Hosting used to mean putting on a fancy dress, spending a day in the kitchen, and cultivating polite discussion among friends or acquaintances. Today's parties are often no different, especially when thrown as retro revelry, but modern hosting has evolved to include a variety of duties to suit every party and lifestyle. Instead of relying on outdated hosting advice, use this guide and a few new kitchen and dining essentials to craft contemporary celebrations.
Party styles: Parties have expanded to include a wide range of styles. When thinking about having people over, keep your options open to create the best event for you and your friends. You already know that sit-down dinners with stylish dinnerware are intimate, and cocktail parties full of gleaming modern barware allow you to cater to a much larger group, but don't feel confined to these two traditional models. Tea parties, dances, and video game parties offer you a variety of ways to socialize.
Themes: Your theme should match your party style. A theme doesn't have to be over-the-top, but it can guide you when choosing food, drinks, decorations, and invitations. Make it a vintage soiree, a chic city cocktail party, a rustic dinner party, or even a disco in space.
Food: Planning for and preparing the food is easily one of the most daunting parts of throwing a party. Make it easy on yourself by making sure you have the right appliances and serving trays. Start by choosing one main dish and just a few side dishes. Too many options just leaves you exhausted and your guests overwhelmed. If you're preparing the food yourself, make sure that at least half of the dishes can be made ahead of time or put together with very little prep work or assembly. Provide at least one vegetarian option and one dessert to keep guests happy all night long.
Drinks: Drinks are the best part of any great party. Beer and wine are the easiest to serve. A few oversized containers filled with ice keep bottles of beer and white wine cold and accessible. If you choose cocktails, consider allowing guests to make their own drinks. You can even write recipes on a chalkboard above the ingredients to inspire guests to become their own best bartenders. Don't forget to have sodas, water, and coffee available, too. If the event is for a younger crowd, include a festive non-alcoholic drink on the menu that also goes along with the party's theme.
Invitations: If you're tired of boring social media invites, then consider going back to printed invitations. Physical invites are much better at conveying the theme of the party with plenty of charm. If mailing each invitation seems too tedious, you can easily share a scanned image of it with friends and family through email and social media.