I love Sunday mornings. There’s something about not setting your alarm, waking up to sunshine and pouring that first cup of coffee!
Unfortunately, not much time to linger today, because we are helping to host a wedding shower for dear friends today and there’s A LOT of work that needs to be done around the house before guests arrive! All the dogs decided to start shedding buckets this week. There is dog hair everywhere I look, and if I find deceivingly clean surface, I usually find cat hair upon closer inspection!
Time to get out the Dyson Animal
and make it all disappear! I also like to rearrange things, de-clutter and generally do some deep cleaning before a party. I always think it’s a great opportunity to tuck things away, throw things out and generally arrange things differently- to be more visitor friendly than ‘real life lazy’.
I also plan on cheating, by moving all the ‘clutter’ to the upstairs bedroom, where it shall remain with the door shut until the last guest leaves .
What are your party tip strategies?
My biggest issue is always the food. The feel is a laid-back BBQ, but it’s a special occasion and a fairly large number of people coming (35+). I feel like I always tend towards the same menu: chips/salsa, meat on the grill, green salad, cupcakes!
I’m trying to branch out a bit, so here’s the menu for the party:
Homemade Pico de Gallo with Tortilla Chips
Caprese Salad Skewers
Local Cheese Plate
Veggie Platter with Herbed Cream Cheese Dip
Pulled Pork Sandwiches
BBQ Grilled Chicken
Grilled Steak Tips
Homemade Macaroni and Cheese
Assorted Mini Tortes
Given the large number of guests, I felt it was important to go with classic dishes- each with their own different spin. Rather than a large salad, the caprese skewers can be great to ‘grab and go’ and a little more kid friendly than a big bowl of lettuce! The appetizers are designed to be set out at the start of the party and not fussed with as guests arrive. Making it easy to greet everyone and make sure they get a drink in their hands sooner rather than later!
The main courses will mostly be prepped a head of time- the pulled pork and chicken can be oven warmed as they finish cooking, and the steak tips will be the only ‘active grilling’ during the party. It makes it easy to have a constant display of food available, but not impossible to manage (if you have limited grill space like us!).
The sides can be prepped ahead of time, and oven warmed with the main course, as guests arrive. I like to try and time everything so that I have about 30-45 minutes to get everything on the table, from the time the party starts. It gives everyone enough time to mingle, snack, grab a drink, but also helps keep things moving along and the food fresh and warm!
Desserts I always leave out from the beginning. In part because I don’t have a great space to store them away, and I also like the look of a dessert table or display near the other food. I use my buffet, cleared of all the normal decorations, to hold all the goodies. I put cake stands and platters into service, to create a visually appealing display- always leaving room for dishes that other guests might bring!
One other tip, or party strategy that I have developed, is to set up the ‘drink station’ in an area that is away from the food area. I usually set up the appetizers and drinks around my kitchen island, with the dining room table and buffet serving for the main meal and dessert courses. It helps with spacing and movement. If you can’t divide them by rooms, consider a folding table or cart to keep the drinks separate from the ‘food flow’!
I’ll be back tomorrow with some pictures of the day! Hope you had a great weekend, and hope that you liked some of these tips!
What are your secrets to throwing an awesome party?
Any horror stories from hosting a party?
I remember one Christmas, growing up, that the cat stole the turkey from the dining room table…