From casual gatherings to elegant affairs, entertaining at home might require extra effort, but is always well worth it. While it’s fun to host a party at an established venue, such as a restaurant or hotel, the most intimate and memorable experiences usually happen in the comfort and privacy of your abode.
From food and wine suggestions to tips on creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere, bookmark this easy entertaining guide as your go-to for entertaining at home.
The Perfect Party Hostess
Since hosting a party at home is often be filled with a number of to-do lists, last minute errands, and the occasional bout of anxiety that leaves you feeling overwhelmed, to make entertaining at home a more enjoyable and relaxing process, here are 5 essential tips on being the perfect party hostess.
Tip # 1: Create A Party Atmosphere
As the party hostess, it’s your role to create a magical atmosphere that evokes the mood and feeling of the party you’re hosting. Whether it’s in honor of a special occasion (such as an anniversary or graduation party) or it’s a casual gathering (like a potluck dinner for friends and family), set the stage for the party with a festive atmosphere.
From fresh flowers, lit candles, and beautiful table linens to elegant touches (like stylish dinnerware, twinkling lights, and metallic charger plates), nothing makes a setting feel more celebratory than these decorative accents. While it’s unnecessary to decorate your entire home, you should focus your decorating efforts on the main entertaining areas – like the living room, dining room, and outdoor patio.
Tip # 2: Serve Different Wine Varietals
While some guests might enjoy a cocktail, like Mojito or Moscow Mule, if you want to make your life easier (as the party hostess), keep things simple by just serving wine. Since foods pair differently with each wine varietal, and people have preferences about the type of wine they drink, it’s recommended to serve different wine varietals.
A few of the most popular, palette-pleasing wines that would be advisable to have on hand at any celebration are Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and a sparkling wine (like Champagne or Prosecco). You can also include a Pinot Grigio (which is easy to drink and is always a fan favorite) and Rosé (which has become a big trend over the past few years). Make sure to have both Red and White wine glasses on hand for guests to choose from.
Tip # 3: Set-up an Appetizer Station
When entertaining at home, you’ll most likely be cooking the main meal even while your guests are arriving. Encourage them to relax and get comfortable, while you’re busy in the kitchen, by setting-up an appetizer station for them to peruse. While it’s customary to have waiters serving passed hors d’oeuvres at a party, entertaining at home is generally more laid-back than a party at a hotel or venue. That’s why an appetizer station not only is an ideal way to enable your guests to nibble on small bites, as it lets you focus on the main meal, rather than burdening you to tend to your guests.
Easy appetizers to serve are an assortment of fresh fruits and veggies, a mix of classic cheeses (the best-selling Lauren Conrad Celebrate book recommends “three cheeses: firm, soft, and blue”, such as “Camembert or Brie, Manchengo or aged cheddar, and the classic Stilton blue cheese”), breads and crackers, and popular cured meats (like salami and sweet prosciutto). You can also serve other bite-sized appetizers like decadent bacon-wrapped dates, spicy artichoke jalapeño crescents, and beloved tomato caprese skewers.
Tip # 4: Serve Foods Your Guests Enjoy
When it comes to being the perfect party hostess, it’s always better to stick with recipes you have mastered over the years. Rather than attempting to re-create that amazing recipe you found in a Martha Stewart cookbook, opt to cook one a meal that you know is a winner. Even preparing simple fare, like traditional spaghetti & meatballs paired with a green salad and garlic bread, can be something your guests will enjoy. So don’t feel the need to impress them with gourmet cuisine.
Tip # 5: Just Have Fun
While there will always be little (and big) ways that you can improve your hostessing skills, the most over-looked (but essential) tip you could ever remember is to just have fun. As the party hostess, it’s up to you to set the tone, create a festive ambiance, and help your guests enjoy themselves. That’s why having a relaxed, ‘go-with-the-flow’ attitude can help both you and your guests create a memorable experience that you’ll all cherish for years to come.
As Cindy Crawford once said, “If all else fails, smile!”.
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