How To Host A Party And Still Have Fun

How would you like some professional hosting tips for your next social gathering? I’ve organized and hosted a bucket load of social events in my time, ranging from big community functions to small backyard barbecues. The planning guidelines are basically the same, so if you use the tips I’m about to share with you, regardless of the event, you’ll be able to enjoy yourself instead of being a slave to the festivities.

Now the first thing you need to organise is a plan. Jump on your computer, get a spreadsheet happening and brainstorm. There are some templates available online or make up your own. Do you want decorations, music or a bar area? What about the food? Jot down everything you want at your party, right down to the smallest detail like bins, serviettes and ice. Make sure you have extra columns to mark off when items are ordered, organised and completed. Print this out and remember to keep it updated as you go along. This will not only be a guide for you, but will also help you allocate jobs to willing volunteers.

Next is the shopping list. Shopping for parties or events takes valuable time which you no longer need to spend in store. Jump online, order all your items and get everything delivered. It might cost a little extra but when you consider the time factor of physically sourcing everything, trust me, it will be money very well spent.

Now that you’ve got that organised, if the event is at a private residence, head back to the computer and get some decorative signs made up that lead to the toilet and bathroom. Plus, if you have areas you want to keep off limits, put together some no entry signs. Get creative and make up signs for the bar area, coat storage, can and bottle recycling or whatever you like. These will add to the decorations if you spruce them up a bit.

Speaking of decorations, make sure you get these delivered about a week before the event. If the event is in your home, spend some time each night setting the house up. Arrange the bar area with large containers for ice, plastic cups, etc.

Set up the music and speakers. Using an iPod, mobile phone or something similar is easy. Get your playlist together and make sure you have enough tunes to flick on the music before your guests arrive and forget about it. Just a tip, guests may ask for music requests during the party. Unless you want to start being the DJ for the entire event, let them know that the music is preset. If you have a volunteer who is willing to DJ and take requests, that’s great. Allocate the job to them if they are willing.

Now if the party is at home, don’t be too fussy about having a spotless house. It will look a lot worse afterwards. If you are concerned your home isn’t being presented the way you’d like, give it a quick vacuum and dust as you set up. Mopping floors are a waste so don’t bother.

If the event is at a different location, enlist the help of others to assist with decorations and preparations. Ask the facilities staff or management if you can have some time to prepare before the event. Most will agree to allow you limited access so plan decorations which you can set up within that time-frame. If you are having balloons, order a cheap pump with the decorations or opt for helium. Blowing up balloons is time consuming and there are easier ways to make it happen without running out of valuable oxygen!

The night before your party, prep any food which can be done early. Keep it as simple as possible and try not to make extra work for yourself. If possible have a reasonably early night and get a good rest.

The day of your party all that should be left to do is the final food prep. Cook anything which needs cooking, get out serving implements and you should basically be ready for an awesome event. If the event is at a catered facility you won’t have this concern. Spent some time during the day with your feet up relaxing and give yourself plenty of time to have a shower and get yourself ready to receive your guests.

Doing all the preparation prior to your party will really pay off. Instead of being the type of host who is rushing around ignoring guests, you can actually spend time with them and enjoy yourself. Plus, the more entertaining you do, the easier this gets. Save any documents you’ve created on the computer in a separate file and re-use them.

These tips and techniques are ultimately what professional event organisers do everyday. They plan, organise and prepare. It’s that simple! It doesn’t matter if it’s a small gathering like a BBQ, kids party or a big event like a wedding; these guidelines are super flexible.

Good luck and enjoy your festivities!

Image via spatrendonline.hu

December 27, 2014

7 Tips for Stress-Free Entertaining This Christmas

Whatever you’re planning in the kitchen this Christmas – whether it’s a casual lunch or an all-out family feast – HelloFresh Australia Founder and CEO, Tom Rutledge dishes out his top tips for foolproof and stress-free entertaining this silly season.

1. Plan ahead
Before you do anything, spend a little time coming up with a menu and a plan of attack.  Remember, you don’t have to do everything yourself, make a note of what can be pre-prepared, delegated or outsourced.

2. Question tradition
Don’t be afraid to mix things up a little, perhaps you could trade in the turkey for seafood or swap the traditional pudding for panettone. Whatever you decide, it’s always a nice idea to put your own twist when crafting a Christmas feast to keep things interesting.

3. Place your orders early
While it is always nice to waft about the local shops a couple of days before you’re due to entertain, to see what inspiration comes your way – chances are you simply won’t get what you need!  If you’re after a turkey or a particular type of ham, order one from your local butcher early. The same rules apply when ordering large quantities of seafood or even baked goods. Simply ring ahead a week or two earlier to make sure you don’t miss out!

4. Hamming it up
It may sound strange, but when you’re buying a ham, be sure to request the left leg. The muscle tonality, predominant right-footedness, and the scratching habits of pigs’ right leg means that the idle left leg has a better fat distribution and flavour than the active right one. You heard it here first!

5. Divide and conquer
If you’ve got a hoard of relatives coming over for a meal, take them up on their offer to bring something along.   Rather than leaving the choice up to them, politely offer something they could bring from your pre-planned menu.  A well planned menu will be easy to divvy up and will leave more time for enjoying some well earned catch up time with your guests.

6. Assemble, don’t cook!
There’s no point being tethered to the stove while your guests are emptying stockings and glasses of Pimms with equal vigour. Do as much of your preparation the day before as possible.  There is so much that can be done prior, from the glazing of the ham to marinading of the prawns, leaving you with more time on the day to celebrate.

7. Outsource
If it all seems like more hassle than it’s worth, outsource!  You can buy things in all stages of preparedness or even in kits that take much of the legwork out of the planning and shopping. Naturally, in a shamelessly gratuitous plug, I can recommend you to www.hellofresh.com.au for our gorgeous gourmet Christmas Box! 


December 20, 2013