Julia Knight Shares Her Top 10 Secrets To Become the Hostess With The Mostess When Hosting A Party For Family And Friends
Properly hosting a formal dinner party or even just entertaining an informal gathering of friends and family requires a modicum of forethought and a good deal of preparation if the hostess with the mostess hopes to provide an enjoyable evening while still remaining stress-free. With that thought in mind, we offer these 10 tips that will help keep you stress-free and able to enjoy your own party:
10. Choose the right dishes
For a formal affair, large cuts of meat – a large, whole beef roast, turkey or ham – are best as the main course as they will all need time to “rest” after being cooked. This will allow the host to finish the remainder of the meal and serve all of the dishes at one time – a decidedly less stressful situation than trying to sear 24 pork chops for twelve guests while also cooking the sides. For more informal affairs, consider dishes like lasagna or braised beef that actually get better over time. Then, everyone can serve themselves at their leisure.
9. Go with a buffet
In many cases, your guests will prefer this type of meal over a more formal setting. This fact is especially true around the holidays when guests are more likely to drop in to your party for just a short while.
8. Rely on a single cocktail
It is easy enough to provide suitable drinks for the under-21 crowd as they can essentially serve themselves. Older folks looking for their favorite adult beverage can be more problematic as you not only have to procure – and pay for! – an enormous number of liquors and mixers but also pour the drinks on an as-needed basis. Instead, it is far easier to create a “drink of the night” that can be pre-mixed and stored in the refrigerator.
7. Provide an outdoor cooling tub
Set aside a large cooler or tub of salted ice water to quick-chill drinks. By leaving it outside, you will relieve some of the pressure inside the house and also provide a convenient way for the kids to serve themselves.
6. Obtain the right accessories
The serving aspect of hosting is as much science as it is art. Unfortunately, many hosts concentrate on the latter while ignoring the former. They will spend inordinate amounts of time on the decorations – that will be looked at once and forgotten – instead of focusing how they are going to efficiently serve food & drink to their guests. Simply having the right serving platters, punch bowl, and drink tray – from Julia Knight, of course! – will allow you to serve multiple guests at one time.
5. Be proactive
Simply put, the host will want to prepare as much of the food and drink as possible before any of the guests even arrive. This tactic will also help to identify any oversights in the party preparation and having to solve them at the last minute.
4. Stage your materials
As mentioned, do what you can ahead of time. Still, there will be many tasks that cannot be accomplished until the party is in full swing. It will save the host a lot of time and aggravation if the right serving utensils and the appropriate ingredients are placed where they are readily available. Not having to search for that special centerpiece bowl at the last minute is truly a stress reliever.
3. Let your grocery store do the work
These days, there is a remarkable number of high-end restaurants and grocers who produce some truly fantastic dishes that simply need to be brought home and unwrapped at the last minute. As a bonus, you can even take the credit for their creation! The "hostess with the mostess" knows that a low-effort catered meal can be disguised with the right luxury serveware.
2. Stay with the tried and true
Unless it is your turn to host the weekly meeting of the gourmand club, a party is not the time to experiment. Instead, double down on a recipe that you have truly mastered. Also, make it in what seems like an excessive quantity. This tactic serves a double purpose – you will not have to worry about preparing something else mid-party if you run out of a dish – a definite stress-reliever – and you can even present your guests with a doggie bag.
1. Ask for help
There is no shame in asking your spouse or one of the older children to pitch in a little bit. It will also help the shyer ones to mingle with some of the people that they do not already know.
To enhance your next gathering of family and become the hostess with the mostess, shop the Julia Knight Collection of luxury serveware, barware, and home décor online at JuliaKnightCollection.com or contact us directly via chat, phone, or email.