In partnership with Wayfair, I am giving you my best tips for no-stress entertaining. Having parties doesn’t have to be hard or stressful. Bring on the holidays!
The holidays are going to be here before we know it. I love the holidays – and all of the craziness that goes with it. As I have gotten older, I have really mellowed when it comes to entertaining. There was a time that I had to make every single thing myself (even the bread or the rolls you guys – I was a little nuts). As much as I enjoy being in the kitchen and cooking, it was getting a little out of hand. Every time I had people over, I would try to outdo myself. Guess what? My guests just cared about spending time with me and my family. They like homemade bread (because who doesn’t?) but me going overboard didn’t make the party. It was the people that made the party. No one had a better time because I cooked for 3 days leading up to a get-together. (If anything, it kind of made them feel weird.)
You can still have a really nice party without a.) spending a fortune b.) spending days in the kitchen and c.) having a Pinterest-esque home.
Here are a few of my favorite tips for throwing a great party without stressing out.
1. Keep it simple – You don’t have to serve three courses and you don’t have to make your house look like a winter wonderland. I have white everything – plates, napkins, serving dishes and platters, tablecloths. It always looks beautiful and clean, and it lets the food and your decorations stand out. It also means that you don’t have to have a matching place setting of 12. You can mix and match white and pick up what you need inexpensively.
2. Flowers – One thing that I always have in my house are fresh flowers. It is something that brings me immense joy, so I have gotten pretty good at arranging flowers. If I am short on time, I get my local florist (my local grocery store has a great floral section believe it or not) to make me a few small arrangements. Keep them short so that your guests can see over them. I always prefer a few small ones to one big one. And I even can bring my own containers if I want to. Don’t forget the bathroom, I always have a very small arrangement or a few stems in a vase near the sink.
3. Make some things and buy some things – I have no shame in ordering desserts, side dishes, or having things prepped in advance for me. I love to have beef tenderloin at parties because it feels really fancy, is easy to cook, and can be served hot as an entree or a room temperature in a roll. I have my butcher tie it and get it ready for me, all I have to do is season and put it in the oven. Serving shrimp – splurge and have the store shell them for you. Have a great Italian market near you? Have them make an antipasto platter for you. A great pie bakery? Buy some pies and make the whipped cream. My liquor store delivers, so I order beer and wine and have to brought to my house. (All of the appetizers in the photos are 3 ingredients or less and are embellished grocery store items. Would you have guess that?)
More often that not, you will spend less this way and it can save you so much time. Make the things that you really care about and for the rest, buy it. Another thing, if someone asks what they can do to help you, have them pick up. Call ahead and pay for it and then let your friends help. I like when someone actually gives me a job to do.
4. Don’t forget about ambiance – I like to have glowy candles around the room (unscented, or at the very least all of the same scent) and in the rooms where guests will be. Turn off the overhead lights and just use lamps with warm colored bulbs. Also, make sure to have some music playing. I create playlists and just let them play all night long. Create atmosphere.
5. Make a plan – I try to do as much ahead of time as possible. That means cleaning the kitchen and bathrooms, creating the menu, ordering food or flowers, prepping food, setting the table, arranging flowers – there are a lot of things that you can do before the day of the party. I write down what needs to be done and break it down over the course of a few days. On the day of, you can put the finishing touches on everything and actually get to enjoy your guests. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help. If someone offers to bring something, take them up on your offer.
Those are my 5 tips for stress-free holiday entertaining. Do you have any to add? Feel free to leave them in the comments below.
Interested in the recipes for the appetizers shown? Head over to Wayfair.com Ideas and Advice Page to grab the full recipes.
This post is brought to you by Wayfair and their #HowWeHoliday campaign. All opinions are 100% my own.