If you need some last-minute entertaining hacks, we have it covered in today’s post.
Cooking a meal for a crowd can be time-consuming, and stressful, which can suck the joy out of the entertaining experience.
But with these low-stress entertaining tips, your guests will be happy and cared for in no time.
For us, get-togethers with friends are usually pretty spontaneous and only planned a day or a few hours in advance. So we’ve needed to have a system in place.
Here is how we make it happen without going insane, while making sure a good time is always on the menu.
# 1 Break Traditions
Don’t try to be a copycat of the experience you had growing up. Hospitality should not be about serving meals; it’s about getting together with friends.
And certainly, you don’t have to live up to what your Grandma was able to accomplish as a hostess.
Accepting that the way you host parties or dinners is not supposed to look or feel exactly how your Grandma did is the first step.
# 2 Finger Foods
Presentation, in my opinion, fools our guests into thinking I’m a better cook than I am.
When in reality I pretty much decorate several appetizers, some of which hardly took any time to prepare.
A few well-displayed items prepared in advance create a good illusion I’ve worked harder than I did.
I’ve taken some time to curate a few “finger food menus” that work well together and add only 1 or 2 homemade items in the mix.
The hack is to always have some mini quiches and finger foods in the freezer.
Since everything is done before guests arrive, I can enjoy my company instead of worrying about the food.
If you would like free copies of my pre-planned menus, recipes and printouts you can grab them below.
# 3 Don’t Try to Cater To Everyone’s Taste
It’s impossible to please everyone and trying to serve a meal that everyone will be happy with will only frustrate you.
Serving finger foods allows you to provide a variety of items.
So, when your cousin passes on the greens don’t take it personally. Anyone who passes on the veggies is not your problem.
# 4 Cute Signage & Printed Menus
A few months ago, when I hosted a pool party I created printed recipes for mojitos to “pretty up” my drink station.
This was my attempt to simplify my life and hint my friends into being their own bartenders, haha.
The result, it became a conversational piece, and my friends ended up competing who could make the best drink. I was served poolside instead of playing waitress.
# 5 Always Have A Bar Cart Stocked
This is a total game-changer! If you incorporate a bar cart into your decor, you will find that you will only need to tweak it for your hosting needs since your cart is usually somewhat stocked.
View your bar cart as your drink station for any type of hosting as it could serve as a coffee, brunch or cocktail station.
Next, organize your tools to let you muddle, measure, shake, and stir with ease.
Style your cart with fresh ingredients that will be used in your drinks. Group your lemons, and limes in a pretty bowl for display and a small potted mint plant for those garnishes.
Maybe even store a few cocktail recipe books in the cart which can help you create signature drinks and give you some inspiration.
A bar cart has endless possibilities and I love multi-purpose pieces that can give a home a unique style. A bedroom is a great place to park your cart when not in use. It serves this bedroom well as an end table.
# 6 Prepare For The Aftermath
If you can, try to plan ahead for the cleaning aftermath of hosting. Before guests arrive empty out your trash, and make sure the dishwasher is ready for the next dirty load.
That way, when the evening is over, you can clean up with ease once your guests are gone.
# 7 Accept Help
Say yes, if friends offer to bring something.
Here’s the beauty of a finger food style of hosting. Anything goes and when in doubt use the offer to stock up your drink station.
Seven Last-Minute Entertaining Hacks – Conclusion
Remember entertaining should be about having a good time with friends and there is no wrong way to entertain. Don’t get trapped by old traditions and overcomplicating things.
Host in a way that allows you not to be easily distracted or focused on what needs to come out of the oven next.
Besides, if you’re stressed out and busy cleaning up after everyone, you will view entertaining as a chore. If you stay in the moment, laugh, and enjoy your friends everyone will be happier because of it!
For more home styling tips and tricks drop by anytime. Hey, we’re always up for company.
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