Some people love it, And most of us would love entertaining too if we didn’t have to put so much effort and time into it! There have been times (when I was not as smart and a whole lot younger) that I would work so hard preparing, cleaning, shopping, tablescaping, cooking and getting ready to impress my guests that by the time they came I wanted to say, “So nice you came. I am exhausted and going to bed. Have a nice time and lock up after yourself”! But I have learned how to entertain in a much easier, fun way and the freedom of not having to make everything perfect. I really ENJOY myself and my company now. Here are 10 helpful and useful tips to help you love entertaining too!
The pictures are from a recent easy dinner party at StoneGable.
1. LET GO OF PERFECTION
If you only do this, you will enjoy company much, much more. So what, if your powder room is a work in progress (as mine is right now). The toilet works and that’s what counts. Perfection will always stunt creativity and make you hesitant to have people over! Life is messy! Live a big, messy life and invite others to join in! Most people are just so thrilled to be invited to dinner they don’t care about anything else!!! And if they do ditch those friends and get new happy friends!
2. MAKE IT AHEAD
Sometimes I like to serve a grand meal. But lately, I’m just not into that! A little smart planning will let you enjoy your guests and have a good meal. Whatever you make… make it easy and make it ahead! I just had a dinner party last night and served SLOW COOKER BEEF SHORT RIBS, mashed potatoes and ROASTED ORGANIC CARROTS. I made the short ribs 2 days before (they taste better made before), the mashed potatoes and carrots in the morning and warmed everything during hors d’oeuvres. It all got raves… and I was not slaving over a stove! I also served a salad of spring greens with dried blueberries and almonds with clementines in a poppyseed dressing. I got all the salad ingredients together mise en place style a couple of hours before company came!
There are so so many fabulous easy, make ahead dishes! Use those when entertaining. My sister-in-law Sue is EXCELLENT at this! She has a binder of all the dishes she makes when entertaining (and she entertains a lot!!!!). It holds recipes and notes about how each dish was prepared and how easy it was, and who she served it too. She has wonderful ready planned dinner parties at her fingertips!
3. MAKE IT EASY
If it is not easy-peasy to make, don’t make it for company. Just because a dish is easy does not mean it’s not company worthy. Remember you are to be a hostess not a chef!!! Choose recipes that are fabulous but easy to make!
4. BUY APPETIZERS AND DESSERT
My go-to appetizer is a cheese board! No cooking and it takes very little time to put together. Appetizers are just that little bites that tease your appetite and get it ready for the meal!
Unless you LOVE LOVE LOVE making desserts, buy them!!! No need to say more!
5. DON’T IRON A TABLECLOTH
I hate (can I say that) to iron tablecloths! So unless I get inspired I now use a table runner. I’m into them lately. And guess what? They are so easy to iron!!! I also have a great collection of placemats that bring color or texture to my table!
6. USE CLOTH NAPKINS… NO FANCY FOLDS
Even though I’m all about making entertaining so easy, I think cloth napkins have a place at a dining table. Some napkins don’t even need to ironed! Slip a napkin simply folded on the dinner plate!
7. USE EVERYDAY DISHES
I must admit, I love dishes!!! I have lots of them. And I love my everyday white dishes too, so I use them even when entertaining! For me, my everyday dishes are a lot easier to get out, they all go in the dishwasher and they are easy to put away!
8. BUY A COUPLE OF BUNCHES OF GROCERY STORE FLOWERS
I have a “default” centerpiece setting… three square glass cubes filled with flowers and lots of candles. I buy two bunches of grocery store flowers and mix and match them between the three glass cubes. So pretty and sooooo easy! I can put this centerpiece to together in a blink of an eye! Finding a centerpiece that is easy to put together makes entertaining so much easier!
9. USE CANDLES
Candles are like magic! They make everything look prettier! Light candles all over the house. Dim the lights and don’t forget great candles on the table too!
10. HAVE EVERYONE PITCH IN
If a guest asks to help, and they will, let them!!! I love to chat with a friend who is helping serve guests or bringing in plates after a course. “Many hands make light work”. And let’s you enjoy yourself more!!! If a guest has been a big help I like to give them the flowers in one of the glass cubes to take home.
Now look at your calendar and invite a few friend over for an evening of great, easy food and fun!!! YOU CAN DO THIS!
Remember to pint this to your TABLESCAPE or ENTERTAINING Pinterest boards. You can follow me on Pinterest and see all the entertaining pins I am pinning HERE.