Tips to be a Great Party Hostess featuring Jessica from Sweet Love & Ginger

Party Hosting Tips from Jessica at Sweet Love & Ginger including how she got started, recipes, tips, and tricks.

In month’s featured hostess for Great Party Tips series I’m featuring a blogger that I connected with right away, Jessica from Sweet Love and Ginger. She’s a Civil Engineer with a love of party hosting. We were pretty much destined to be friends from the beginning. She lives in upstate New York so has a little bit more space than I do to work with (which I’m super jealous of) and is notorious for hosting chill, let’s hang out, enjoy each other’s company, and eat delicious food parties. This sounds right up my alley and like I might need to make a trip up. (Yup, that’s called inviting yourself. A very polite thing to do)

Tell us about your party-hosting style.

I don’t know that I really have a style as far as parties go. I love a good dinner party, but spur of the moment get-togethers and game nights seem to happen around our house a lot.

Where did your love of party planning begin?

In the womb I think? Growing up there were always people at our house. Both of my moms are  amazing cooks and everyone was always welcome at the dinner table. That’s the kind of open door policy I like to have at my house as well.

What are your go-to appetizers?

Bruschetta, chips and salsa (mom’s homemade canned), or my step-mom’s homemade pepper jelly (she cans it from peppers from her garden) over cream cheese with crackers. Yes, I totally owe my moms some props.

What are your go-to entrees?

Chicken Parmesan, Roast Chicken, or Venison Chili – I love to experiment in the kitchen, but I find that people really appreciate the classics. Besides I’m totally comfortable with them, so it makes putting together a meal for 10 or more a breeze.

What are your go-to desserts?

Ice cream. I’m not really that into desert so I’ll pull out the stuff for make your own sundaes, though a lot of our guests are just as happy with a desert wine, whiskey or a glass of our friends homemade cider instead of an edible desert.

What are your go-to beverages?

Wine, tea, and whiskey. My husband likes a nice whiskey or bourbon after dinner, while I grew up in a house hold where tea was offered every time someone entered a house or finished a meal. I don’t think wine really needs any further explanation.

What do you usually bring to a potluck?

My Smoked Cheddar Mac & Cheese seems to be a pretty big crowd pleaser, but I also get a lot of requests for my step-mom’s Jalapeño Poppers. It’s kind of a secret recipe. The funny thing is that I don’t really love spicy food, so I’ve never even had one; I just make them a few times a year for everyone else.

Do you decorate for the festivities?

I have to admit, I really hate decorating. It’s just not my thing. A friend and I do a combined cookie tasting party every year around Christmas time and this year we were doing it at my house. She offered to come early to decorate knowing that I typically don’t even put up a Christmas tree let alone other decorations. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a scrooge or anything, I just can’t get into seasonal/ holiday/ temporary decor. I’d much rather spend that time in the kitchen.

Tell us about the best party you ever hosted.

Oh man, I don’t think that I can pick just one. Any time there are happy people around, food and music I just go into a happy place. Every party is the best party to me.

What’s your biggest hostess challenge?

I would have to say timing. I have been known to put a hot appetizer out just as the main course is ready or completely finish the main course and realize I never put the brownies in the oven. I like to think I’ll get better with this as years go by, but even if I don’t it doesn’t really effect things too much so I don’t let it bother me.

What’s your best tip for someone who wants to be a great party hostess?

Just start. Don’t think too much. Just invite people over and keep it simple, or invite your closest friend and try something crazy. The only way to overcome the fear and figure out what works is to start doing it.

Don’t forget to check out Jessica’s Blog, Sweet Love and Ginger, for more delicious recipes!

Stay tuned next month for the next hostess of the month!

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