People always ask me how I do what I do and how I make it look so easy…and I’m not even talking about cooking. I’m talking about party planning. So, I decided to share my knowledge and expertise with you by blogging my thoughts in the matter. I break it down in 3 major steps: plan, rehearse and execute.
Inviting guests to your home is always fun, until they are about to ring the doorbell, suddenly panic strikes and I’ll show you what “panic” looks like: you think about not ordering the street parking passes for the guests; hubby forgot to open and air that “special” wine and the obvious…you burned the food! I’ve seen people crying for forgetting to buy cocktail napkins, yikes!
Entertaining is fun… and stressful. By having a good plan of action you’ll tilt the balance on the fun side. If you’re an organized person you’re ahead of the game. So how do you plan? By asking yourself tons of questions: how many guests? Who? Menu? Do I need help or not? Inside or al fresco? Alcohol…what kind? Entertaining is made of a lot of different aspects and details that will all converge at the same time in a matter of few hours. So, here is how to truly plan an event: first, pen and paper…or iPad: taking notes is a must! Break down each aspect of your event like food, drinks, guests, music, feel, mood, décor, etc. Then, start to go in details about all the different categories and see how each item will affect the other and remember, it all relates to time. All this is done by visualizing how you want your event to feel like, look like, even smell like!
Once making the decision to entertain guests, you want to think about it as much as possible. Make yourself the guest and picture yourself driving to your party and think about what that should look like, step by step, from the time you get out of the car until you get back in it. Keep taking notes!!!
One more thing: it is never “perfect”! Millions of things can go wrong and some probably will. Hosting is like life, you just try to minimize the negatives, because we all know: S%#t happens! It’s how you react to it that matters. Example: you go in the kitchen and realize your main course got burned to a crisp….sheer horror! Here’s what you do: pour the next round of drinks, adjust the music to good upbeat and fearlessly announce; “the roast is toast” and fresh pizza is on its way; let your guests take the lead to the humorous side of it, don’t put them in the awkward position of needing to come to your rescue! All this, without giving an inch to the angst eating at your gut. Another big rule of entertaining: panic is like a disease, it spreads. Don’t let it, guests will take your cue and if they detect composure they’ll know you’ve got your act together and have a good time with you.
Even when you bring in a Chef there is so much that can fall through the cracks.
Coming soon: how to select the right Chef for your party, because not all Chefs are created equal!