Can someone please tell me how on earth it’s already the last week of October? Is it just me or has this year flown by?! We’ll be packing our bags for Thanksgiving and Christmas before we know it!
Even though the year seems to be flying by at record pace, I’m okay that it’s almost November. Why? Because I love the holidays! Yes, fall is my favorite season, but the holidays are one of my favorite times of the year. There’s nothing better than being surrounded with friends and family and sitting around the table for a meal! Even though our space is small, I’m planning on hosting a few little dinner parties before the year is over.
It’s been a while since I’ve hosted, but I have a pretty simple system or list of rules that I stick to every time I host to make sure that it’s not only fun for my guests, but enjoyable for me too, because there’s nothing worse than a stressed out host who can’t even enjoy her own party!
1. Get a Final Count
There’s nothing more frustrating than not knowing how many people will actually show up. How much food do you buy? How many places do you set at the table. Ask guests to reply at least three days before your party so you have ample time to buy groceries, wine, etc.
2. Set the Table Early
This one really doesn’t take that long, but doing it the day or night before your party will take some stress off of you on the day of. These gorgeous plates and bowls from Z Gallerie arrived a few weeks ago and they’re the perfect way to add some sparkle, okay a lot of sparkle, to a holiday-themed table. I added a few little mercury glass votive candle holders and these amazing napkin rings! Finish with napkins, silverware and wine glasses.
These plates would also be absolutely gorgeous for your Thanksgiving tablescape. Just add some wide glass vases filled with gourds or white pumpkins and chunky pillar candles. As for Christmas, pair these stunning plates with a simple fresh garland running down the middle of the table. Add some painted white pinecones or holly for color and put a few tapered candles down the table for a super elegant and simple look.Okay, now I really wish that we were hosting Thanksgiving and Christmas this year because I’m obsessed with these two ideas, ha!
Lastly, have a separate plate ready for dessert! I’m using these cute Safari plates that go perfectly with my gold theme, but are extra special, because isn’t dessert?
3. Make Something Easy
I learned the hard way that having a meal that requires lots of attention is not the right way to host a dinner party. You can’t enjoy it if you’re worried about burning your risotto! I always pick dishes that can be prepped ahead and just needed to be heated or baked. A few of my favorites are a make your own taco bar, enchiladas, lasagna, or a hearty soup.
I find that whenever I have guests over, they always ask, ‘What can I bring?’. Instead of telling them nothing, give them a simple task like pick up a loaf of French bread or bring a bottle of red. It will take some of the work off your plate and make your guests feel at ease knowing they contributed a bit!
5. Make a Great Playlist
Great music totally sets the tone and mood of the party, so select accordingly! One extra tip, don’t play it too loud. It should a nice backdrop, but not so loud that your guests can’t hear each other when they’re talking with normal voices. One of our favorite Pandora stations is Nora Jones—a perfectly moody and jazzy station.
6. Buy Dessert
As much as I love to cook, I’m admittedly not much of a baker. And by that part of the party, the last thing I want to do is get pulled away into the kitchen to go fix dessert. Have something easy and already made ready to serve! Cookies or mini cupcakes are always a go-to!
7. Make Clean Up Easy
This one may sound silly, but make sure your dishwasher is empty before the party starts! Don’t worry about cleaning up as you go, just stick all the dishes in the dishwasher and hit clean before you go to bed. You’ll be thankful when you wake up to a clean kitchen and clean dishes!
Thanks to Z Gallerie for generously providing product!