Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Nothing Says Labor Day like a BBQ

In an effort to have one last hurrah before summer was officially over, Josh and I hosted a BBQ that also served as a house warming party. We lucked out with the weather. It was beautiful outside and we were able to grill and hang out on the patio. Many of our friends and family were there and the day was great. We officially survived our first BBQ and had no negative run-ins with Ralph! All and all it was a success.

To get ready for the huge crowd we had, we bought a LOT of food thanks to our bulk shopping trip.

We then baked cupcakes in cones and brownies all morning. The house smelled delicious!

After the baking was done, Josh dug in and made a ton of hamburgers, veggie burgers, hot dogs, chicken, pasta salad, and cut up some fruit while I organized the house, pulled out serving pieces, and cleaned and set up the patio. We made a pretty good team. Unfortunately, we did not take pictures of this part of the day...or of the actual BBQ. But it was a blast! The late afternoon was filled with tons and tons of food, desserts, drinks, friends, family, and fun.

It was a great day and the perfect way to kick off entertaining in our new house. I can't wait to have more get-togethers and parties. It makes our house feel more like a home and allows us to do something nice for our friends who we love so much...even if, when the party is over, our house winds up looking like this:

Hosting a lot of people is not easy, but with a little organization and forethought any party can go off without a hitch. Here are my top 10 tips for hosting a party. (Many of these tips come from both my mom and aunt. They are masters at hosting parties)

  1. Plan your menu 1-2 weeks in advance. It will help you stay organized.
  2. Find out if your guests have any food allergies or dietary restrictions to ensure that everyone has something to eat.
  3. Assign your guests to each bring a dish to avoid having 7 bottles of wine and no salad.
  4. Lists are your best friend. Make a shopping list, a to-do list, and a day of list. They will help you stay organized.
  5. Shop for all non-perishables and anything else you can in advance to cut down on things to do as the date gets closer.
  6. Prep as much of the food in advance as possible. Are you catching the theme? The more you do in advance, the less stressful the day of is.
  7. Set the table a few days before the party to make sure you have enough dishes, serving pieces, utensils, tablecloths, napkins, candlesticks, and other decorations. Just don't set the table so far in advance that the dishes get dusty!
  8. Give yourself lots of extra time on the day of the party. Getting ready always takes a little longer than you think it will. If for some reason you don't need the extra time, then you have time to relax.
  9. Take a minute for yourself. Review your lists, change your outfit, put your feet up, and breathe.
  10. Once your guests arrive, stop worrying about anything and everything. If you don't have fun at your party, your guests won't either.

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