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10 tips to make entertaining easy

Everyone knows that no one is doing any entertaining right now, but we can dream, right? If you want to plan a get together for when this lockdown is over, we have some great ideas for you. Entertaining can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. We have some great tips and tricks to make entertaining easy and, therefore, more fun. Entertaining should be a joy, not a chore, so keep it informal and relaxed. So, start planning your “Lockdown is Over” party now and use these tips and tricks to help you along the way.


Keep the food and drink simple

Have you ever planned an extravagant meal for a gathering at your house, only for it to turn out horribly? You are not the only one who has made this mistake. When having guests over, keep the food and drinks uncomplicated for entertaining success. Cook food items that you are familiar with and would cook on a typical day for your own family. It is hard to screw up a dish that you have made a dozen times. If you are going to offer drinks for party guests, keep those simple, too. Make a pitcher of lemonade, open a couple bottles of wine, and have some beers available. Making fancy cocktails can be fun, but they are a lot of work, and there is no guarantee that all of your guests will like or want them.

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Set up the night before

Doing as much as you can the night before the party is a huge time saver on the day of the party. Things like setting the table, prepping food items, setting up an area for the kids to play, and more can all be completed the night before your guests arrive. These tasks only take a few minutes but will make a huge difference when it gets down to crunch time. Several last-minute items will pop up unexpectedly the day of the party, so you will be grateful that you got as much done as possible the night before.

people drinking
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Let your guests bring things

Whenever a gathering is thrown, your guests will ask what they can bring. Instead of trying to be a superhero and telling them not to bring anything, let them help. Many people will offer to bring a dish like an appetizer or dessert. Other people like to bring what they want to drink or a couple of bottles of wine. Let them! Anything that your guests want to bring will add to the party and make your life a bit easier. If your attendees ask what they can bring and don’t have their own idea, don’t be afraid to give them some direction. This can especially come in handy when it comes to items you may have forgotten to pick up, such as ice, bread, plastic cups, etc.

Use candles

When it comes to decorating for a party, nothing is more simple than lighting candles. If you don’t have a bunch of candles, you can pick up a bag or two of tea lights relatively cheaply and scatter them around your house. Candles add lighting and ambiance to a party and make it look like you planned something elegant.

Make a playlist

Setting up a playlist of music to play at your party ahead of time is a great way to relieve some day-of stress. As you listen to music throughout the weeks before your party, add songs that you hear that you think the crowd will like to the playlist. If you add songs as you go about your everyday life, it will ease the stress of trying to look for songs that will be crowd-pleasers all at once. If you’re really feeling ambitious, start the playlist mellow, build up to more lively tunes, and then end it soft. This will give your gathering a beginning, middle, and end to follow. Also, be sure to pick a wide array of music, so there is something for everyone on the playlist. It’d be great if you could ask an artistic friend to play their instrument for a mini concert –everyone might just love that!

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Use store-bought items

When it comes to food and drinks for the party, use store-bought items where you feel it will make your life easier. Store-bought appetizers and desserts are a great way to save time and will hardly be noticed by your guests. Using pre-cut cheeses, fruits, veggies, and more can save you a lot of time when it comes to food prep. Store-bought and arranged flowers will save you time when it comes to decorating, as well. Buying store-bought goodies will save you time and let you enjoy your guests rather than sweating in the kitchen during the party.

Use serving trays

Serving trays are a great way to save trips back and forth to the kitchen. Not only will serving trays save you time, but they look great, too. Use a serving tray for drinks, condiments, appetizers, silverware, and more. You can also use serving trays to pass appetizers or desserts around the party. Pass them out and watch your guests mingle with the food on the trays as a catalyst to start conversations.

Make pitchers of drinks

If you want to serve a craft cocktail or mixed drink at your party, make big batches of it and serve it in pitchers. You can make batches of the cocktail ahead of time, which will save you a ton of time on the day of the party. Put ice in a bucket, so the drinks in the pitchers don’t get watered down and let your guests pour their own drinks. You can put garnishes right in the pitcher or set them out with the ice for your party-goers to add themselves. You can also make an alcoholic and non-alcoholic version of the same cocktail in case you have non-drinking guests or kids at your party. Just be sure to label them accordingly.

people at a house gathering
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Serve buffet or family-style

When it comes to serving food at a party, a sit-down dinner can be a ton of work. Consider setting up a buffet or serving food family-style, suggests The Kitchn. These methods will cut down on the workload for you and is a more interactive way to eat. Passing dishes around will get your guests to engage with one another and creates an intimate setting. A buffet is an excellent option for larger crowds and allows every guest to get as much, or as little, of any food you have to offer.

Clean gradually

Don’t stress yourself out by trying to make every room in your house spotless the day before the party. Instead, clean and organize your home gradually during the weeks leading up to the big event. Also, focus on the areas that your guest will actually be in and leave the other rooms be, other than straightening and dusting. Bathrooms and the kitchen can be cleaned the day before because they are the most-used rooms during a party. When it comes time for last-minute touches on the day of the party, you’ll be glad you cleaned all week and have one less thing to worry about.

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Deb Goncalves
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Deb's work has appeared on Moms, Babygaga, and WorldAtlas. When she's not working (that's hard to say about a Capricorn), she…
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