Entertaining friends is in my blood. Second to being a bona fide bargain shopper, I can put together a swanky soirée in no time and always leave friends impressed with the two-day weekend budget I allot. Through minimal trial and error, I’ve nailed a surefire way to host a last minute fiesta without searing your pockets; with these party tips, you’ll look forward to hosting again.
There are few know-how’s you have to apply to each party. Follow these party tips and you’ll be more excited than your own guests.
Read Related: Warm Jalapeño Cheese Dip Recipe
START WITH A THEME
This key starting point eliminates last minute anxiety and inclination to buy different themed accessories you’re unsure of.
TO COOK OR NOT TO COOK
I then decide whether I’m going to cook or not. That changes the entire game. For sake of time and a last minute party, let’s not cook! Theme still in place, knowing you’re going to offer store bought or no-cook buys you time and allows you control exact amounts of food; because no one wants to make takeaway plates for everyone after seeing you have two casuelas de gandules on your stove.
Design your menu based on your theme, but keep it light and simple. A summer night’s eve style party for instance can be beautifully staged with light, airy foods like cucumber sandwiches (no cook and super easy assembly), rosemary caramel popcorn, Tuscan tomato soup (I’ve had some amazing store bought gourmet ones), cold melon salads and lemon spritzers. Dried snacks are great to nosh on and quickly fill guests, too. My favorite: dried mangoes and tropical fruit mixes. Skewer them to give a more festive, fun appeal. Knowing your menu will reduce unnecessary spending on food and will for sure keep you hassle free in the kitchen once the party-goers are gone!
YOUR GO-TO STORES
Identifying three favorite stores, including grocery, where you can buy everything from linens, flatware, décor and drinks. Vintage and consignment stores are great pits stops for holding trays, dishes, vases, napkins, barware, and one of a kind finds. Find pieces that are multifunctional and can be used for other events. Farmer’s markets are also fantastic resources for amazing homemade spreads, treats, and bulk purchases, etc…usually for less than chain grocers.
And finally, give yourself a good amount of time to set up and fancy up your space. The right amount of time will forgive last minute jitters of forgetting things, which inevitably leads to dishing out more cash. 3 hours on the day of for a party of 20 is always great. You’ll have time to list out and address any changes, modifications or last minute inspirations.
Here’s a deliciously satisfying, no fuss artichoke recipe, appropriate for any themed party.
SPINACH ARTICHOKE DIP
5 bags fresh spinach (or 1 frozen bag), cleaned and pat dried
1 bar softened cream cheese
1 artichoke, choked and roughly chopped (or 1- 6 oz jar of marinated hearts)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 TBSP hot sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
- On medium heat, add spinach, artichoke and cream cheese to medium sauce pan.
- Using wooden spoon, fold in ingredients and combine well. Add garlic, hot sauce, salt and pepper. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until flavors have infused and artichoke is cooked thoroughly.
- Serve warm.