cocktails . conversation . cuisine
The point of entertaining is to spend time with friends and family. So often, people get overwhelmed by the details of entertaining. They find the idea intimidating, but it really doesn’t need to be.
1. Preparing for a party is really important. It’s just like you would prepare to bake a cake. You need to have all the ingredients out on the table before you start the recipe.
There are 3 main ingredients in party planning.
(1) Cocktails- a well thought out bar. Your guests will gather around the bar so location is very important.
(2) Conversation-create vignettes throughout the space to encourage guest interaction
(3) Cuisine- well made food presented beautifully.
Don't forget about your vegetarian, vegan & gluten free guests.
2. Don’t go for the expected. Doing something different makes it memorable. A surprise piano recital encouraging guests to sing along always adds amusement to the event.
3. You don't need a full bar. It’s better to offer one type of red & white wine. If you choose multiple types you may run out of one and then you’ll have people mixing wine. Your guests won't want to mix their Sauvignon Blanc and their Chardonnay. If you want to add hard alcohol to the mix, offer a specialty drink, a snowflake martini, eggnog or hot buttered rum is very festive.
4. Lighting adds drama and sets the mood. Dim the lights and add many, many candles of different shapes and sizes but keep them the same color. Do be careful that they are not scented. Too many fragrances is off-putting.
5. Some of your guests may be awkwardly looking around because they don't know anyone. It is the responsibility of the host to create conversation, introduce people to one another, and share with them their common interests. You want people to feel comfortable at your party.
6. Infuse your personality and don't be afraid to mix your luxury and everyday items. And always, always, always have fresh flowers!
7. Balance being a good host with having fun at your own party. Find time to relax in the same way that your guests are. You need to put yourself in a chair and have a glass of wine and get engrossed in conversation and just let the rest of it go. You don’t need to be running around cleaning up. When people offer to help you, say 'Yes!'
8. Music is essential. When the room is quiet your guests feel the need to whisper. Check the volume-there is nothing worse than your guests shouting at each other.
What makes hosting a party worth it is that special moment where you feel like everyone is genuinely enjoying each other. It’s important to set the scene, to make your guests comfortable, to enjoy cocktails, conversation & cuisine.