Hello Lovely! As you know I love entertaining whether it’s a shower, a dinner party, or a full on event. As a born planner, being an Event Planner has come naturally and I have developed more than a few easy tricks to look like the best hostess when I’m short on time.
1) Make Ahead Dishes-The best secret I have for looking like you’ve got it all together is to serve dishes you can make the night before and keep in the refrigerator until just before the party starts. Some of my favorites dishes for this are quiches, casseroles, and cakes for dessert. If your food is ready and just needs to be warmed you can serve food all at the same time and focus your day of the decor elements.
2) Create Your Own Centerpiece-When I’m needing a last minute centerpiece I usually go for a bowl of fruit or veggies. The added benefit to this set up is that you’re not buying flowers. Also you can use the food afterwards, and you may already have some of these items in your pantry. Just to give you some examples of items I’ve used based on the seasons, lemons (Spring or Summer), artichokes (Fall), and oranges with cloves (Winter).
3) Ask Guests To Help-I will admit this one took me a bit to get my mind around, but it is okay to ask a couple of attendees to bring a side dish and take some pressure off of you. So many times people would ask, can I bring anything? and I’d assure them I had it all taken care of. YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO IT ALL! Trust me nobody thinks less of your hosting abilities because you asked them to bring a side of bacon to brunch. This makes a world of a difference in your staying in the kitchen during your party and getting to be out mingling with guests and enjoying yourself.
4) Label Your Dishes-This is one of my favorite things to do because it makes even a potluck look cohesive. I actually just keep nice scrapbook paper so I can match the color/pattern to my party theme. I cut the paper into little rectangles and fold them in half. Then I write my dishes on the card and have it ready for those bringing dishes to label theirs as well. For a more practical reason to label dishes, well we’ve all seen that casserole that looks good but you are not sure what’s in it. With the recipes labeled people know exactly what they are adding to their plate.
5) Semi-homemade Is Ok-Particularly for the bread basket I still use this trick. Buy a french loaf and add some garlic, butter and salt to make a great garlic bread. Add my honey rosemary mixture to canned biscuits to give them more of a homemade taste and look. Don’t rule out your favorite bakery either, they know way more about bread making than either of us :).
Last but not least enjoy yourself!! Hopefully these shortcuts will help you do just that!