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Custom timelines, reminders, and checklists

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Tips and tricks from our pros

Hosting Hacks Straight From Our Founder

Casual Hosting
Etiquette
Seasonal

My top tips for hosting your gathering

Throw the party, it will be fun

By Virginia Frischkorn

What many people overlook when they plan a party is the actual prep process. Rather than reinventing the wheel every time you go to host—or, if you don't host often and are feeling some nerves about it—use systems. I'll repeat that: Use. Systems. I am a firm believer in working smarter, not harder (that's not original, because I choose to not work harder ;) Thanksgiving dinner is coming right up. Christmas parties and Hanukkah gatherings are no longer around the corner; I can actually hear their jingle bells swiftly approaching. As holiday season parties fill my Google calendar, I go back to these time-tested hacks every time I host. In the spirit of gratitude and giving, here they are.

Use these to go plan the party you've been wanting to. These tips will get you hosting like a mother. Yep, my two little ones will vouch for my ease of hosting abilities. Just ask Elizabeth about her unicorn birthday party.

During planning…

  • Select the menu for food and beverage two plus weeks out from your event, and ensure you ask guests for any dietary restrictions. 
  • Shop early! There's nothing like going to the store the week of and not being able to find a key ingredient, and then having to replan your meal (very last minute).
  • Try a mix of go-to and new recipes. If you have the time, test out new recipes in advance. For menu inspiration, no matter the party you throw, we always suggest food and drink recipes that are on-theme. 

While you’re prepping…

  • A week or so out, I lay out all my decor to set the scene for styling plans and ensure I have everything I need. This gives enough time to buy anything that may be missing, and prevent not having that last item be hard to find. 
  • To avoid an overly obvious seasonal table—but still set one that's festive—I like to focus on sparkle and metals mixed with greenery. Beauty of this is you can also re-use for other holidays!
  • When we’re creating our parties, I always suggest items that I’ve used again and again when hosting. Whether it be affordable linen napkins for Friendsgiving or unbreakable champs flutes for Fa La La La Festivities, these are tried and true items that have served me well.
  • I always set up as much as possible ahead of time: tablecloths, place settings, serving dishes I plan to use with sticky notes, seating arrangements… you name it.

Right before the party…

  • On event day, I empty the kitchen trash first thing in the morning, then set a reminder to do it again, and bathrooms too, right before guests arrive. Prep will fill them quickly, and it’s easy to forget in the rush.
  • 30 minutes or so before things kick off, take chilled beverages out of the fridge, put any champagne or beer on ice in tubs, and let your wine breathe. I don’t know about you, but isn’t it the worst feeling when you realize the champagne has exploded? 
  • I like to light a candle in the bathroom right before guests arrive, and always like to have a few on hand as backup. Travel candles work great here.

During the festivities…

  • In the fall and winter, I love filling a slow cooker with apple cider, and offering guests the option to add dark rum or bourbon, and cinnamon per their liking—just make sure that any communal beverages are distributed safely and separately.
  • If any conversations get awkward, break the ice by having a few good questions or topics prepped in advance. I tend to avoid things like politics and religion, and fall back on standbys about upcoming travel, what great books they’ve read, or good movies they’ve seen.

Just like that, your party is an event for your guests to remember. In my experience, I find that having my processes, my systems, my 'rinse & repeat' go-to solutions—call them what you like—are what make my planning a success, time and again. So here are my tips, my holiday gift to you, in advance.🎁

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