Those that know me well know that I LOVE to entertain. There is something about the whole party planning process that is so satisfying, yet therapeutic for me. I’m not sure if entertaining allows me to explore my creative side, or if it brings me back to my event planning days in the business world. But whatever it may be, I mostly enjoy seeing the final product come together and seeing those I love having a good time. It’s a win-win in my book.
As I thought back to the many dinners and parties I’ve together in the past, there seemed to be common threads among them all. Because of that, I decided to share my process of how I pull everything together from start to finish. Also – for this post, I went back into my archives and selected a few of my favorite meals so please excuse the bad lighting on the older pics!
My Top 5 Tips for Entertaining:
1. Plan the menu in advance with simple meals. Usually a week or two before the party, I begin to brainstorm my file of recipes or Pinterest to pull together a menu that fits the crowd that is coming over. I never serve anything too time consuming to make, I choose dishes I can make in advance, and the menu will always have an appetizer course, a main dish and a dessert.
2. Create personalized menus using pretty scrapbooking paper from Michael’s or Hobby Lobby. This is the fun part and has come to be expected among my family. Once the menu is created and is printed using a graphics package (even Word), use scrapbooking paper to finish the look.
3. Pull together the menu with chargers, placemats, cloth or pretty paper napkins, and candles. I love to shop my home for all of these items and find it a challenge to see how many different combinations I can make using existing goods. If it’s a large crowd or one with lots of kids, I will stop in Home Goods or TJ Maxx to see what their paper napkin supply looks like. And I always use this gold cocktail napkin holder with pretty napkins for apps and dessert.
4. Pull it together with a floral arrangement from a discount florist and possibly a favor. This is my favorite part…the flowers! The morning of the party (or day before) I head to my discount flower place to see what’s in stock. Since it’s never the same from week to week, I love the challenge of collecting the flowers that would best compliment my table. I also like to use items such as mini pumpkins or smaller vases of flowers on the table to add depth and dimension. Then, once the party is over, I send them home with the guests as favors.
5. Make as much of the meal ahead of time as possible. There’s nothing worse than cooking in the kitchen while entertaining, especially after the wine has been flowing. I try my hardest to have everything done and ready prior to the arrival of my guests. This includes large pans being washed and put away. It makes my life so much easier! Plus, J usually does the dishes, so he appreciates it too. 🙂
Here are a few past parties that I pulled from my archives! Enjoy! xo