After hosting a party, have you ever felt like you just finished running a marathon? There certainly wasn’t time to notice if the food was any good or if the cocktails were just right. You were too busy in the kitchen and behind the bar to enjoy your guests. We have all been there!
It’s time you started attending your own parties, not as a hostess, but as a participant! Here are seven party prepping tips to ensure you will be as much a part of the festivities as your enthusiastic guests.
- Tidy up beforehand. Give your party space a thorough cleaning and decluttering about 3 days in advance. This gives time to decide if your dusting and vacuuming will do the trick, or if the space would it benefit from a professional’s touch. One of the worst things you can do is leave cleaning until the last minute - imagine the stress of hauling things away a couple hours before your guests are due to arrive. It will leave you with little energy to actually enjoy the party!
- Prepare the bathroom. Forget running to the bathroom every couple of hours to replenish things like toilet paper, hand soap, and guest towels. Keep a fresh bottle of soap out, and make sure extra toilet paper and towels are visible.
- Perform a last-minute check. This is time to tuck away a stack of unread mail or straighten the coffee table. Whatever the nuance may be, it’s usually something you’ll catch when giving your party space a quick once-over. While you’re at it, crank up the music and light a few candles before guests arrive to help set the mood.
- Have guests play bartender. Don’t get stuck fixing drinks all night! A bar area is easy to prepare a day ahead. Set it up with easy-to-access essentials: glassware or cups, cocktail napkins, corkscrews, tongs, bottle openers. Make sure to set out the ingredients and a recipe for a simple signature drink. We suggest serving White Russians or Moscow Mules. Both include one key ingredient—talk about keeping it simple.
- Opt for easy appetizers. Easy-to-serve appetizers make any party a thousand times better. You’ll minimize time spent in the kitchen, and your guests will love having a variety of tasty finger foods to nosh on while they mix, mingle, and imbibe. Make-ahead options include: stuffed mushrooms, mini-fajita bites, a cheese platter, antipasti, bruschetta, and vegetables with hummus or dip.
- Serve a simple dinner menu. If it’s a sit down affair, you’ll want to plan your menu strategically. Skip the exotic, hoity-toity dishes that require unfamiliar ingredients and seemingly endless trips to the store. Instead, go for a couple delicious main courses (consider including at least one vegetarian option) that you can prepare or order ahead.
- Go with the flow. It’s a party—not a board meeting! If you run out of appetizers or forget the dessert topping, go with the flow and realize it’s not a big deal in the long run. Your friends are there to have fun and make memories. The food and drinks are lovely additions, but it’s the wonderful company that ultimately makes all the difference. Relax and enjoy!