Looking ahead to fall and the holidays its crazy to think that 2017 is wrapping up and my calendar is already booked! Still when the holidays come around, I get the bug to get my friends and family together over food and fun. Growing up, my Mother taught me a lot about how happiness and memories can become attached to things like eating together. Every effort put forth to make a meal ‘special’ was always acknowledged. Along the way, I picked up a few quick and effortless tips that I use time and time again. These tips are meant to show my guests how much I appreciate them. So with the help of some old school tricks from my Mom paired with the genius hacks of Pinterest (check out our Party Board), here are some dinner party secrets that will make hosting a breeze.
Keep your Liquor Bottles, ALL of them
Piggy backing on the mason jar trend, old bourbon, tequila, and scotch bottles make for great variety and décor on a table top.
Keep it Simple and and Natural
There is nothing like the fragrance of fresh flowers and greenery from the yard. Yep, even if you don’t think you have pretty bushes, you do! With the help of some candles, ALL (yes, all) greenery livens up a table top. Bring the outdoors inside whenever you can. Setting the tone with earthy additions to your décor is trendy and familiar.
Don’t get Overwhelmed
I love either stocking up on readymade family dinner items from the grocery store or catering for a get-together. I have found that catering from a restaurant that you may think is expensive can often times be cheaper than eating there. Make a budget and get a few quotes, I think you will be surprised. Bear in mind that by outsourcing the cooking you stay focused on the decorating and presentation of the meal. Hosting a potluck is another great way to use food as an excuse to bring people together — and cut down the effort you need to put in!
Borrow Don’t Buy
I have made the mistake for years of buying decor for my dinner and cocktail parties, but now I have done away with a stash of decor that I have used over and over again. I borrow items like chargers, runners, and vases from friends and even scoped out a local antique shop that was cool with me renting a few trays for centerpieces (it can’t hurt to ask…right?)
Going the Extra Mile Without Losing your Mind
For a dinner party, I take the extra 5 minutes (literally 5 minutes) to print out the menu onto paper. Then cut the printed paper into narrow sheets, and tape them around the napkin to create a more formal feeling to the evening. Labeling the food is a quick way to feel fancier and show your guests you made an effort.
The combination of glass bottles, earthy accents from the yard, a proper table setting, and relaxed atmosphere is truly the backbone for a perfect evening. Sometimes, I will hire a bartender and created a signature drink for the evening. Speaking of, if you have not tried a French 75 yet, I highly recommend ordering it on your next date night. We used the recipe from Epicuious to get the party started.
I know hosting can seem overwhelming when you decide to do it. Making a list of things to do and crossing one thing off a day, you won’t need more than two weeks to comfortably throw a fun dinner party where you can focus on the most important thing of all: time with loved ones.