Entertaining family and friends sounds like a blast, until the logistics of hosting your nearest and dearest threaten to overtake the joy of the event. Most guests love to gather in the kitchen during parties, but that can present logistical issues for the host. To make sure hosting isn’t a hassle, we’ve listed our favorite tips for throwing a flawless fete.
Keep It Simple, Sweetie: No one expects you to be a Michelin-starred chef, so prepare the meal you’re best at making. Save yourself the drama of cooking the day of the event by planning your menu ahead of time and cooking the day before. And if you aren’t Julia Child, there’s no shame in the catering game. Your friends and family don’t care who cooked—they’re just embracing the generosity of you opening your home.
Self-Service: Buffets can be classy. Use your good china, silver and table linens, and let the guests serve themselves. People are more likely to go for seconds at a buffet—and every host loves when their food is a hit.
Theme Night: If you don’t know what to serve, a theme will help you determine the menu. Taco night? Great! Breakfast for dinner? Equally awesome. Appetizers also make a fantastic meal. Instead of preparing an entrée, go for three to five hearty appetizers.
Go With the Flow: Setting up stations is one of the easiest ways to keep the guests circulating. Separating the beverage station from the food station will stop a bottleneck from forming in the kitchen.
Limit the Drink Options: Don’t get stuck pouring drinks all night—beverages are something guests can easily serve themselves. Choose a signature drink for the evening, and premix it. Have glasses, ice and garnishes at the ready.
Fantastic Favors: Favorite childhood party favors are still a joy at an adult party. Piñatas, hats and noisemakers are cool at any age.
Add a Velvet Rope: Keep the guest list exclusive and intimate—the number you’re most comfortable with. You’re hosting in your home—you’re not required to throw a rave.