Good morning and welcome to summer, as it officially started yesterday! With summer comes a lot of get togethers, parties, barbeques, and family reunions. Hosting events can be stressful for a lot of people and when you’re focused on the stressful stuff you probably aren’t enjoying the party or the guests that you invited.
Today, I want to share with you eight ways of how to actually enjoy spending time with the guests at your party. Incorporating some of these ideas will take the stress away from hosting and you can fully enjoy the party, and hopefully you’ll want to entertain again in the future.
Plan Ahead– Make a lot of lists, grocery lists, guest lists, decoration lists, to do lists, and a timeline. Keep all of your lists together so you can easily go from one thing to the next. Write everything down to help you remember what needs to be done and to get things done in a timely manner. Always allow yourself plenty of time to get everything pulled together. I like to have everything but last minute food items done well before the first guest arrives. It doesn’t always happen, but that’s the goal.
Have a Potluck– By asking your guests to bring the food, you take a lot of stress off of yourself. Provide the drinks, maybe a signature cocktail and all you have to do is wait for the food to arrive. Be sure to have plenty of platters, bowls, baskets, and serving ware to lay out the food that is brought. It’s a great idea to give your guests some direction by having a potluck theme. Have your guests bring food for an Italian potluck, salad potluck, around the world, Mexican, or a burger night.
Have a Cocktail Potluck– For this idea you can provide the food and have everyone invited bring the drinks. A great idea if you know your guests all drink a variety of beverages. Asking the guests to bring the drinks means you don’t have to stress about providing something for everyone. This way everyone is happy.
Don’t BBQ– If you don’t want to be slaving over the grill the entire time your party is going on, try smoking your meat instead of barbequing. Smoking the meat can be done well ahead of time and then taken out just as your guests are arriving. There is a bit of work involved with the smoking process, but it totally frees you up from grilling the whole time. I’ll be doing a full post on how we smoke for a crowd in the future. My husband is kind of obsessed with his smoker and how tender he can get the meat.
Hire a cleaning company, party planner, or decorator– If the idea of getting your house ready for a bunch of people is overwhelming, there is something to be said for hiring people to help. If you don’t have time to clean, hire a cleaning lady to come the day or so before your party. If you don’t have a clue how to set up for a party use a party rental company. If you don’t want to do any of the work at all, hire a party planner. Party planners can help you decide on details for the event, find vendors, and help get everything set up. Sit back and watch as everyone else does the work for you.
Cater the Event– I pretty much have a rule when it comes to entertaining in my house, if there are more than 30 people attending, I don’t cook. For parties that big I get the meal, at least most of it, catered. 30 people is just too many mouths to feed. There are so many options when it comes to catering. Get a food truck, taco truck, platters from restaurants like Chik-fil-A or Panera.
Talk to Everyone– This may go without saying, but if you invite people to your party you should make an effort to chat with them. Try to have more of a conversation with them than just greeting them when they arrive. Ask how they’re doing, what they’ve been up to and enjoy the conversation. You can’t enjoy your guests if you don’t talk to them. If you are busy with party details, try and break free for a few minutes to converse with your guests. I promise nothing you were doing for the party is an emergency.
Take a Moment to Relax– Take a moment before your guests arrive to sit for a minute, have a drink, or take some deep breaths. Concentrate on the fun you are about to have with your family and friends. Get in the mood to have a great time with your guests and not stress about everything else.
Put these eight tips to use for a stress-free, fun filled event this summer. Be sure to enjoy the people at your party too. A party is more than just a party when you feel like you are connecting with the people around you.