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Entertaining Made Simple: How to Host a Stress-Free Gathering

Are you getting ready to host a family party or get together? While we’re all looking forward to the opportunity to gather again, entertaining can be a lot of work!

Over the years, I've hosted everything from birthday parties to holiday dinners to brunches, and I've learned a few things to make hosting a bit more you can have more fun enjoying your party and spending time with your guests. Here are a few simple tips to take some of the stress out of hosting your next gathering:

Plan ahead

Plan your menu a few weeks ahead of time, and be sure to include tried and true favorite recipes. Trying a new recipe for the first time the day of your party can be a lot of pressure!

Photo Credit: Caitlin Antje LLC

Keep it clean

Don’t try to clean your entire house the day before – tackle one or two spaces a day for the week leading up to your party to keep it manageable.

Skip the rush

Set out all of your serving platters and completely set your table (linens, plates, silverware, glasses, etc.) the night before. You can also label each of your serving platters with what dish it will be used for, and pair it with any necessary serving utensils. That way, there’s no last minute rush to have to search for any missing items.

Photo Credit: CNC Home & Design

Just say yes

If your guests offer to help, whether they ask if they can bring an appetizer or a bottle of wine, it’s perfectly okay to accept! They likely want to show their appreciation for your effort, and are happy to contribute.

Help yourself

Set up a self-service bar with cocktail and wine glasses, an ice bucket, a bottle opener, red and white wine, and a liquor selection if you’re offering seasonal cocktails. Keep a drink tub nearby with beers, sodas and sparkling waters, so guests can easily freshen up their drinks if you’re tied up in the kitchen.

Photo Credit: Pottery Barn

Simplify your décor

Add a few bouquets of seasonal fresh flowers in areas where your guests will be gathering, like your dining or living room. And light a few candles throughout your home - even unscented votive candles can provide a great ambiance.

Photo Credit: CNC Home & Design

Go for the buffet

Instead of family style meals, try buffet style, which keeps all of the food platters and bowls in the kitchen or on a side table to free up space at your dining table.

Give yourself grace

If something goes wrong or doesn’t turn out perfect, your guests will still have an enjoyable time regardless. And ultimately, being able to gather together is the real gift!

PS. Want to learn about how you can achieve a beautiful, family-friendly home you are excited to entertain in, and finally have your design or decorating projects off of your to-do list? Let's chat about it and learn more about how I could help!

Photo Credit: Caitlin Antje


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