Here are a few of our favourite tips and tricks for hosting a memorable dinner party this summer. Shortcuts included.
Always lots of fresh florals, whatever is in season. Fresh herbs in small jars along the table work well. Your neighbour's hydrangea's will do the trick. Just keep table decor and florals "low and long".
📸: Sasha Mei
Don’t stress about matching dishes and platters. An eclectic mix feels more laid back anyway. When the dining is casual, the rules go out the door. If someone asks why nothing matches, tell them its "ecentrichic".
Lay brown craft paper across a table for a casually finished look―and super-easy cleanup. If you dare to have kids on your guest list, put a box of crayons next to their place setting and let them run wild on the runner.
Keep the menu simple and do as much prep ahead of time as possible. Grilled meats, roasted vegetables, dips, and spreads are all dishes that can be prepped when everyone shows up, and hang out for an hour or two on the counter before meal time.
Take some shortcuts. The goal is to be able to relax and hang out with your guests. To save tons of time, go for the 51% rule. Make sure 51% of the food is homemade and hide the packaging for the other 49%.
📸: Sasha Mei
Pitcher drinks and may we dare say, Barbet, are your friend. Sangria, margaritas, punch, elevated sparkling water (cough.cough)—take a batched approach and let guests help themselves. Less time spent bartending means more time on other things.
Keep bugs off the guest list by placing jars of fresh herbs around and keeping bee-friendly flowers off the table. Place in a few fans for air flow around and make sure there is no standing water anywhere.
Yard Games. Games and activities are a great way to encourage guests to get up, chat, and continue the fun. Nothing beats bocce ball, a classic, for a reason, and things are definitely getting competitive if you break out the cornhole.
Master the party music playlist. Barbet’s own is a great place to start!
The Guest List
For a night no one will forget, invite the following guests...
Chances are they are great to look at, charming, and they always have funny stories about themselves.
The Loveable Bomber
They are cute and quiet, and you can’t imagine they would ever cause trouble, but then they throw a 1-liner at the self-worshipper that immediately puts them in their place and makes you think twice about your first impression gut.
This person appears to have it all together; their life is like a movie, complete with a picket fence and a golden retriever. Then they have a few drinks, and the next thing you know, this is the most interesting, unhinged human at the party who is still dancing on your coffee table at 2 am.
They will either hit on the other guests and up the tension or entertain with their stories of a single human in 2022. The good news is they are probably just stopping by for a quick bite between dates, so you won’t have a late-night lingerer on your hands.
The Self-Proclaimed Sous Chef
This person is like a parrot on your shoulder. Every time you turn around, they are there. They put an apron on before they take their shoes off and call you “Chef.” You might want to step in when they answer the door and tell your kids it’s time for bed.
People feed off of the energy of the host. Your party will most likely not go off without a hitch, but if you take it in stride, no one will know. Your dog probably messed up your well-made bed. Maybe your guests had to chew the soup or drink the mashed potatoes. No one will remember if the energy is happy and lively.
Keep the bar equal. Always have a leaded (alcohol) and unleaded (no alcohol) drink option.
Clean the bathroom. Before guests arrive.
Keep that cheese plate piled high.
Don’t attempt a maiden voyage. It might seem like a good idea to try a new recipe for your guests, but stick with the old tried and true.
When in doubt, order the food and plate it beautifully. Then enjoy the company of your guests.
No one ever said no to a refill. However, treat people who choose not to drink alcohol the same way you would treat the people who do. Are you serving another round of drinks? Offer them another Barbet.
Don't use paper napkins. You are giving adulthood a solid shot here.
Always have takeout boxes on hand. Everyone loves leftovers.
Always have Barbet on hand.