In the last few years I’ve grown to love hosting friends at my home. It’s becoming my favorite weekend activity – sometimes its just one or two people over for dinner, other times its a full-on cocktail party. Restaurants and bars are obviously fun in the city, but there is something special about hanging out in yoga pants, laughing and enjoying friends in the cozy comfort of your own home with a good bottle of wine. I aways try to keep my gatherings casual, yet well thought out. I’ve hosted so much this spring and it makes me happy to enjoy time in my home with friends and family. Most recently, I had friends over for a wine & cheese Saturday night party, and had family over for Easter brunch. I’ve learned a few things on entertaining along the way…
PEOPLE LOVE PLATTERS & BOARDS
These are incredibly easy to make. I always look at Pinterest for inspo, but usually end up grabbing what looks good at Trader Joe’s and quite literally throwing it all on a board and *artistically* making it look delectable. If only you could make a career out of food boards, sign me up!
When making a board, first choose what type of food you’d like on it, then make sure to have “fillings” on hand. For my chocolate board, I used all kinds of chocolate, truffles, and cookies. Luckily, I had enough to fill this one, but if not, something simple like small chocolate chips or confetti would have been fun to use. I’m not a fan of a sparse board as you can tell 😉 . When making a savory cheese board, I always use nuts, fruit, dried fruit, cute bowls, and herbs to the board and make it pretty. Make sure to invest in proper cheese knives, no one wants to use a butter knife! For the board itself, take into account the size of it. I like using a large, study wood board for my cheese, then a small board or plate for the crackers, chips, or veggies. For the chocolate board, I simply bought a fun sheet of thick wrapping paper at Paper Source, which is perfect for a grab and go board that doesn’t require knives. Easy clean-up with this option, too!
THE LITTLE THINGS
Always think of the small things before having people over. Some say don’t sweat the small stuff, but in this case, do! People will notice. Be prepared and have napkins, and different sized plates out. I always offer water and sparkling water for guests that don’t want alcohol. Make sure to have fresh ice and lemon/limes out by the drink area. Don’t forget to put out a few bottle and wine openers so that people can easily serve themselves. OH! And seems simple, but make sure to have plenty of toilet paper and paper towels on hand.
Make sure to have all the appetizers and drinks out before guests arrive, it makes people feel much more comfortable when you’re able to relax with them while they’re at your home. If you’re cooking dinner for a big group, make something that can easily go into the oven, and prep all the sides beforehand. My go-to for this type of party is a big pan of vegetarian lasagna for dinner, or a veggie frittata with oven-baked bacon for brunch. That way, you can pop these into the oven as soon as guest start arriving, and they’ll be finished in an hour with minimal babysitting.
YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE A TOP CHEF
It’s totally okay to outsource a few items you’ll be serving. I’m no french pastry chef, or a particularly good baker. For my Easter brunch, I made sure to pick up some local bread (Tartine is my absolute favorite) and a few yummy macaroons. I also grabbed a delicious berry jelly from the farmers market for brunch. This particular party was special, so I wanted to showoff some of my San Francisco favorites while hosting.
Create a warm and inviting ambiance in your home! Play great background music off of your speakers, light candles around the house and in the bathrooms, turn on the fire place if you have one, and buy fresh flowers to place throughout you home. Remember, its all about the little things. 🙂