My Top 5 Handy Hostess Helpers

I’m an unabashed lover of dreaming up parties and inviting my nearest and dearest to snuggle in for a great meal. I’m also the kind of control freak who wants to do all the things, which inevitably leads to stress. So, here are the 5 little tricks that have helped me put together a great party without turning into a royal grinch…

1. Take some time to figure out your menu. As in weeks. Ok, perhaps not WEEKS (I’m not normal, I actually DO take weeks), but at least several days. Take an honest look at it and make sure you’re not doing too many last-minute things. If there’s one dish that’s especially involved, make sure your other dishes are make-ahead or assembly only.

2. Take advantage of your friends. If your friends or family offer to bring something, by all means take them up on it! You’ll be so grateful that you don’t have to fix dessert when crunch -time comes. Plus, perhaps you’ll discover a new recipe! And if your guests know you, they’ll most likely bring something that fits in with your menu. And if they show up with a Jello mold, well, hey, that’s fun too!

3. Nothing gets people mingling like a good cheese/charcuterie board. It’s so interactive if you have a wide variety of cheeses, meats, fruits and veggies. They’re so easy and pretty, sometimes I make two or three! And sometimes the more disorganized, er, organic they look, the better!

4. The day of, when it gets a little more serious, is not the time to be hurriedly slapping down the flatware and plates on the table. Turn on whatever music speaks to your heart and set up the main eating area the night before.

5. Greet your guests with a glass of wine in hand. In YOUR hand! For YOU! You don’t have to drink any of it before they arrive, but I’ve found just seeing a drink in hand gives your guests permission to immediately relax, without saying a word. Then of course, offer up drinks, and let them help you turn on music, light candles, etc.

What are YOUR best hostess in tips and tricks? I’d love to hear them!

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