Having a party, big or small, can be a daunting challenge at times. Rocky and I both entertain a lot. Here are a few of our tips and tricks when entertaining for a crowd.
First things first, you need to have an accurate head count, or at least close. There is nothing worse than preparing for 12 and 35 show up. You wont have enough (of anything!) and your guests are likely to feel as if they weren’t really invited or are a burden as they see you running around frantic looking for extra dip.
One thing I have done is invest in some good platters, plates and servingware. They may be an expense initially, but you will absolutely love having it 10 parties down the road. It will also save a lot of money in the long run. Having real plates and silverware for people to eat off of really brings the classy level waaaay up too!
Sometimes you don’t even have to pay much for these items. For instance these platters from IKEA. They are cheap, sturdy and with a cloudy white color, they go with everything. WIN!
Another thing to remember is to not be afraid to rearrange your home to accommodate your guests. That console table in the entry, its a great table for drinks when you pull it in the bar area. Your dining room table can easily be the food table when you take away the dining chairs. And those chairs, put them around in sets of two for casual chats. Trust me, people will move them around to their preferences if they are pulled away from the table.
Now on to the prep work.
2+ weeks before party:
Start deciding a theme if your party warrants one. If it does, start shopping for what you may need. I start any DIY projects in this time frame. Also try to get a food menu started.
1 week before party:
I like to do a deep clean of my home at this point. Scrub baseboard, kitchen cabinets, kids closets, etc. Most of these things will stay relatively clean until the party. (or in my case be less horrendous to clean the day of)
3 days before party:
Shop for anything you need, like paper napkins, cups or decor. This should give you plenty of time to shop around if one place doesn’t have quite the right thing.
2 days before party:
This is the day I like to launder anything I can, like pillow covers, cushions, towels, etc.
1 day before:
Go buy your food!
Rocky and I agree that when entertaining for a crowd, preparing any food that you can the day before is a MUST! So spend your day before making the dips and arranging any plates that you can. This will give you a chance to cook without the panic of having to clean it up fast. Take your time and relax.
This is when we clean! The bathrooms get a good scrub. Bedrooms get straightened up and beds made. if the party is heading outdoors clean this area too. You know, all the basic cleaning because you did that deep clean and organizing earlier this week!
Sometimes it is nice to make a schedule for this point. For instance, at her last party, Rocky made a 20 minute countdown list for the last hour before her guests were to arrive. This was to make sure she had drinks on ice and food set out at just the right time. It really helps stay on track and not forget something.
And right about now your guests should be arriving! You did it!
We hope these few tricks and tips help the next time you are entertaining for a crowd, or even just a few!