I’ve had my fair share of experience hosting parties at one point cooking for over 75 people! Several times a year I host the Nutrition Stripped Supper Clubs which are beautiful ways to connect the community around healthy food, great conversation, and new experiences. With the holidays, so many of us are preparing dishes to bring to parties, but what if you’re the one hosting? Here are my tips on how to host like a pro:
Take care of your guests. Without a doubt, always make sure they have everything they need to feel “special” and taken care of; whether that’s refilling their water, wine, etc.; always be on top of it!
Enlist some help. If you have extra hands like friends or family who love organizing events, let them help you set up the party, clean up, etc. It’s okay to say “yes, I would love some help actually!”
Drinks. Not everyone wants a cocktail and that’s totally okay, but be sure you have delicious mocktails as well. No one wants to show up to a party with a fancy cocktail only to be served club soda and lime if they choose not to drink alcohol. Try a fancy mocktail like hot cider, hot chocolate; or my favorite rosemary, blood orange and lime in club soda.
Options. Always ask your guests ahead of time if they have any special requirements for their food or drink, if there are any allergies you need to be mindful of when cooking, etc. Have a couple options in place!
Conversation. If you’re using name cards to set the table, be strategic and assign seats to guests who may not know each other so they can meet new people or purposely but your talkative aunt next to your shy friend- it’s all about balance and how you can help facilitate a good time for everyone.
Mood. I’m all about ambiance, that’s really half of the equation the other being food! The way you set the tone and vibe for the night through music, candles, lighting, styling the table, it all comes together to create 1 special feeling.
Style. Pay extra attention to the details when it comes to styling your surroundings, setting the table, how it’ll photograph in pictures (hey, we do live in a social media loving world!), enough lounge seating, games to play, etc.
Logistics. Cover your bases, do you have enough towels, napkins, trash bags, toilet paper, ice, etc.; where will guests hand their coats? Shoes? These are small details, but when you have these answers in place, your guests will feel so special that you’ve taken the time to plan ahead and think of them.
A take away. This isn’t a “must have” but it’s high on my list. Send guests home with little bags of homemade cookies or your favorite recipe, a candle, anything that’s small, special, and functional.
Make sure you take the time to enjoy. This was one of my biggest learning experiences when I hosted my first supper club. I was running around stressed out all day trying to cook a million things, style tables, text back friends and guests, and put on a smile while being photographed doing all of the above! Obviously cooking for 60+ people is very different than an intimate gathering with family and friends, but remind yourself to get involved and enjoy the night too. Take deep breaths and soak it all in.
SHARE WITH US:
Tell us about your best or worst party experience. What advice do you have for anyone hosting a holiday party this season?
McKel Hill, MS, RD, LDN is an internationally known Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Founder of Nutrition Stripped. Nutrition Stripped is one of the top healthy living websites including whole food recipes, meal plans, cooking videos, nutrition advice, t-shirt line of wearable healthy inspirations, and an incredible community of millions of people who are inspired to live a healthier, happier, and more radiant life. McKel lives in Nashville, TN; yet she hosts retreats, and coaches and consults privately for individuals and high profile brands all over the world. The Nutrition Stripped Cookbook will be published in early 2016.
Photo Credit: Amber and Josh Ulmer