HOW TO: Throw a Stress-Free Party
April 25, 2011
Hey party people! This is Caroline, Windy City Novelties party expert, and today I’m here to give you a few tips on how to ease your anxiety before throwing a big get-together.
Do you find yourself turning into Party-zilla before throwing a big event? If you’re not sure, ask your kids. They’ll know, trust me. Don’t be embarrassed if they say yes, because in all honesty, attending parties is fabulous but hosting parties…not so much.
You worry about the guest list, the house is never clean enough, there’s never enough time to prepare the food, and the list goes on. But stop your worrying. I’m here to give you a few tips on how to have fun and stay stress-free at your own party!
Keep it Simple, Keep it Smart, Keep it Sweet…
Ok, so I stole that from Sandra Lee, but if you watch the Food Network as religiously as I do, you get what I mean: keep it semi-homemade. If you’re a great cook it’s understandable that you want to show off your skills, but chances are your friends already know that you have this talent. If you’re having acquaintances for dinner, dazzle them with the main dish, but leave the appetizers and sides to the grocery store.
Take shortcuts by garnishing store-bought dips with fresh herbs, or adorning bakery-made cakes with freshly cut fruit. This way you won’t have to worry about making the food in time or stress over whether or not the new recipe you’re trying out will work.
You’re not June Cleaver…and neither are your friends.
What I mean by this is that none of our houses are perfect or immaculately clean. You may be an organized person, but I guarantee you have shoes scattered around your house and at least one stain on your stovetop. The important thing to remember is that your friends’ houses look exactly the same.
So tidy up a little before your guests arrive, but don’t make yourself crazy. Have a messy room that you can’t bare to tackle just yet? Close the door. Parties rarely travel to every room of the house, and if the door is closed to one, no one is going to open it.
Preparation, Preparation, Preparation.
Be sure to prepare anything and everything you can before the day of the party. My mother used to go as far as setting the dining room table 3 days in advance! Getting simple tasks out of the way before the day of the party makes a world of difference. Most desserts can be made 3-4 days ahead of time and there are plenty of main dishes that can be frozen and thawed when ready for use.
If you’re making a dish that must be prepared the day of, you can at least prep the ingredients ahead of time. Chopping and portioning takes up a lot of time when cooking, so cut up veggies and herbs days in advance. You can even ration out the correct portions of salt, pepper, garlic, etc. This will make cooking the dish a breeze and ensures that you have all of the ingredients.
So take a deep breath, relax, and grab a glass of wine. It’s your party; you should have fun if you want to!