As a new wife, homeowner and hostess, the past several months have brought about numerous learning occasions and has taught me quite a bit about hosting guests in our home, for various occasions. As someone who loves to host parties, dinners and cocktail hours, I dream about pretty table and flower arrangements-and let’s not forget delicious food. However, after a little trial, and error, I have found a few things that can help immensely being a better hostess and a few that can potentially hinder your abilities too!
Being the Hostess With The Mostest is hard work, but it’s also very rewarding and fun work too. Jay and I love to entertain and spend time with our family and friends. I truly feel like the biggest reason I am so impatient when it comes to furnishing our home. is because I want to have more guests in our home, more often. It’s a little difficult to do just the amount of furniture we have, but everything takes time. Everyday that passes we get strong and add small little pieces into our home. I am thankful for each and every moment.
A necessary, and quick, disclaimer before we jump into the common hostess mistakes. I not an expert in this area, by any means. I am just a girl who loves to cook, entertain and share my life with you here along the way. These common mistakes are ones that I have definitely made, which is how I know first hand that they are mistakes! If you see something on this list that you have done, don’t feel insulted or insecure. I am right there with you girl! These are all things I have done and realized immediately, that they’re major hostessing mistakes. Together we will get this right, laugh about what we did wrong and host the best parties our friends and families have seen! This is our time to laugh about what we’ve done, share stories and help each other out!
5 COMMON HOSTESS MISTAKES
1. Don’t Set an Uncomfortable Vibe for Your Guests
We all know that gracious hostess that floats around like a butterfly with a smile on her face, enjoying her party and guests, all the time. Can I say #goals?! The truth is, I aspire everyday to be that her. I think that entertaining that way, comes from knowing the do’s and don’ts of entertaining, being prepared and realizing just how much her comfort level and attitude affects the entire vibe of the party. I could go on and on about how stressed I have been, when my guests walked in, for one reason or another.Whether I was stressed because I was cleaning up last minute messes, I wasn’t dressed yet or because I was still preparing the food. Let’s just say that you do not want to be stressed or frantic, when your guests arrive. It automatically makes them feel uncomfortable and like they don’t belong.
The best thing you can do in this scenario is just to just take a second to calm down. Nothing has to be perfect, so stop trying to be so perfect. Instead, let your guests know that you are running a few minutes behind. Offer to make them a drink and let them begin to enjoy the party. Setting a bad vibe, just because you are running late, is not welcoming at all and it’s definitely not the way you are or the way your want to make your guests feel. Don’t sacrifice the whole feeling of your evening, just because you are running a few minutes behind. Get your guests a cocktail and I know they will be just as happy, to enjoy a few minutes and unwind themselves!
2. Don’t Make Your Menu Too Complicated
When planning a party, or dinner party, menu it’s important to keep a few things in mind, especially your menu. Think about things that are not too difficult to make and consider making some of your favorite dishes, that you know well. Things that are easy to make, things that you and prepare ahead of time, or maybe even the night before are great options. I have learned, from first hand experience, that dinner parties are not the time to debut a new fancy recipe that you found from your favorite cookbook. Even though they might seem simple, at first glance, chances are the pressure of a new recipe might be just enough to mess it up. So be safe and keep things simple. You don’t want your guests to feel uncomfortable, by serving something a little too fancy or something that they might not like. It’s better to be low key, which leads straight into my to my next point!
3. Don’t Make Things Too Fancy
I am the first one to run to pinterest and start planning a fancy party! I love pretty table settings and fancy cocktails (because who doesn’t love a good cocktail). I dream of everyone dressing up pretty for a party and me getting to wear my heels! Not all occassions are appropriate to dress your table, in such a way, that could potentially make your guests feel anxious or uncomfortable. Instead it’s best to have a simple table and serve an easy dish, filled with fresh and delectable ingredients! Pay attention to your table and the environment you create for your guests. Ambient lighting, soft music and a pretty, no fuss, table all play an important role in creating an unforgettable evening.
4. Don’t Forget The Table
My favorite part of hosting guests, and attending parties, is spending our time gathered around a pretty table, chatting and indulging in our favorite foods and cocktails. Gathering around a pretty table makes all the difference. Moments spent with family, and friends, sharing jokes and filling the room with laughter, are moments my heart desires.These are moments we cherish, reflect on and the memories we have after those moments have passed us by.
I could write an entire post on the do’s, and do not’s, of setting a conversation friendly table. To keep things short, I will just create a bulleted list and make note to write a full post on this topic in the near future!
Pay attention to flower arrangements.
- Take time to select some of your favorite flowers from your garden, local market or grocery store.
- Make sure your arrangements aren’t too tall, which can be quite distracting and restrictive to conversation
- Simple and elegant is always a great option. Go with your favorite flower that is in season!
- The more natural, the better. We love garden-like arrangements.
Simple settings are more comfortable and enjoyable.
- If you would like to use your proper dinnerware, I’d say go ahead. But in most cases, using Fine China isn’t necessary and can tend to make your guests feel a little on edge. Jay and I have this dinnerware that we use all the time. It’s comfortable and simple. No fuss, just good food!
- When it comes to flatware, less is more. There is no need to clutter up a pretty table with tons of silverware that no one really wants to figure out how to use properly. If you want, have a salad fork, dinner fork and knife. It’s important to include the necessary flatware for the meal you are serving, but there is no need to have extra laying around just to complete a setting. Save your dessert fork, or spoon, for after dinner. Self serve is always great too!
- Keep your theme organic and casual. As I mentioned with the flowers, keep things comfortable. I love a plain farm table that can be dressed with simple napkins, crisp dinnerware, floral arrangements with deep greenery, and warm candlesticks with textured wax dripping down the side.
- Less formal, more comfortable. Keep it fun!
5. Don’t Try Out a New Recipe
This might seem obvious, but for me it wasn’t! Lol. during the holidays, this past year, Jay and I hosted a last minute dinner for our families. I am so thankful for my mom and all of her wonderful cooking talents, because I decided to try out a few new recipes, one of which was pretty much a flop. Thankfully, it was just a sauce-but I was already running behind and was way too overwhelmed. When it comes to entertaining, try to stick with recipes you know well and have made many times before. Serve your best dishes that you have tweaked and tested over time. Not only will your prep and evening go much smoother, not to mention taste better, but it’s also a great conversation point to note!
I feel like I have beaten a dead horse with this post, by continuing to say “Keep things simple!” But that is truly one of the best pieces of advice I can give to you. I have learned the hard way, so many times, and have finally come to realize that the simple things are the more people will enjoy them. Don’t get me wrong, I love an event where I have the opportunity to dress up, drink champagne and indulge in delectable foods, but not everyone does. Not everyone appreciates the hard work and sometimes parties like that make them feel unsettled. It’s better to keep things fresh and organic!
I hope that you found this post fun and helpful!
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Photography by Tiffany Sigmon