by Madison Skakle
We are in December and it’s officially the holiday season and that means holiday decorations, seasonal cookies and, of course…parties! It’s not a holiday season without tons of fun celebrations, cookie exchanges and cocktail parties. I’m sharing my top 10 tips on how to be the perfect party hostess no matter what type of party you are hosting!
- Make sure you prepare ahead of time. This is the most important tip I can give you. My mom is the ultimate hostess and has taught me to prep, prep, prep so that you have hardly anything to do when the actual party is taking place. For example, lay out all of your trays and serving dishes before the party starts, make dishes ahead of time so all you need to do is heat them up, prepare the drinks ahead of time, and get the tables set the day before.
- If you are comfortable, chances are your guests are comfortable, too. If you are walking around stressed about the drinks not being cold enough, people will start to notice that and feel uncomfortable. Take a breath and know that it’s a party and it’s meant to be fun. Things will go wrong and that’s okay. Also, make sure you sit down at some point during the party to mingle and enjoy yourself.
- Offer a signature cocktail. If you are serving alcohol, instead of spending tons of money and offering a full bar, offer beer and wine and then one signature cocktail for guests. People usually have one of the cocktails and then spend the rest of the night drinking beer or wine.
- It’s better to have too much than too little. My worst nightmare is running out of food or drinks. Make sure you have plenty of food by counting the number of guests you’re having and then adding a few, just to be safe. You never know who will bring another guest!
- Think about a dessert bar. One of my favorite things to do as a hostess is to have a full dessert station (yes, I have a massive sweet tooth). The holidays are all about indulgence and why not indulge in some sweet treats? To make it easier on yourself, ask two of your friends to bring a dessert and then have a couple there that you’ve prepared. People love to sample so make sure you have dessert plates big enough.
- This may seem obvious, but buy extra napkins. I’ve been to one-too-many parties where we’ve run out of napkins and I’m awkwardly in the kitchen grabbing a paper towel. Especially when I am using paper napkins, I always allow four napkins per person. Think about: one drink napkin, two for dinner and one for dessert.
- Dress comfortably. Wear something that you are confident in but that you can also move around in. The worst thing to do is to wear uncomfortable heels that have you limping around all night.
- Play a game. Even though we are adults, who doesn’t love games? I like to offer the option of playing a game. I usually choose a shorter trivia game where people can team up. Then the winning team receives a prize which can be as simple as a bottle of Prosecco or a festive kitchen towel for each person.
- Think about doing all heavy appetizers. I love to serve a bunch of appetizers instead of a main meal because, let’s be honest, who doesn’t love the appetizers more than the entrée? Make sure to choose more hearty options, too. For example: bacon wrapped scallops, caprese skewers, buffalo chicken sliders, crab cake sliders, cheese ball, charcuterie platter, and flank steak skewers.
- Offer to-go boxes for people as they leave. I order some cheap but cute brown boxes online and try and get people to take some food home with them. Trust me, guests will say yes to that! What’s better than going to an amazing party? Taking home leftovers to enjoy the next day!