#1: KEEP IT SIMPLE
Your worthy guests don't really care about what is being served or how it's being served! Ditch the stressful menu's and trying to over plan the party! Do whatever is easiest. I find that a great "grazing board" loaded with cheese, crackers, fruit, nuts, dips, bread and chips is a great way to host a larger group. I love placing little bowls of olive oil with a heavy sprinkle of different SALTOPIA Infused Sea Salts in each - then sliced artisan bread is a huge hit. It's easy, inexpensive and your guests will love it. If all else fails, order pizza. It's all about the time you spend together and not how you actually host that time.
I've always been taught that I should never knock on the door of my host, with my fist. I should always be carrying something to share with my host and therefore, knocking on the door with my foot, instead. I don't think I've ever invited someone to my home, and they showed up empty handed (otherwise, I probably wouldn't invite them a second time for certain). It's common courtesy to bring something to share such as a bottle of wine or a box of chocolates. I hosted a fairly large wine tasting a few years back and asked each guest to bring 2 blocks of their favorite cheeses to share. It was perfect! I layered the table with fresh fruit and crackers. As my guests arrived, I simply opened their cheese selections and placed them onto the table amongst the fruit and crackers. We had some of the most amazing cheeses that night, paired with incredible wines! Purchasing 18-20 blocks of different quality cheese is costly! Asking your guests to buy 2 blocks is NOT a major investment on their part. So don't be afraid to ask for your guests to contribute something to the evening. You'd be amazed at how much your guests appreciate it as well. Everyone would like to help and share in the evening. Your request will make their lives that much easier!
I hate cleaning up and doing the dishes at the end of the night! Whenever I can avoid washing dishes, I try to! If you noticed in the above images, I simply toss fresh foods directly onto the table or a large platter. This avoids dishware and silverware altogether. I typically line the table with a tablecloth and then add parchment paper to prevent the foods from sticking or staining the fabric tablecloth. It's easy and saves me a ton of work!
#4: THEMES HELP
In order to keep your efforts to a minimum and set expectations for your guests, themes are wonderfully helpful! For example, if you planned a backyard movie night, then your guests can expect popcorn. You can set up a popcorn bar. I love putting out SALTOPIA's POPPING WITH FLAVOR set with fresh popcorn! It's easy and fun for all. My husband hangs a big sheet up with some clothes pins to project the movie. We ask everyone to bring a blanket to snuggle with and drinks to share. I've hosted TAIL GATING parties and served chicken wings as well as nacho platters. I've also hosted TEA PARTIES and served finger sandwiches with mimosas. Having a theme really helps reduce the stress and keeps things simple overall.
The best part of themed hosting is being able to tackle common hosting problems such as seating! If you're struggling to find space or tables or chairs - then turn your problem into the theme! An outdoor picnic is a great way to avoid the furniture problem. You can even create a themed picnic such as "Moroccan Inspired" and serve all sorts of fun dips, spreads and appetizers! Check out ROCK MY WORLD infused sea salts for great flavor profiles!
Share your ideas, problems or questions below. I'd love to hear what you're thinking about. OR what your hosting horrors are! Perhaps I can help?