It’s not like me to use the words “great” and “hostess” together when talking about myself (usually I’m just flying by the seat of my pants), but this is my kick-off of a new monthly series for the year and I figured I’d start with myself (mainly to make sure I like the questions).
I’ve been inspired by many hostesses through the years. Some are great cooks, some own infinite supplies, and some know how to work a theme like no other. In this series we will learn a little bit about how they got started as a hostess & what their tips and tricks are to make their parties a success.
Tell us about your party-hosting style.
The parties I usually host revolve around food, are very casual, and have some kind of theme. I’ve found that the theme gives people who don’t know each other something to talk about if they’ve never met before, which isn’t unusual for one of my parties. Introducing my friends is one of my favorite things. Also, I try to keep the food relatively simple because the purpose of the party is usually to hang out with friends.
Where did your love of party planning begin?
Our holiday traditions always involve 20+ people. There’s no such thing as a small dinner of four on a nice quiet evening in. We go big or go home. My mom and her three sisters cook for days and then we all gather around a very long table (or two) and feast for hours. It’s a pretty great tradition that I’ve been awesomely blessed to be living for 27 years now. I think it’s this feeling of enjoying bringing everyone together that inspired me to get started hosting parties of my own.
What are your go-to appetizers?
What are your go-to entrees?
Usually I try to avoid serving entrees are parties because I’m not always overly confident in my cooking skills, but I’ve been getting better recently. For a small dinner party, these Orange-Ginger Salmon Packets with Broccoli and Sweet Potatoes worked great recently. And when I know I’m cooking for a large crowd, homemade manicotti is my choice default.
What are your go-to desserts?
Cupcakes (This recipe for chocolate, otherwise funfetti.)
Chocolate Chip Cookies (I will have to share this recipe with y’all.)
What are your go-to beverages?
What do you usually bring to a potluck?
I usually bring one of the desserts or appetizers listed above to a potluck.
Do you decorate for the festivities?
Sometimes if I’m feeling really inspired I’ll make a paper chain out of card stock and hang it all around the room. And recently I’ve started buying flowers which I’ve added in small quantities around the house to make things look prettier. It’s simple, and looks festive.
Tell us about the best party you ever hosted.
I would tell you that my 25th birthday party is currently the best party I’ve ever hosted. I rented out one of my favorite brunch places in the city after hours and we had a boozy late night brunch. There was a personalized letter for everyone when they walked in the door, one of my friend’s dad’s DJ-ed, and it was BYOB so I was able to purchase all the alcohol ahead of time and bring it in. Even my parents came down to Philadelphia for the event!
What’s your biggest hostess challenge?
My current biggest hostessing challenge is that my kitchen and family room aren’t on the same floor and they’re small. My favorite way to orchestrate a party is to talk to people while being productive in the kitchen, but if I’m being productive in the kitchen there’s (a) not enough room for people to hang out with me or (b) everybody else is on a different floor. It’s kind of a bummer, but I’m trying to learn to do more prep work so I get more time to enjoy with my guests.
What’s your best tip for someone who wants to be a great party hostess?
Give everybody all the details ahead of time. Tell them the who, where, why, when, what, but also make sure to include logistical things that will make it easier for them. Should they eat before they get there? Should they bring anything? Can they bring a plus one? Is there a theme? Is there a dress code? Where should they park? Are there any tricks to finding your street? The more details you can give someone ahead of time the more comfortable they will feel when they walk in the door.
Don’t forget to check out the party tips & tricks from some of my other favorite hostesses as well!
|Chrystina Noel||Chrystina’s Mom||Sweet Love & Ginger|
|Recipe for Success||
Brigette I Design
Parties for Pennies