Written by contributor Sandy Coughlin of Reluctant Entertainer.
The 4th of July is right around the corner, and entertaining can be really fun and easy if you keep it simple and you have a plan! As I’ve reminded my readers for years at RE, learn to “KISS” and everything will flow nice and smooth. You’ll be a happier hostess, too.
KISS = Keep It Simple, Sister!
I remind myself of this when I try to do too much, or try to do it all. I learned years ago that delegation is the KEY.
Here are 8 steps that will help you plan your next outdoor party:
1. Decide how you want to serve your guests. Sit-down dinner, buffet style, or fill your plate at the grill?
2. Think about the seating. Folding tables, mixed-matched tablecloths and chairs work just fine!
3. Plan out the menu. Use a piece of paper to write down what you want to serve. Always start with the main dish. If you want burgers, then build around that entree.
4. Delegate. Jot your guests’ names down by a food item or entree’.
5. Let your guests know what they are bringing and then start preparing and organizing the food items you’ll be serving.
6. Head to the Dollar Store for simple red, white, and blue accents such as solid-colored napkins, tablecloths and simple paper items.
7. Add a classy touch by using potted red geraniums for greenery and “4th” flair.
8. Pull it all together with a healthy attitude that things do not have to be perfect. When everyone contributes, it becomes more about “community” and less about you.
Relax and Enjoy
One thing I love is the surprise and uniqueness of what each guest has to offer when they bring a dish for the holidays. It does feel better, especially in our economy today, when everyone becomes a contributor to the meal.
If you want to take it a step further, ask your guests to add a “July 4th” touch to their dish. It could be as simple as buying little toothpick flags and sticking them in your appetizer or dessert.
So many people are intimidated by the menu. I’m not sure why, except I think our expectations supersede the reality of what we’re really trying to accomplish.
I’m not trying to impress and one-up with my outdoor dinners or holiday parties.
I just want to celebrate summer, the independence of our country, families and friends, the harvest of our garden, nature, and good conversation.
Again, keeping it simple is really the secret.
Do you ever “over-do” when planning the menu by either not delegating, or possibly making too much food?