It may have been a while since you’ve hosted a soiree, thanks to everything going on in the past year. While some people revel in being the ‘host with the most,’ others find entertaining a cause for anxiety and worry.
Keep in mind that, first and foremost, hosting your loved ones should be fun and that a warm and welcoming smile is the most necessary detail to remember. Read on to get some ideas about small changes that lead to easier entertaining at home.
1. Clean up
It is incredible how many people forget to leave time for a deep clean of their home before welcoming guests. Don’t fret about areas that your guests are unlikely to go to and concentrate on the areas that they will see.
This includes decluttering your kitchen counters and clearing your bathroom of any wayward toiletries. Clear sufficient space in the front hall closet or another area for coats, boots, umbrellas, and the like.
No one wants to be in the kitchen the whole night preparing food while guests are waiting. Whether you have a lavish dinner party or a standing room only cocktail gathering, your guests want you to be present. If you are off working away, this will make them feel guilty and abandoned and cause your stress levels to increase.
Focus your menu on what can be almost completely prepared in advance. A starter can be kept in a crockpot at the ideal temperature, and your salad course could be premade and even plated in advance while you pop the main meal in the oven.
Desserts are one of the courses where you can easily cheat and buy a store-bought cheesecake and dress it up with fresh berries and chocolate shavings to look divine.
3. Ask for help
How many times have you been asked ‘can I help’ or ‘can we bring anything’? Often, we graciously turn down these polite offers of assistance, but there is no harm in asking for some help in specific areas.
Some guests are happy to chip in, and it makes them feel more comfortable to be included. We aren’t suggesting you ask them to clean your bathroom or take out the trash, but plating canapes or replenishing bowls of pretzels is one less thing for you to do.
Likewise, there is no harm in planning ahead and booking a cleaning service for the day after entertaining. You will likely be far less anxious with spilled red wine if you know that the following day you’ll have a few hours of assistance getting your house back in order.
4. Create stations
We have all been to parties where you inevitably entertain guests in your dining room or kitchen. However, it is simple to encourage guests to venture further if you get creative. Set up small stations around your home in the various rooms where you are happy to entertain.
Create a gin and tonic, coffee or hot chocolate station in your sitting room, with plenty of garnishing and some recipes on display to keep guests chatting. Likewise, create different seating areas for guests to talk while in other places get rid of chairs altogether for standing room only.
Some homes are naturally more set up for entertaining than others. However, even small apartments can host a vast number of guests with a little bit of forward-thinking and attention to detail.