5 Tips for Hosting A Stress-Free Summer Party

If the saying "the way to a man's (or in this case, anyone's) heart is through his stomach" holds any truth, well then my friends must really love me. Because whenever there comes a time when all of my old high school friends are around, I'm always working up some excuse to get us together. Ideally, such an occasion would require eating and drinking- and lots of it.  

While a fancy garden party that's as "pinnable" as something Lauren Conrad would come up with is truly the dream, it's really not worth stressing yourself out over the little things when it comes to entertaining. This is exactly the mindset I adopted when planning my own backyard brunch this past Sunday. 

Now, I'm not a "chill" person by any stretch of the imagination- but my entertaining style is such that I like to avoid as much unnecessary stress as possible. Isn't hosting all about having fun? And basking in the glory of knowing you're a domestic goddess? Right. That's what it's all about.

So today I'm going to share my top five tips for hosting a stress-free summer party (or really, any party but it's summer so gotta stick with a theme here).  

Keep it simple // Too much ambition can be a bad thing. There's nothing wrong with having a simple, yet elegant, party for a few close friends with a small menu, and basic decorations. Honestly, people waste way too much time on making everything look good, when no one will really notice. You know how Ina Garten (aka the Barefoot Contessa aka the embodiment of entertainment #goals) always finishes off her parties with a flourish, rhetorically asking the camera "How easy is that?" when it really takes 94 steps to bake one of her cakes? Well, I'm about to tell you one of her best entertaining secrets. And it actually doesn't have to do with food. Here it is: stick to one color. In my case, I stuck to all white flowers, with a few pops of red from two chairs and a watering can.

Use what you have // Speaking of that watering can, this connects to my next tip which is to use whatever you have on hand to decorate. I did not buy a red watering can for my brunch party, it was just something we had in the house. Think creatively to get the aesthetic you're looking for. In terms of flowers, these five arrangements together cost a grand total of $6 to make- that would be the $6 to get those white roses on sale from Whole Foods. The more blousy white flowers were actually found growing on a nearby street (on public land y'all I wasn't stealing), and the green in the middle is mint from my dad's garden. Another great Ina tip is to use fresh mint in your flower arrangements as it makes everything smell heavenly. To top it all off, the flowers were put in mismatched jars with some ribbon/twine we had lying around tied around the top (#rustic).    

Prep in advance // Whether it's food or flowers, you'll probably find something you can prep in advance. Baked goods that don't have to be served hot can be made ahead of time. Cold salads can be chopped and done, with dressing set aside, hours in advance. Flower arrangements can be made and sitting in water the day before. Do all of this and you may actually have more than 15 minutes to get yourself changed and ready to go before your guests arrive.

Let guests serve themselves // Do you really want to be a waiter at your own party? Inevitably, you'll have to be shuffling around with plates and cups on the reg, but let's try to keep it to a minimum. Have pitchers of different drinks (don't forget the water!) out on one table, with cups, straws, and ice. Place all of the different food items on the biggest table and welcome the guests to help themselves- family style (I'm not really a fan of buffets). I promise, your guests won't be offended that they're not being served by Downton Abbey's Mr. Carson. Plus, family style is a great way to see just how dysfunctional your friends can be.

Tried and true is better than fresh and new // I don't know whether this is an actual saying because I just made it up in my head and I'm very proud of it, but it is now my new mantra when it comes to entertaining. This doesn't mean that all your dishes have to be ancient family recipes that haven't changed since the 16th century. However, you're really shooting yourself in the foot if you try out a brand spankin' new recipe an hour before your guests arrive. Even if you're planning to try out some trendy dish you saw on one of those 30-second long BuzzFeed Food videos, at least attempt to make it a few days before the party so you can work out the kinks (I promise it will take longer than 30 seconds- those videos are deceptive like that).

Now that you know some general tips on how to host your own summer party, I thought you might be curious as to the specific dishes I made for my brunch (okay, maybe you aren't curious but I'd like to think some people are nosy). This was my menu:

Happy partying! 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...