, I had it in our home.
We didn’t have too many people but it was enough to have to divide between three tables. So I had to be strategic as to where I will place everyone. I had one table just for the kids. I made name tags just to make it that much fancier since I was having the celebration in my home. Overall the day went off without a hitch.
You don’t have to go that fancy. I use charger plates for my dinner parties. They are not expensive and it adds a splash of colour to your table. I have silver, gold, and red. They are not only for Christmas. My daughter loves the colour red. So at our recent dinner party, I incorporated that into how I wanted to decorate my table.
5. Shopping List – when you have decided on a menu for your evening event, it’s time to create a shopping list. Write down all the items you will need. Don’t forget the drinks as well. Don’t forget the kiddos and their beverages . . . pop, juice, bottled water.
Will you be using any kind of decorations? Will there be balloons if you are celebrating an event. Will you need a different a different colour of napkins? I love changing up the colour scheme.
6. Enlist Help – don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you’re kids are older, ask them for help. My son has done the appetizers for me, my daughter has helped me cut vegetables, stir stove top things.
I also gave them chores to do around the house. I had my husband take care of the beverages for the most part and the go-for (go get last minutes things-dessert, liquor, bread).
Everyone in my household helps out when we have guests. Whether it’s family or a close friend, I’m sure they will not mind helping out. You can reciprocate the favour.
Here are other ways you can entertain with less stress:
* Pool Party – this is super casual and perfect for kids and the kids-at-heart
– put some hotdogs and hamburgers on the grill
– beverages for the kids
– beverages for the adults – some alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails
– dessert can be as simple as a tray of fruit
– even some frozen yogurt keeping it light and healthy
* Backyard BBQ – same idea as the pool party but if you don’t have a pool . . .
– start with simple apps – spaducci
– instead of hotdogs and hamburgers, put some chicken or steak on the grill
– drinks – have a mini fridge or huge cooler filled with ice
– have different kinds of beverages – alcoholic or non-alcoholic
– dessert – keeping it simple again with fruit with whipped cream or ice cream
* Picnic – who says it must be in your home
– go to a picnic ground or park that allows for bbq
– host friends and family celebration/reunion
– you can make it potluck
– everyone brings a dish
– plan out who brings what
– bring a cooler filled with beverages on ice
– bring games and balls – football, soccer ball, baseball
There are so many conservation parks around your city to choose from that are used for such events
* Potluck Dinner – super simple and everyone brings a favourite dish of their own
– plan out who will bring what
– the evening is very informal
* Coffee Bar – this is my favourite. So simple but you can dress it up
– you could set up a small area either in the kitchen at the extended peninsula or the dining-room hutch/sideboard
– display your coffee maker (set it up close to your dining / kitchen table
– display different kinds of coffee – flavoured, regular, dark roast, etc.
– have enough coffee mugs and saucers displayed
– milk/creamer and sugar containers on a decorative small tray
– dessert plates, spoons, forks, serving set
– napkins in a certain colour theme
– simple treats: cookies, coffee cake, cake pops, muffins, cupcakes, scones, etc.
– perhaps a few shot glasses for before or after aperitif – a sweet liqueur (ex. Baileys-my fav) or a special whiskey, etc.
So the next time you are planning a dinner party … don’t stress over it. There are more simple ways to entertain. Try using my ideas and you’ll end up enjoying your evening just as much as your guests.