Stress-Free Hosting, is it Possible? by Natalie Bardwell

Stress-Free Hosting, is it Possible? by Natalie Bardwell

Yes.  Yes it is.

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I host a lot of events.  Small family-style dinners, graduation dinners for 200 people and of course, weddings.  I have a repertoire of tips and tricks to plan, host and clean up after these events without the added stress, because we all know, it can get STRESSFUL!  Like, rip-your-hair-out stressful.  And then yell-at-everyone-around-you stressful.  And then everyone-thinkgs-your-crazy stressful.  So, how can we avoid all that?  Here are a few ideas that might help you avoid the dreaded S-word.

1. Plan as early as possible.  You may have a month, or you may only have an hour, either way, grab a piece of paper or your phone and jot down some notes.  That way, you will always be able to refer back to your plan as you prepare for your event.

2. Delegate.  One of my favorite words.  I am never ashamed to host a potluck; it takes some of the weight of planning off my shoulders and allows people the pleasure of contributing.  Look at that list you made, what food or activity could you delegate to a guest?  Or maybe the food is take-out; you’ve just delegated the biggest responsibility and now you can focus on other things. This would also be a great time to get a babysitter if you have young children who are not yet able to help out.

3. Cook what you know.  Sound advice from all the best.  Do not try an untested recipe at one of your lovely gatherings unless you enjoy the adrenaline rush of potential failure!  It’s best to stick with your renowned dishes, the tried-and-true that everyone raves about.  Don’t have one yet?  Practice at home until you do!

4. Clean your space. We have an open-concept kitchen which is smack dab in between the living and dinning rooms.  The pros of this is that everyone naturally congregates around the kitchen island to socialize, which in turn forces us to keep things as clean as possible throughout the day.  My biggest suggestions on this topic is to clean as you go as much as possible (especially your most prominent hosting spaces) and if possible, hire a maid…I mean…refer back to number 2.

5. Never apologize.  Unless you’ve spilled a drink on someone of course.  No one will ever know, nor will they say anything if you’ve made a mistake.  We are all-too-often perfectionists in the hosting arena.  Just make sure you’re guests have some snacks and drinks as they arrive in case the meal you’re cooking takes longer than expected (or you need to order take-out because you tried a new recipe).  Also, when you apologize, the focus is on you and your mistakes. It’s better just to change the subject and ask about your guests.

A more comprehensive list can also be found here, it has some really great tips too!

So go ahead, whip out your notepad and plan yourself a party!

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