Stress Free Party Hosting
Summer is here and you know what that means: It’s time to party. But if you’re anything like me, just the thought of hosting an event in this post-Pinterest era can be intimidating. But lucky for us, Kit’s own Cassie Perry, a home and fashion guru and interior designer, is here to help. Cassie’s tips for keeping it simple and elegant make party planning a snap. So go ahead, host that graduation open house, invite old friends for dinner, or have girlfriends over for an evening in, instead of out. Life is short. Let us eat, drink and be merry!
1. Start days in advance
“Plan ahead by doing little tasks each day,” Cassie says. Choose a color theme, set your table or buffet, and pre-mix special drinks for guests, all in advance. In this photo, premade drinks are poured into quaint mason jars and adorned with chalkboard labels. Guests can write their names on their drinks to avoid confusion.
2. Manage traffic flow & timing
Set drinks on a separate bar cart with glasses so guests can pour their own. Not all the food needs be out at once. “Set out appetizers first, and then switch that out for the main entrée and desserts later,” Cassie says. Stash away glasses, drinks and other items to be restocked in an accessible spot.
3. Create a beautiful setting
Cassie suggests decorating around one main color, while also considering the height, flow and variability of table items. Flower vases, pillar candles or framed photos can be placed behind food and drinks. Blue and white dishes are accented with a colorful runner, towels and napkins.
4. Showcase your individuality
Your home is not an event venue, which is why people will love visiting. Celebrate your event’s individuality with a personal message written on a mirror (with dry erase marker), ribbons tied around a vase of flowers or photographs of guests. Get creative.
5. Outsource what you can
Focus on what you do best and outsource the rest. “Why make it when you can buy it?” Cassie says. If you don’t enjoy baking, purchase desserts from a bakery. If you stink at floral design, use a florist. “Don’t feel like you have to make everything,” Cassie says. “Stress-free is the goal.” (Flowers for this story provided by McNamara Florist.)
6. Use what you have
Skip the shopping and use what’s handy. Cassie repurposed an old flower box planter accented with napkins to display wine. “I’ve used this same box planter over and over again for different things,” she notes. It could also hold jars filled with flatware or party game tools for a shower. Think outside the planter box.
7. Ease up on the matchy-matchy
“We tend to want to have everything matchy-matchy, but you don’t have to do that,” Cassie says. Instead, blend colors and patterns that complement one another, use china dishes with colorful plastic utensils, and combine old and new items. The easy-breezy look creates an instantly welcoming atmosphere.
8. Go With crowd-pleasers
Great food doesn’t need to be reinvented. It’s OK if your meal isn’t Pinterest-worthy. “Stick with what you know and like,” Cassie says.
9. Take shortcuts
Cassie’s keen on keeping it simple. “Don’t spend hours cleaning your entire home,” she says. “Tidy up the main areas of use and close doors to other rooms.” A cute sign hanging on the doorknob of an off-limits room points guests to the party area. Plastic utensils, recyclable cups for condiments and paper dessert napkins make cleanup go faster.
10. Last but not least, don’t stress
Cassie’s final piece of advice? “The most important ingredient for a successful event is a happy, stress-free host.” So above all else, don’t sweat the details. Instead, make a vow to enjoy our own party. And then, everyone else will too.