I love, love, love this post from Dinner: A Love Story. If you’re already not reading her stuff, please get over there and do! That said, she’s had several lists, but loving to host a party, this one totally knocked me out of the park. Go on and read my favorite tips of hers below, but find also my tip or two plus my favorite five dinner ideas!
A few of my own tips:
1. Always vaccuum, fluff the pillows and have good music on Pandora going.
2. Invest in a set of themed “Table Topics” cards when in mixed groups, these break any ice, no matter how thick!
3. Make sure you leave a little time to get yourself ready – looking tired and haggard can make any guest feel guilty!
4. Remember: this is fun. make food that you love. have a party that you love. and they will love it too.
Culled from What’s a Hostess to Do, by Susan Spungen (and so many thousands more where these came from)
1. Less can be more. Focus on a few beautiful well-conceived, well-prepared dishes.
5. Some handy math: On average, assume your guests will have 2 drinks per hour (10 guests x 2 drinks x 2 hours = 40 drinks). There are approximately 5 wine glasses per bottle. A 1-liter bottle of liquor contains enough for 32 mixed drinks. One liter of mixer will make 8 drinks.
11. Three Four-Syllable Laws of Sanity Preservation when entertaining: Make it Ahead, Cook What You Know, Think Mise en Place.
15. Winning Cheese and Fruit Pairs for a Starter Spread: Apples + Cheddar, Quince Paste + Manchego, Figs + Gorgonzola
17. To make after-party cleanup less soul-crushing, always start the evening with an empty dishwasher, dish rack, trash can, and sink.
and my absolute favorite:
19. Yes, you can bring wine = The answer when your friends ask What Can I Bring?