This quote is the key to entertaining. Memorize it.
I love to have people over. The whole experience should be smooth, fun and lovely not only for your guests – but for you. Why? Because whether you are having friends over for dinner, your spouse’s colleagues around for a happy hour or a baby shower for 30 – the whole point of the event is meant to be… fun. You want your guests to be left with the feeling of inclusion, warmth, and happiness.
Good luck, I can hear some of you sigh with a harrumph. Entertaining freaks me out, some of you might say. Well, here are 4 things to remember:
1. START WITH WHAT YOU LIKE AND KNOW
It’s no secret that my husband likes cocktails. He likes planning out a signature drink for the evening, buying the ingredients, setting up a bar, getting the ice and serving our guests when they arrive. That’s just one of his things. He starts his dinner party prep there.
I like music and candles. I like creating playlists for the kind of mood I want to create. Maybe it’s a yoga night or we’re going up north or having drinks on the beach– I want to create a feeling with what people hear when they arrive and what they smell – that’s where I start.
Where do you start? Here are some examples to help you decide:
- Cooking or baking
- Cleaning and/or decorating
- Paper and invites
- Place settings
- Making cocktails
Figure out what you LOVE to do and start your planning there.
2. DON’T STRIVE FOR PERFECTION, NO ONE CARES AS MUCH AS YOU DO
Ina Garten said in one of her books something I’ll never forget. She and Jeffery were young and broke but that didn’t stop her from having people over. She didn’t have the perfect napkins and matching place settings and her furniture was dated, but she confirmed that no one cares about stuff like that.
If you wait to have everything “perfect” you’ll let life pass you by.
Be driven by your guests need to feel welcome, not by your need to impress.
3. PLAN EVERY ASPECT IN ADVANCE + DON’T DO IT ALL
The more you plan, no matter how big or small the event, the easier it is to pull off an awesome party. Take the time to think everything out – top to bottom – start to finish – write it all down, design a menu, make a grocery list. I’ve designed an outline for you to use to help.
Another tip is don’t feel like you have to do it all. Have friends bring the drinks or food. Get party platters for appetizers that are already made or just put out some nuts and cheese. Check out some EPIC party platters here.
4. YOU SET THE STAGE
You can either be like this:
or like this:
I Love Lucy!