Free Event Planning Information
The secret to being a great host is planning ahead. You have time on your hands to chat with your guests instead of being in the kitchen for most of their visit. You are stress free, everything is well organized and taken care of. You feel great because you have made time for all the additional warm touches.
One big tip, it is okay to use help of prepared foods. You can always make slight alterations to the prepared foods so that it takes on more of a personal touch. Sometimes prepared foods are also required if your oven is already being occupied. Convenience foods such as shredded cheese, minced garlic, and pre-washed salads, maybe more expensive but they may be worth the time you will save.
1. The Month Before
Invite your guests and confirm as many attendees as you can. Ensure that location, time, date and any expectations as to what your guests need to bring, if any, is discussed. Depending on who your guests are, providing directions is always welcomed.
Plan your meal and what you would like to bake and cook. Use recipes that you feel comfortable with and that you have tried before. Thoroughly read all the recipes that you will be preparing. Purchase any needed and very popular seasonal ingredients in advance. Too often are local grocers sold out of these popular ingredients prior to the festive occasion.
2. The Three Days Before
Clean your home and decorate it with seasonal touches. Give some thoughts to lighting, such as using candles and lamps. Warm lighting gives a very comfortable feeling. Is there a particular way you would like to decorate your table? Seasonal items are always very appropriate for a table's centre piece. Try to have colors that coordinate with each other. For example, place shiny red apples with one green apple in a vase for your centre piece. Ensure that the table linens and napkins that you are using are cleaned and pressed.
Purchase the rest of the required ingredients and remember to include drinks that you will serve, both alcoholic and/or non-alcoholic as well as ice. Polish any dishes or utensils that need extra attention. For example, give glassware an extra polish to minimize dried water droplets.
3. The Day Before
Typically, some of the courses can be made the day before. For example, the dessert or the dough for the warm buns you would like to serve. Assemble the cooking tools and appliances that you will be using. Do all the prep for your recipes. For example, wash and chop all required vegetables, prepare mixtures so they are ready to go in the oven, etc. It is very important to plan the timing of the different courses for your meal so that you know when to start what so that it can all be served warm at the same time.
Rearrange furniture, if needed, to ensure that the layout is welcoming and there is enough seating for everyone. Seasonal flowers are a wonderful touch and can be purchased the day before to ensure they are freshest. Prepare as much as you possibly can now so that your day tomorrow can be stress free. When you think you have everything set, ask yourself, is there anything else that I can do now?
4. The Day Of
If you are able to, set and decorate the table in the morning. This may not be as convenient for the rest of your family members for the meals they will eat prior to your guests arriving but it does free up a large amount of time later in the day. Having the table set and decorated makes a wonderful and welcoming experience for your guests when they arrive instead of doing this after they arrive.
Finish preparing your meal. Put your white wine on ice or in the fridge or any other drinks that you would like to serve cold. It is a good idea to have the bread or appetizer on the table ready for your guests in case they arrive with a very empty tummy.
Now relax and enjoy your time with your guests and the wonderful flavours of your meal!