Editor’s Note: Hosting people in your home doesn’t need to be overwhelming. We’re sharing this post, originally published in September of 2019, to reinvigorate the host in all of us (sans the stress!).
Oh, the soirées I’ve hosted. The perfect menus, amazingly set tables, perfect lighting, and amazing playlists. Sadly, most of these have only happened in my head. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE to host. I love bringing people together and being in charge of their care and feeding for a short bit. But my inner Pinterest perfectionist gets lost in the planning, overwhelmed by all the tiny details I want to pull off. More often than not, I end up shelving the idea altogether.
I finally found a formula for hosting that works for me. It leads to a perfect evening in with low stress, minimal prep work, and always, always great conversation and connection.
Last winter, a bit over the endless rain and not wanting to venture out, I finally found a formula for hosting that works for me. It leads to a perfect evening in with low stress, minimal prep work, and always, always great conversation and connection.
My best hosting tips for making this happen on the regular are as follows.
Intimate and Interesting Company
Bringing together small groups of friends who loosely know each other keeps conversation light, flowing, and engaging. It’s fun getting to know strangers, connected by friends, and an intimate group provides the right vibe to explore and get to know new connections.
Simple Food, Artfully Arranged
I’m partial to several curated boards strewn throughout the space to encourage mingling, moving, and snacking wherever small groups congregate. A mix of store-bought and homemade keeps the prep to a minimum and gives plenty of variety to snack on. To fancy up the food (and to build layers plus add height), I pull out all my platters, bowls, and vessels. I always plan for one more hearty snack to make an appearance about halfway through the evening, once everyone is a couple of drinks in. A few recent faves: this cheesy goodness, grilled skirt steak, and these chicken meatballs.
Get Everyone Involved
Your friend who’s a closet mixologist, quietly brewing her own concoctions at home? Ask her to bring her latest obsession with enough to share. The guy with the best playlists on Spotify? Sign him up to bring the tunes. Not a baker? Ask a friend to bring dessert. Sharing the workload eases your stress as the host, and everyone loves to show off their skills when given the chance!
Since I’ve adopted these tips and taken the pressure off of being the perfect host, I’ve found myself more excited to plan each event. Gathering my group and enjoying the good drinks, food, company, and conversation is now something I look forward to with delight instead of dread, all thanks to these small shifts in mindset.
Jill Elliott is an artist, wallpaper designer and writer constantly seeking inspiration and balance. You can find Jill’s wallpaper and original art at Color Kind Studio. She can often be found making art and messes alongside her daughter and puppy.