Hosting an Event
So, a major event or holiday is quickly approaching and it's your turn to host, but you have no idea where to start. Don't worry, we've got you covered! Hosting a lunch, dinner or guests at your home can be a daunting task, but it doesn't have to be. With a little bit of planning and organization, you will be all set to go in no time. Follow these tips and tricks to make hosting a breeze.
Step 1: Decide who you are inviting and set a firm date for the event
Deciding on a guest list is the first step of hosting any event. Are you inviting just family? Just friends? A combination of both? and How many people are you inviting? If you're not used to cooking for a large amount of people, you may want to start off a little smaller until you become more comfortable hosting for larger crowds. If you plan on catering dinner, then you can definitely afford to invite more people. The more the merrier is truly an accurate statement.
If you are hosting for a specific holiday, for example, Christmas or Easter, picking a date will be quite easy. These holidays take place on certain dates, so there isn't much to do here. You decide which day during the specific holiday and give your guests the chosen date and time. **TIP: If you are choosing a major holiday to host, invite your guests early! Holidays are always super busy times for social gatherings and you don't want to wait too long and most people already have plans. If you give your guests far in advance notice, they can schedule their plans around your event.**
If you are hosting during another time of year that isn't centred around a holiday, pick whatever day works best for you and give your guests plenty of notice. Even though it's not busy holiday season, your guests may still have many events happening, so you want to make sure they're free to attend your event.
Step 2: Get creative with your Menu
Onto the second most important part of hosting, deciding on a menu! Now that you have your guest list narrowed down and you know how many people are attending, you can start planning the food aspects of the event. I personally like to have more food than I need because I would hate to run out and have my guests still feeling hungry. I plan some finger foods/appetizers for when my guests arrive and waiting for the main lunch/dinner, my main dish with plenty of sides to compliment the main dish and definitely dessert!
**TIP: When creating your menu, think of your guests and consider any food allergies and/or preferences. If you have vegetarians attending, you want to make sure you have dishes to cater to their needs as well. You also want to be super careful about allergies. Many people have food allergies and you want to be aware of these and try to accommodate as best as you can. You want all of your guests to be able to eat freely without worry about whether or not they can actually eat anything.**
Step 3: Prepare in Advance
Now that you know how many people are coming and have decided on your menu, start preparing in advance.
Make a to-do list of all the items you will need for the event, the tasks you need to complete before hand and the day of and enlist help where needed.
Decide whether or not you're going with a specific theme and what decorations you can make or purchase ahead of time.
Make a grocery list of all the things needed to complete your menu and buy the non-perishable items ahead of time.
Decide on the beverages you will be having and purchase those ahead of time as well. If you are having alcoholic beverages, make sure to have some taxi numbers, Uber, Lyft etc. numbers and apps available, just in case someone is not okay to drive home.
Make a playlist for any music that you would like to play on your event.
Don't forget small items like, napkins, plates, cups, tooth picks, serving trays, cutlery, serving spoons and forks etc.
**TIP: If you are trying to host on a budget, preparing ahead of time allows you to look for items on sale and for you to create your own decor, if you start in advance.**
Step 4: Get your home ready for the event and decorate ahead of time
A few days before or even the night before your event, it's a good idea to clean your home and prepare for your guests. You know your guests are going to be using several areas in your home and you want them to come into a clean environment and feel comfortable about eating and socialize there. You also want to make sure that your restroom is cleaned and stocked with the basic necessities to last throughout the event. The last thing you want to do is have your guests feeling like they can't use your washroom or have to be doing toilet paper runs in the middle of your event.
If you decided on decorating, getting a head start the night before your event will help out tremendously. You won't have to worry about stressing yourself out to do it the day of if you take your time and do it earlier. I would even convince some friends or family to come over and help you do it. Make a night of it! If you don't have specific decor, sometimes just lighting a few candles, having fresh flowers and burning a few oils can set the perfect ambience as well.
Step 5: Prepare the food and setup for your guests
The day of your event is finally here and you're starting to stress out. Don't! Take it one step at a time. Start early and begin preparing the appetizer and main dishes that will take a little longer to cook. If there are items that need to be picked up, enlist help from family and friends to pick those items up, so you don't have to leave in the middle of your prep. About an hour before your guests arrive, start putting your serving trays out, cutlery, plates, cups and set up your beverages. Then, start putting out your appetizers and any other dishes you would like your guests to have access to once they arrive. People tend to come to events hungry, so you want them to have something to munch on without having to depend on you first. Once you have all of your food setup, get yourself ready, have a beverage or two and wait for your guests to arrive.
Finally, the event is upon us. Enjoy yourself, be social and have fun! Everything will go well and don't take yourself too seriously. If things don't go exactly as planned, who cares! Keep going and as long as you and your guests are enjoying themselves, your night is a success!
**TIP: Even if it is tempting, do not start cleaning while your guests are still there. You can put the occasional beverage cup etc. in the garbage, but don't start the full cleanup while your guests are present. This will send a signal that you are ready for your guests to leave and you may cut your event short. Leave the cleaning up until the end when most of your guests have left for the evening. You may even have some people stay longer to help with the cleanup at the end. Score! Focus on the fun and forget the rest...until later!**
Don't be scared off by hosting. Start early, do some planning and take it one step at a time. Your event will be wonderful!