This past weekend I hosted one of my many dinner parties. As most of you who read my blogs know, I’m a huge foodie and wine lover, so of course, entertaining is in my blood. There’s nothing like getting together with some good friends and enjoying some great food, wine and lots of laughs.
I won’t say I’m an ‘expert’ when it comes to hosting parties however I have learned a few tricks over the years that I’ll share with you so that hosting a party is actually fun instead of stressful for you.
The biggest complaint I hear is “whenever I host the party I don’t get to enjoy it”. I agree, as most people put themselves under so much pressure that by the time the night arrives you aren’t able to sit, relax and enjoy. So here are a few tips to keep hosting your dinner party simple and stress free.
- Choose a theme. Ok, I know that may sound a bit cheesy to some however, it really helps bring the night together and makes it much easier to create a great menu, ambiance and atmosphere.
- Decide on the guests – Figure out how many guests you are looking at having and also if some of those guests are willing to bring anything to add to the party – ie: assign someone an appetizer or a dessert in keeping with the theme.
- Create a menu – Surf the internet for easy recipes that ideally you can make ahead of time and store in the fridge until you are ready to serve or just toss on the grill or in the oven to reheat before the guests arrive.
- Choose your drinks – Have some alcoholic and non-alcoholic options on hand. I always ensure I have the right wines to pair with the food I’m making, so I do a bit of research before heading to the LCBO – their website makes it easy to choose the right wine, and also makes your shopping quicker. If you would rather have a bit more help, the Vintages section of your local LCBO has very knowledgeable staff, and if you tell them what you are making, they are usually very willing to help you choose the right wines to pair.
- If you are having your party outside, as is always my first choice if the weather permits, make sure you have the area prepped and ready the day before or morning of. I like to have my yard work done, wood ready to go in the fire pit, candles on the tables and the lighting figured out, as well as ensuring there is lots of bug/mosquito repellent on hand!
- Table setting & Décor – It’s amazing what you can find at your local Thrift or Dollar store at very low cost that will bring your theme to life! Add a few colourful plastic flowers to a serving platter, pick up some mis-matched ceramic candle holders, some lacey table cloths etc., and you are well on your way to a beautiful table setting.
With all of the above taken care of ahead of time, there is very little time spent in the kitchen while your guests are there and you can sit back and enjoy the party along with them!