Spring is upon us and warmer weather is finally approaching. I don’t know about you, but that gets me in the entertaining spirit. If you’re planning on hosting a gathering anytime soon, you might be interested in these 10 easy-peasy tips to keep your party simple and stress-free. And the best part about it is they cost you nothing extra!
These tips, although simple, can be highly overlooked when caught up in the material aspects of the party planning process. Getting the cake, calling the caterer, setting up tables and chairs, assembling drinks, cleaning the house, and more. These are a few of the many obvious tasks we get caught up in. Although they’re important and have to be taken care of, we also need to make room for the small things that can make our party enjoyable for our guests and ourselves!
Take a look at some of these tips that don’t require much time or effort and will enhance your party and make your job as the host/hostess easier!
1. Greet your guests and introduce them to one another.
Have you ever been to a party where you felt unwelcome? Or like everyone seems to know each other and you don’t? Yeah, me too. It feels pretty crappy, right?
This is why I like being the hostess. This puts me in the position to make sure others don’t feel unwelcome. The most important part of hosting is making sure your guests are comfortable and having a good time.
One of the easiest ways to do this is by introducing your guests to one another. When guests arrive, be the first to greet and welcome them to the party. Take their coat and belongings, offer them a drink, and show them around so they know what there is to do and where to hang out. You can show them where the food and drinks are, where the bathroom is, where the gift table is, etc. This is especially important if this is the guests’ first time at your house or party.
Next, go ahead and introduce them to someone(s) they would get along well with, regardless of whether or not they know each other. As the host, you are the main point of contact for every guest at the party. This puts you in the best position to get your guests acquainted with one another.
2. Label food so guests know what they’re eating.
Picture this with me really quick. You’re standing around the kitchen island where all the snacks and appetizers are. You’re sipping on drinks and chatting with friends. You notice people are only reaching for the bowl of popcorn and the typical chips n’ salsa combo. Why not the other appetizers?
Well, it’s simple. They know what chips and salsa are. They know what popcorn is. They might not know what’s in that white creamy chunky dip next to the cracker tray. This is why having food labels is so helpful for guests. Not to mention, it will save you as the host from having to answer the question “what’s this?” with a pointing finger to a dish, about a hundred or so times.
3. Have a music playlist that guests can add to.
A party isn’t really a party without some tunes is it?! Find a playlist on your favorite music streaming app or create your own. Keep a pad of paper and a pen by the speakers or on a table so guests can write down any song requests throughout the party that they want to hear.
As guests add to the list, you can quickly add them to the playlist or “que” them to play next. The great thing about keeping a running list of song requests is that you can use them in a playlist for future parties!
Music doesn’t always need to be loud and overwhelming. It’s just nice to have in the background. Having music keeps the party from any unwanted and uncomfortable silences too.
4. Don’t throw out the original packaging your food came in. Save the chip bags.
This one might sound silly. But when it comes time to clean up, you’ll have the original packages to use as storage for whatever snacks weren’t finished. This will save you from using unnecessary plastic baggies and tupperware to store leftovers in.
Be mindful of what is realistic to save your food in versus what isn’t. Things like chip bags and cracker boxes are easy to restore the leftovers in. But, if you have a large veggie tray with only a little leftover, it’s more realistic to just store the veggies in a ziplock rather than taking up space in your fridge with a large plastic tray.
Another item that is useful to save is sauce and dip jars if you transferred your dips into serving dishes. You can pour the leftovers back into the original jar if you’d like to repurpose them for another time.
5. Don’t spend any extra effort or money on picture-perfect dessert.
If you’re thinking what the heck is this girl talking about? How can dessert be too picture-perfect? Well, if your desserts are perfectly decorated, overly pretty, or look untouched, some people will naturally avoid eating them.
It sounds silly, but I promise it’s a real thing. Don’t be afraid to serve up some delicious and messy food (that still looks appetizing of course!). Sometimes, simple is better. You want your guests to indulge in the dessert you provide, not feel like it’s too pretty to eat.
I recommend offering individual sized desserts like cookies and pre-cut brownies instead of having one large cake, uncut pie, or just overly decorated desserts. Something that guests can grab easily is always better! If you want to serve pudding for example, have it prepared in individual cups so guests don’t have to scoop it out of a big bowl. Small and simple is best here!
Oh, and don’t forget about the labels for your dessert!
6. Upgrade the appearance of your party by using the same colored serving dishes.
A simple way to “upgrade” your party without spending tons of money on fancy decor is to use the same colored serving dishes. The best color to use is white because it’s clean and simple. Plus, people tend to have more white dishes in their kitchen than any other color, making it rather convenient. If all your serving dishes are the same color, it will make your party look cohesive and aesthetically pleasing, resulting in a fancier look (even though it requires hardly any effort, yay!).
Side note: The plates, cups, and utensils that guests eat from don’t have to match the color of the serving dishes. Depending on the party, you could stick with simple paper products or my personal favorite, clear plastic dishes and utensils!
7. Accept help when it’s offered!
If someone offers to pitch in by bringing a dish or doing some dishes at clean-up, let them! Hosting doesn’t mean having to do EVERYTHING yourself. Most times, people genuinely want to help out as a way of saying “thank you” and showing their support for your hospitality.
If someone offers to come early or stay after to help set up/clean up, it may just be their way of getting to spend extra time with you one-on-one. Take them up on those offers as it might just be a much needed escape for them and yourself!
8. Use what you already have on hand.
If you have any chips, snacks, or drinks already available in your pantry, use those up first! No one has to know. You’d be surprised what can be pulled together from your pantry and around your house.
Don’t be afraid to be creative too! Try using some ingredients you have on hand to make a simple and tasty dish. It will save you money and time which is always a plus!
Pro tip: The same thing goes for table decor and other decorations. Walk around your house and see what you can find to dress-up your tables. If you have a party decor tub, look through it and see what could be used for your upcoming party. Always see what can be repurposed first before going out and buying anything new!
9. Set coasters and small snacks out so guests know what areas are on and off limits.
In all seriousness, the presence of coasters and a bowl of nuts on a table is a simple way to give guests a point of reference on where it’s okay to sit and socialize. Some guests might not know if there are rooms that are off-limits. No one wants to overstep boundaries and invade the hosts’ private home spaces.
If there is a bowl of snacks and coasters laid out on the table by the couch in the living room, guests will know that they are welcome to sit in that area. The coasters will also save your tables from the everlasting rings that form from an iced cold beverage. You’ll thank yourself later for using coasters. Trust me.
10. Once guests arrive, let yourself enjoy the party.
As a guest, nothing is worse than seeing a host stressed out. Ultimately, it makes the guests feel as though they’re to blame. When the guests pick up on this stress, they feel guilty for being there, as if they’re a burden to the host/hostess.
If you’re the host, try to be present in the moment with your guests. Don’t talk about how much of a hassle it was to pick up the food or how you meant to make more than two desserts but ran out of time because cleaning the house took longer than you thought. Don’t walk around picking up after everyone or standing over the sink the entire time doing dishes. Instead, let yourself enjoy the company of guests and cut yourself some slack. Hosting can be a lot of work but you’re kicking butt at it and giving it your best shot. That’s worth celebrating!