20 Home Entertaining Tips
Entertaining Made Easy
If you are not an expert at entertaining, here are 20 home entertaining tips for a formal dinner, a backyard barbeque or serving a buffet for a crowd. The key is to plan ahead and accomplish as much as possible before the day of the party.
- The best tip for any entertaining is to plan ahead. Know exactly what the occasion will be, approximate date, location, guest list, how food will be served, menu, decorations needed and resources required to put it all together.
- Do as much prior to the party date as possible. Have the groceries purchased, dishes washed, table linens ironed and the decorations ready. Double check the day before the party to make sure you have enough condiments, beverages, cooking ingredients, place settings, napkins and of course ice.
- Prepare many of the menu items a day or two in advance. Many dishes will actually taste better when prepared the day before. Wash and prepare the vegetables, peel the potatoes (keep covered with water overnight) and slice the cheese. Soups and desserts can also be prepared the day before the party.
- Set the table, move the furniture, wash off the lawn chairs, clean the barbeque grill and any cleaning a day or two before the party. Get the bar ready and chill the beverages overnight. Plan ahead and never wait to the last minute.
- Grill instead of using the pot and pans that will require added cleanup. Most foods can be prepared on the grill.
- For larger guests’ lists and not a set-down formal dinner, use buffet style, crock pots and plastic dinner ware.
- Cook extra servings to make sure there is enough food prepared.
- Use the largest space available in your home or outside or both. It may not be the nicest room but adequate space is important. Don’t invite more guests than you have room to accommodate.
- Always have drinks available as your guests arrive. Most people are just more comfortable with a drink in their hand. Keep
your guests busy with drinks, appetizers, music, conversation and games.
- Music is good to set the mood and get people relaxed.
- Make any necessary introductions as guests arrive.
- During the party, the host needs to talk to everyone. Listen to the conversations to make sure things are moving in the right direction.
- Most parties are gathering of people for some reason or occasion. A themed party is easier to plan and usually more entertaining.
- For formal set-down dinners, send the menu along with the invitation.
- For a buffet dinner, place the name of each dish using a small piece of paper next to the menu item itself.
- For any new recipes, make it a week ahead as a test.
- Party favors are nice to receive and can be a form of entertainment. These can encourage conversation, be part of a game or offer a prize.
- Provide adequate parking and inform the neighbors as necessary.
- Remember the Boy Scout motto, be prepared. Things happen like spills on the carpet, allergies to pets, broken glassware, too much alcohol to let a guest drive home, gas needed to grill runs out or rain during a backyard barbeque.
- Always have a plan B in case of bad weather, a ruined menu dish or extra guests.