I get asked a lot about tips for easy, quick entertaining, so today I am here to share with you what I think makes for a successful last-minute event. Let's be honest, very few of us have the time in our schedules to throw big huge parties every month, once a quarter...of heck, even every year. I know that sometimes I just want to get together with my girlfriends or with some of Steve and my close couple friends and I don't want to make a huge production out of it. I want it to be informal, calm, and relaxed-both for me and my guests. So how do I do this?
Well first I obviously start with lounging causally by myself while drinking a glass of champagne. Ha, ha, just kidding. In fact, what I really did to get the pool house ready for my small birthday get together I threw for some close girlfriends was to have Steve help me lug these chair down from the back patio to the pool. We got these chairs in the beginning of summer and I am TOTALLY obsessed. They are the club chair and ottoman from Summer Classic's Rustic Collection. I had them covered in the same fabric that I have all of my accent pillows done in- Cordial Classics. These chairs are the perfect lounging chairs. They are so deep and the cushions are so comfortable...and they actually stay in place when you are sitting in them. It is my pet peeve to have cushions that slide forward as you sit. Before it got so hot here in Nashville, I spent a lot of mornings sitting in them while I worked outside. I have a feeling I will be parking it in these all fall and spring.
Back to the subject at hand, when I am putting a simple evening together I really do try to keep it casual, but pulled together. I think a couple of very small, simple details go a long way in making an event feel special and well-thought out without taking a ton of time. My first word of advice is get some cute plates and napkins. If you can only do one detail, this is the one that I always to. Pick a color or two and get coordinating plates and decorative napkins. I also like to grab a couple of bunches of grocery store flowers and put them in simple glass vases. I like to stick to one type of bloom that has a big impact. My go-to is typically hydrangeas because it only takes a grouping of a few stems to make an expensive looking bouquet.
Here is a little known fact about me. I would choose to eat appetizers as my main meal over a full entree any day of the week. Because of that I love serving these types of dishes when I do impromptu get togethers at my house. I typically only make 2-4 dishes max and I usually pick a little theme to help guide me in my food selection. I could go with Mexican and do chips and salsa, guacamole, and a simple dip. If I am in the mood for a little taste of France, I LOVE LOVE LOVE to do a cheese board as my main item to serve. Cheese boards are one of my number one favorite items to eatand I must say I have gotten pretty good at them over the years. In fact, I got asked so many questions after seeing my cheese board last week that I am going to do a whole post later this month on constructing a cheese board.
See, just look at how lovingly I am gazing at that cheese board. I told you that I loved them!
That actually leads me to another tip. Have a signature dish. As I said, for me it is a cheese board. My friends all know that when they are coming over for drinks and appetizers they are most likely going to find a cheese board waiting there for them. For you it might be a homemade spinach dip. Just find that one recipe that you know you are really good at and that your guests always request and stick with that bad boy as one of your base recipes when you are setting your menu.
My next tip is to splurge on a statement piece. For this event it was this gorgeous cake from Copper Whisk. I rarely have the time, desire or ability to bake a really spectacular desert so I am always game for outsourcing that job to someone who does and let me tell you Lizzie certainly knows how to do it. That is another one of my very important tips. Don't be afraid to outsource, whether that is to a bakery or the grocery store. I promise nobody cares. My absolute favorite guacamole in the world is not made in my kitchen, but rather found in the hallowed halls of Whole Foods. There is no shame in the store bought game. So quit stressing out and serve your guest the hummus you got in the refrigerated section. Scoop it into a pretty bowl, put out some pita chips and call it a day.
REMEMBER THE REASON
It hurts my heart to think that women are not opening up their homes because they are so stressed about it being perfect and Pinterest worthy that they just don't have people over. Here is my most important tip to you. Remember why your friends are there. They have come to see you, spend time with each other and most importantly have fun. Very rarely do people remember what you served them or whether you had flowers or not or even if you had matching plates or just used paper towels. What they remember is the time they all spent together, the stories told, and the memories made. Don't get so caught up in the details that the planning takes all the fun out of the event...or worse yet causes you to never have the event in the first place. No one wants a hassled, stressed hostess. So relax, pop that bottle of rose, and spend time with your guests. That is the whole reason you had them over in the first place. Cheers!
Thank you to Summer Classics for sponsoring this post. As always, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Living with Landyn possible.