The number one reason we bought this house was because it was perfect for entertaining, and entertain we do. A lot a lot a lot a lot a lot.
But you see, I used to be a total over the edge freakshow when it came to getting ready for parties. I would worry and work and stress to the point that I couldn't even enjoy the festivities.
That is not what it should be about.
Something had to change in a big and dramatic way.
We were invited to dinner at a new friend's house and that night changed everything for me.
The house wasn't perfect.
The dinner was simple. The dessert was a bag of store bought cookies.
But that wasn't the point.
We were the point.
They love people. They love to share meals and their home.
It wasn't over the top.
Martha wasn't involved.
But it was honestly one of the the most memorable meals.
That simple night made me realize two things,
I want to have my home filled with people all of the time. Unexpected. Unscheduled.
That meant I had to give up my ideas of perfection.
Little by little I have been dropping my total psycho ways.
Here are a few things that I have learned along the journey:
1. None of your guests will show up wearing white gloves to scrutinize your cleaning skills.
I like the house picked up, but I no longer stress over making every single square inch totally sparkling, shiny and spotless. Even when it is, one of the three small children have a way of instantly messing it up. That is the season that we are in. I got tired of yelling. They got tired of hearing me yell. Kids live here. I am not the Queen of England, nor do I have her staff.
Besides, a friend that would be offended by seeming imperfection, is honestly a friend I would rather not invite over.
2. People LOVE to help.
Let them. I used to make every single thing that I served. Don't get me wrong, I love to cook, but I also love to have food show up in my guests arms when they ring the doorbell.
Do you have a friend who could come over early to set up?
Let them. It is so much more fun.
Don't be afraid to let people stay late to clean up along side you either.
My friends are phenomenal. They rock the dishes, the trash, help tear down and don't leave until my house is back to normal. It is amazing. If you don't have friends that will do that I suggest you get some new friends.
3. Don't try new or complicated recipes.
This one is hard for me, but I have learned they very hard way.
I stick to the basics, the ones that have proven time and time again to be crowd pleasers.
Chances are, if you are coming over you will be served one or all of the following things:
I have made all of them so many times, that I hardly need the recipe cards. Knowing that they will work, means there is one less thing that I have to worry about. One less thing to worry about means the atmosphere in my house is much more pleasant.
4. I love open houses, potlucks, bbq's, make your own pizza nights, and serving things family style.
Simple, unfussy, yummy, happiness. Stressed hosts = stressed guests. Happy hosts = happy guests.
5. Paper plates and disposable utensils.
Seriously. Sorry Earth, a girl has got to do what a girl has got to do.
6. Give your guests something to do.
Consider putting the big game on the tv, get out the Wii, play Rock Band.
Games aren't just for kids and teenagers, they are great icebreakers and work magic at getting people out of their shells.
Before you know it, you will suddenly enjoy having people over.
You will laugh at how crazy and complicated you used to make it.
Think of your favorite times with friends... I bet they weren't stuffy, over the top affairs.
Our best times?
Simple nights, cozy food, happy friends.
What are your favorite entertaining tips?