One of my favorite things is to entertain. Since moving last summer we have hosted some kind of event at least once a month and while we keep talking about slowing down it doesn't look like we'll stop anytime soon. Party hosting can be a lot of fun but it can also be exhausting, especially if you aren't prepared, so I've pulled together my "best practices" so you can learn from my mistakes and make your next gathering a little less stressful.
The first step of course is to determine what kind of gathering you'll be hosting - we've hosted everything from Thanksgiving dinner with all the fancy crystal and china to a casual come on over for burgers on the grill but I think my favorite event that we've hosted so far has been a baby shower for our sweet friends.
Once you know what kind of event you're hosting think about the guest list and how you'll invite everyone - for just a gathering of our friends we use facebook but if you want to be fancy you can use evite or paperless post - for the baby shower we sent of invites I ordered off Vistaprint, which is pretty much my favorite site for all sorts of stationary products.
After you have your theme or purpose and guest list it's time to think logistics and decorations. For the baby shower I set up the food and beverages in the dining room and had the guest seated in the living room for games and gift opening. I focused most of my décor in the dining room, which guests saw as soon as the entered our home but I also got some onesies off the registry to make a "banner" in the living room.
Planning the menu is the most important part in my opinion - although decorations are nice you'll have some hangry guests on your hands without some food and beverage. For an afternoon shower I kept the food light but wanted to make sure to have enough options so if there was a dish or two a guest might not like there will still be enough for them to make a meal. Because this was a baby shower I did not personally know all the guests so I stuck to a menu of items that I know to be general crowd pleasers and were also easy to prepare.
Chicken Salad and Pimento Cheese Sandwiches - both the pimento and chicken salad were premade and purchased from Sam's Club and I just had to spoon onto rolls.
Hummus and pita chips - also from Sam's Club
Strawberry Salad - Toss spring greens, feta cheese, sliced strawberries and raspberry vinaigrette - yum!
Veggie Tray - the platter just make it look super fancy
Apple slices with caramel dip
And baked brie
Since this shower was in the winter we had a hot chocolate bar and it was quite the hit. I made homemade milk chocolate and white chocolate in crockpots and we had some adult mixers for those who aren't pregnant and a variety of toppings - whipped cream, sprinkles, peppermint sticks, cookie sticks, marshmallows and chocolate truffles. It was so delicious that I'm not even kidding we forgot to eat the cake - opps!