I happen to love entertaining. I find there is nothing better then getting together with your closest friends, enjoying a home cooked meal, drinking wine and listening to great music – especially on a rainy Friday night. This was my night last night. Although a lot of preparation and time goes into hosting a dinner party, I’ve discovered some tricks of the trade to make it just a little bit easier – especially if you have to work the full day of your party.
1. Prep, prep, prep! Do as much as possible the week of your party. I marinated chicken, made some green beans, and even prepared a cheese plate the night before. Even better – If there is anything you can make the weekend before – go for it! I decided to experiment on Sunday and made my own apple pie. If you freeze it right away and defrost the morning before your party it still tastes like it was just made!
2. Try to prepare things in dishes you can serve in. I love everything made by Le Creuset because it has a very rustic feel. I use the Bernardaud Naxos collection as my every day dishes that I received as a wedding gift – it happens to be the perfect pattern for casual and more formal (although I would certainly not classy this little dinner party as formal) occasions. It’s a pretty classic pattern that could also fit in a more modern or more traditional home. I recently purchased a few bakeware pieces from the collection which are fantastic for roasting chicken or potatoes in. The best part is (for both the Le Creuset and Bernardaud bakeware pieces) you can transfer the dishes straight out of your oven and right onto the serving table
3. Little things make a big difference. Even though it sounds silly, splurge on some cocktail napkins (or even a napkin holder) to elevate the vibes. Dim the lights in the room, and light some candles – I love the scent of the Jo Malone London Pomegranate. If you are serving appetizers, (last night I did some mini meatballs in this Bernardaud dish and a cheese plate) put out some fun appetizer plates. The best news about appetizer plates is that they double as dessert plates! I find that it works well to stick to basic and classic patterns for dishes, and to go a little funkier on appetizer/ dessert plates. I used these dessert plates from Juliska.
4. Music is key. I may have stolen some music from my parents collection – not sure if I should be embarrassed by that 🙂 and created a playlist mixing everything from Gypsy Kings and Santana to Ellie Goulding. I am obsessed with my Sonos system which allows my to control all of my music from my phone and link it seamlessly with my Spotify account.
5. As cheesy as this sounds – don’t forget to have fun! If you’re a neat freak like me you are going to want to spend your night in the kitchen cleaning all of the dirty plates and picking up crumbs as people drop things. . . let it go, and have fun. When everyone leaves, keep the music going, pour yourself another glass of wine – and then clean all you want! And . . . if you’re not OCD like me, I am very jealous!