Entertaining can be intimidating. Coordinating a memorable event, creating a cohesive aesthetic, preparing food – all of these pieces can be daunting.
But entertaining friends and family doesn’t need to be an overwhelming task! With some help from Nicki Cooley at Sweets on a Stick, we’ve pulled together some tips to help make this the season you start entertaining and hosting with confidence and ease.
Create an environment where guests can serve themselves whenever possible. Make flow intuitive. Have a welcoming drink station prepared with options labeled and supplies (glasses, spoons, cups, napkins) evident.
Make it obvious where you want guests to mingle as well. For instance, if you are hoping everyone will spend the evening outside by the pool, place a simple sign encouraging guests to head that direction so that all of your friends don’t spend the evening standing by the stove instead.
Learn New Skills
Always be improving. This is the key to success for any area, really, so it’s no surprise that investing time and energy into hosting will ensure renewed confidence.
For instance, at her local business Sweets on a Stick, Cooley offers cookie decorating classes in addition to her fabulous creations. She helps attendees learn basic cookie decorating tricks and tips so that a special, unique, custom dessert is within their grasp.
Reading blogs and magazines on entertaining is also a great way to increase one’s arsenal of “party tricks”.
Limit and Highlight
Good hosts and hostesses know that a few choices that really pop are always preferable to lots of mediocre choices. For instance, if you’re having friends over for drinks and dessert, just serve one or two really spectacular options, such as custom cookies from Sweets on a Stick and a gorgeous cheesecake.
Decorate Boldly and Simply
In the age of Pinterest, planning a party aesthetic can be intimidating. Stick with bold colors and colors combinations that really pop and keep things simple. Rather than decorating an entire house, decorate just the area around the food or one corner in the area where guests will be mingling.
Fewer decorations really will pop more and a few tasteful bright focal points will draw more memorable attention than an overwhelming array of party pieces. The bonus? Simple, tastefully chosen decor can be used more than once.
If decorating and color-coordination aren’t your strengths, enlist help. Sweets on a Stick offers the design, set-up, and take-down of entire dessert tables that are skillfully designed. With their help, you can both outsource the creation of desserts and create a focal point for your party that guests will love, remember, and post to Instagram for their friends to admire.
While a small intimate adult gathering may not require a second or third set of hands, a larger gathering such as a child’s birthday party definitely does. When hosting a larger gathering (or really anything with children), ask a few friends to be on hand to help with specific tasks.
For instance, at a child’s birthday party, one parent can be in charge of keeping an eye on playing children to ensure safety and another can help guests find food and a place to sit.
Just off-loading a few specific tasks to a willing friend can make the difference between an overwhelming chaotic event and a successful memorable party.
There’s certainly no reason to do every bit of the labor of entertaining yourself. If hiring a cleanup crew or a caterer is within the event budget, don’t hesitate to do so. Or if you enjoy the food preparation aspect of entertaining but decorating is stressful, enlist the help of a friend to create the party aesthetic.
Sweets on a Stick is a fabulous resource for beautiful, unique custom orders of cookies, cake pops, and other stunning desserts. Why spend hours baking when Cooley can provide you with a dessert that will be the talk of the party and you can spend more time actually visiting with your friends and family?
Entertain more this season and enjoy memorable events with your friends and family as you navigate hosting with confidence and ease using some of these tips as guideposts (and possibly some help from Sweets on a Stick!).