As the weather gets warmer and life returns to normal, all I want to do is have friends over! Pat and I love living our life surrounded by the people we love and creating opportunities to do so. After 2020, I think we are all due for some good quality face-to-face time connecting over a meal. Hosting definitely takes a bit of effort, but we’ve found it to always be worth it for the relationships we build and memories we share.
Hosting a meal can be a little intimidating, but I’ve learned a few tricks that make it easier and more fun! My mom is the queen of seemingly effortless hosting and I’ve picked up a ton from her. The simpler and more second-nature it becomes to host small and large groups, the more we want to invite people over frequently. And as it turns out, it doesn’t take too much to create a memorable evening. Below are my six tips for making hosting simple, meaningful, and fun!
- Pick one superstar dish — When planning what we’ll eat, I try to choose only one recipe that requires a bit more effort and keep everything else simple. It’s even better when something can be made the day before. For example, if the main dish you’re excited about takes some time, pair it with a simple salad, bread, and dessert. (Below, I included the menu from the photo if you need a little inspo!)
- Accept help — If your guests offer to bring something, let them! If someone offers, I usually take them up on bringing beer/wine, an appetizer, or dessert.
- Set the mood — I think lighting and music make a huge impact on the vibe of an evening. Light a few candles on the table, string up some outdoor lights, and/or put fresh flowers or greenery from your yard on the table. It doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated to make things feel a little more special. And remember to turn on a happy playlist!
- Wear something you feel great in — While you consider everyone else’s experience, make sure you consider yours, too! Be sure to wear something you love and feel good in! It allows you to be present and enjoy the evening instead of tugging at an uncomfortable waistline or hem. My warm weather go-to hosting outfit is a flowy dress, hair in a bun, a little makeup, and bare feet.
- Greet guests drink in hand — And offer them one immediately, too! It sets the mood that you are already enjoying yourself and want them to feel at home. If you’re still finishing up cooking and they ask to help, give them a task and chat so you’re not in the kitchen alone while everyone is elsewhere catching up.
- One more that I believe in wholeheartedly– your house does not need to be perfectly clean!! Tidy up the areas where your guests will be, take 5 minutes to clean the bathroom, and forget about the rest! Not one person will notice or care if you didn’t wash the floors or dust (do people actually dust?).
Spring Dinner Menu
Last weekend I made these dishes and it was delicious!
Appetizer: A couple cheeses and meats with baguette
Main Course: Yogurt Marinaded Chicken and Artichoke Skewers with Herbed Dressing (I used store-bought tzatziki instead of making my own)
Side: Simple Couscous (with a little extra butter in it, obv)
Salad: Arugula with Parmesan (I just pour the dressing ingredients directly onto the greens without measuring and it always turns out great)
Dessert: My friend Lauren brought cookies and ice cream to do make-your-own ice cream sandwiches. Genius idea for a hot night and, of course, delicious.