You asked and we answered! Here are 10 questions you had about hosting. We hope these answers will help you to be the hostess with the mostess and take any stress out of hosting.
1 | Does there need to be a theme?
You don’t need a theme. But you do need an intention for your gatherings. Sometimes the intention is a theme or occasion, like Cinqo De Mayo. But your intention is the tone you want to set for your event. Ask yourself: What is your purpose for bringing people together? What is the feeling you want your guest to walk away with?
2 | What is your advice on invitations?
The invitation is the first glimpse into the tone of your event that your guest will see. The tone of your event should match tone of your invites. For large-scale social event—think wedding—you should mail your invitation in six to eight months in advance. If you are first sending out a save the date first, you can send the invitation out four to six months. For smaller gathering, your invitation should arrive four to six weeks prior. Digital invitations, like Paperless Post or Evite, are also great for casual gatherings.
3 | How do I get people to actually RSVP?
First, make it clear on the invitation you expect people to RSVP. Using terms like “formal” and “seated” are helpful clues. I would suggest being a little more blunt. Include a phrase like “Out of respect for the caterers, please let us know if you plan to attend.” Second, make it easy. Include a digital option along with a phone number or card to mail back.
4 |Can I ask guest to take off their shoes when they arrive?
Yes, it’s fine to ask guests to remove their shoes. If you are making this request, it may be best to warn guests before they even come over. Also, have socks or slippers ready for guests to wear. If you are having a large gathering at your home, you want to bypass your shoes-off policy. It may be worst to have 50 pairs of shoes piled up rather. In this case give your floors a deep cleaning afterwards.
5 | Can you use disposable plates and utensils for an event?
Well, it depends on the tone of your gathering. If it is a causal gathering, like a cookout or cocktails with friends, then disposable is perfectly fine. But, if your event is more formal I would stick to using the real stuff.
6 | How do I properly setup for a buffet style?
Setting up a buffet may seem like a daunting task, but here are a few tips to help.
- Have separate spaces for food and drinks.
- Consider the how the flow of the crowd will move, make sure you have room for the line to form.
- Set up plates at the beginning of the line and the utensils at the end of the line.
- Put things in many stacks of plates, napkins, and utensils to avoid bottle necking.
- Arrange food strategically. Placing cold foods first, and warm foods together.
7 | How do you time your courses out?
I like to buffer time at the beginning. Most people will arrive 15-30 minutes late. For a four hour party, I would serve appetizer from the start and keep put for an hour and a half. At that point I would serve the course and allow an hour to eat. Take a 30 minute break and then serve dessert.
8 | How do you know how much food to make? How much meat per person?
The average adult will eat one pound of food per meal. If you are serving meat as your main course, you should estimate a 1/2 pound per person. The other half would consist of sides. If you are looking for leftovers, estimate 3/4-1 pound of meat per person. And to have leftovers for all veggie meal, prepare 2 pounds per person.
9 | How do you balance hosting, cooking, and clean?
This starts with planning your menu. Once your menu is set, figure out what you can make in advance. Most of the cooking should be done before your guest arrive. Be sure to plan your time so you are available when guest arrive to welcome them. If your kitchen allows, have some appetizer set up so guest can join you in the kitchen. For clean up, have clear area marked for people to throw out any garbage or recyclables. Another rule of them, is clean as you go. As you mingle around a round, you can chat and clean up any garbage. Check out more of our tips for planning your menu here.
10 | How do I handle a guest who has overindulged?
This depends on your guest. Is it a couple of closest friends? If so, they you can call the person out. But, if it is a large crowd, or a group that doesn’t know each other really well, you should be more subtle. Privately suggest they need help and have someone close to them help you to help them.