Entertaining doesn’t have to be intimidating! Invite your favorite people over to celebrate with awesome food and drinks, and relish in the fact that you can spend time with your guests instead of setting up camp in the kitchen. Here’s my tips for EASY entertaining like a pro.
1. Start with a clean slate
You don’t need to scrub, just make sure the areas that matter are looking great. Just keep bedroom doors closed if you can’t get to them and focus on common areas:
- Change hand towels
- Remove all laundry/dirty towels/clutter
- Clean toilet with bleach (don’t forget behind the seat)
- Windex Mirror
- Wipe Floors with a damp rag
- Light a candle
- Clean/scour sink
- Remove clutter/appliances for the day-of to maximize counter space
- Throw out any old junk from the fridge (make room for leftovers!)
- Empty the dishwasher/drying rack so they’re ready for dirty dishes
- Put away any throws/blankets
- Straighten couch cushions/pillows
- Dust common surfaces and TV
2. Keep Decor Fresh
Literally – low cost, fresh produce will look great and not break the bank. Decorating doesn’t have to be complicated to look beautiful. I love a simple runner with fresh garland and candles, or mason jars with floating tea lights and cranberries. Bonus – no need to box it up and store it for next year! And don’t forget – keep centerpieces low and spacious so your guests are able to make eye contact during dinner.
I’m in love with this beautifully simple runner of greenery and tapers by Julie Blanner. With red, green and gold, what more do you need?
3. Simplify Your Menu
People arrive hungry, so picky foods are a must. Keep an eye out over the weeks leading up to your dinner for crackers, nuts and cookies on sale. That way if you run out, you’ll have some extra in the pantry.
As far as the main dinner is concerned, I like to stick to the following:
1 Meat + 2 Starches + 2 Vegetables
Add a hearty salad and fresh bread or rolls – and this will be plenty! Trust me, the less dishes you make, the easier the day will be. It’ll also cut down on waste!
Here’s some ideas:
- Turkey + Stuffing & Mashed Potatoes + Green beans & Carrots
- Ham + Baked Macaroni & Corn Casserole + Asparagus & Brussels Sprouts
- Prime Rib + Sweet Potatoes & Rice Pilaf + Peas & Mushrooms
And don’t forget to delegate. Have a game plan of what you’re thinking you’d like to make so if someone offers to bring something, you can give them a solid answer on what you need.
4. Choose an easy cocktail
Choose a light beer, a red and white wine, and one cocktail to avoid needing to stock an entire bar. Most picky people will bring their own beer/wine anyway – and catering to a full crowd can really get expensive! So, rather than buying a ton of liquor, choose a fun and festive cocktail instead!
5. Don’t Over-Do Desserts
It’s easy to go overboard on desserts. I usually stick to making ONE thing – and allow my guests to volunteer otherwise. For example, these no-bake pumpkin custard jars are perfect! They come together simply and you can make a day or two ahead.
Apple crisp with vanilla ice cream or a decadent cheesecake are also great. People always end up bringing cookies and candy – so there’s usually plenty of sweets around.
Don’t feel pressured to make something homemade either – save time by grabbing something from a bakery a day before you host. Even better, let someone else bring it for you!
Do you have a great tip to keep things simple when entertaining? Be sure to share below!