‘Tis the season! The season for friends, family, and food. One of the (worst?) best parts of adulting is the task of hosting your first real-world, grown up dinner party. When you get to an age where it’s harder for those closest to you to take the time out to share in a meal, it’s time to truly appreciate the experience. Bae always wants to avoid hosting because of how stressed I get, but worry no more! We’ve got you covered. Today we are sharing our favorite tips for hosting friendsgiving, holiday parties, or even Christmas dinner as a couple.
So you wanna throw a party? The first thing to do is..
Sabrina: Set the date! We have a lot of family & friends in the area so we need to make sure we let people know that we are planning to host a party as early as possible. This is important for them to clear their schedules and also to know that we call dibs on the ‘Friendsgiving’ or ‘White Elephant Christmas Party’ – gotta call dibs for parties too!
Mae: All of our family and *most* of our friends live out of state, so when we host a party, it’s usually a several-days-long shindig and includes overnight guests. The first thing we always do is try to get a headcount of who exactly is coming and how long they plan to be here. Then we make a meal plan and I pick a theme. By “theme”, I mean color scheme, which is primarily represented in our tablescape and invitations/placecards. I take care of all the details and coordinating with guests and Nick pitches in later with (aka “does most of”) the housework (dusting, vacuuming, etc.).
Lauren: Assign roles! And I mean this in the loosest way possible. B and I actually took to these pretty naturally but I like to remind us both of what our strengths are when it comes to hosting. Brandon is by far the better entertainer and ice breaker. He’s GREAT at bringing people together and making sure everyone is having a great time. I however am wayyyy better at creating the perfect environment for everyone to have a great time in. I’m in charge of the decor, setup, the cute details like place cards & chalkboards, etc. #FashionablyBae is usually in charge of stocking the bar, seating charts (to make sure people don’t sit with their bestie and actually mingle) and greeting guests when they arrive. It just works.
Before guests come, we always…
Sabrina: Clean! We set our rumba on blast and make sure that our playlist is poppin’ JK…. kinda. Music is so important to set the mood, so we make sure that we have speakers outside and inside. We have a playlist called ‘Dinner Parties’ on Spotify that has been carefully curated, I’d be happy to share it with y’all. Be forewarned, there is a LOT of Adele on it.
Mae: Right before guests come, we light candles, set out fresh flowers, and turn on some music. We usually have one scented candle in the living room or front entryway and little accent candles around the house to set the mood. Nick is such a candle person and he would prefer candlelight to any other kind of light any day (or night). We just try to be conscious of guests with allergies or sensitivities to scent. We usually know who these guests are and will, of course, forego the candles for them. I pretty much always keep fresh flowers in the house, too, but when guests come, I refresh the flowers in all the common areas and put a few fresh flowers in our guestrooms for overnight guests. Again, just be mindful of guests with allergies.
Lauren: Take a shot. JK (sort of). But we do like to do a quick toast with just the two of us if we can remember before the night gets too crazy. I also usually have a checklist or notebook with details for the night that I like to run over before guests arrive.
I wish our guests would know…
Sabrina: You don’t have to bring anything! We love hosting parties because it’s fun for us to have our family and friends bring laughter and love into our home. I absolutely love when people offer to bring food, dessert, or wine and I take them up on it sometimes. However, if we say no gifts – don’t worry about it! We just want your presence.
Mae: To rinse their glasses really quickly. Is that bad? It isn’t a big deal at all, but just a thing. I usually prefer that my guests just don’t do anything, but I hate scrubbing glasses. If I can, I’ll try to beat my guests to it and I’ll rinse the dishes really quickly after dinner. But if guests take their dish to the sink (which is so nice of them) but leave coffee in the cup, I kinda just wish they wouldn’t. I usually like to visit with guests instead of cleaning, so that one little step of rinsing the glass goes a long way.
Lauren: To throw their stuff away! This bothers me more than anything else. When we have a lot of people over for a party and are using disposable cups or plates, I with folks would just toss them in the trash versus leaving them on my brand new coffee table…
My favorite thing about hosting is…
Sabrina: I love hosting parties because they are an excuse to make everyone play cheesy party games. I am a homebody so staying in and playing board games is my jam. Any excuse to get everyone over and make them act like a giraffe or elephant (it’s a real game, see it here) is so much fun. I live for introducing people to fun party games.
Mae: I absolutely love hosting people and spending time with friends and family. The best conversations happen and I always sleep well knowing everyone is happy. I guess that’s the expected answer, though, so a little more shallow one is that I love having a clean house. We try to keep our house tidy and clean all the time, but my house is NEVER more put together than when we are about to have company.
Lauren: Honestly, my favorite thing about hosting is doing it with Brandon. I used to have a lot of dinner parties when I was solo and they were fun but there is just something way better about having my partner in crime. Sure, sometimes I get a little crazy and he gets a little annoying (#truth) but we’re both such entertainers and truly enjoy bringing people together together.
The easiest tip I swear by is…
Sabrina: It’s all in the details. I love doing small personalized things like handwriting the name of the dishes or making name cards. Putting up fairy lights and candles gives your home a more cozy feel. We always take off our shoes and encourage our guests to do the same (unless it’s a fancy dinner party and your shoes match your outfit, then.. by all means.) It’s about making people feel comfortable.
Mae: Have some games ready for guests who stay late. We like Apples to Apples, Cards Against Humanity, and just plain old card games. We usually break out a game when a few guests are still hanging around (and planning to stay a little while). It’s a fun way to end an evening and everyone leaves or goes to bed happy. Plus, it seems like a natural end to the evening when the game is over. Not everyone likes games, but we sure do!
Lauren: Make a sangria. I think I make one of these at almost every dinner party or event. It’s cheaper than trying to buy multiple bottles of wine or liquor – I mean it’s basically a grownup punch. My go-to recipe for the holidays: Apple Cider sangria. Just throw in pinot grigio, apple cider, ginger ale, brandy and fresh fruit and herbs (cranberries, apples & rosemary).