Thursday, June 15, 2017

Tips for Hosting a Stress-Free Event

Gabrielle Here:

A couple weeks ago, I wrote a blog post about practicing hospitality. It took me some time to learn how to relax, but now that I can, I love to host events.

This week I want to share some tips I've learned over the years to lessen the burden and stress of hosting an event.

1. Ask for Help. This one seems like a given, but I've found it's very hard for people to ask for help! I don't know if it's because we want to have the control over how things turn out, or if we don't want to inconvenience people, but many hostesses don't ask for help. What I've discovered is that people love to contribute. When I'm hosting a meal, I almost always provide the meat (whether we grill, or I do something like BBQ pulled pork). Then I ask others to bring the sides to complete the meal. I send out a list of options, such as fruit, salad, veggie platter, chips, drinks, dessert, etc., and ask them to sign up for one (or more) of the items. We always have more than enough food, and the expense is shared among the group. It also allows others to bring the dish that makes them shine.

Everyone contributed to Easter Brunch!
2. Use Paper Products. I love the idea of a nice, sit-down meal, with fancy china and silver (we've done a couple of those), but for the most part, we invite families with children to our house, and often have twenty to forty people here. Not only is paper easier for clean up, but it doesn't break when dropped. I often go to Costco and get the plastic cups with lids and straws, this eliminates the inevitable spills, as well.

Paper & Plastic!
3. Leave the Clean-Up for Later. When I have a house full of people, the last thing I want to do is waste time cleaning up! I can do that when everyone is gone. Often, a friend will want to help, and we'll put away the food that can spoil, do a quick organization of dishes, and maybe toss the trash into the garbage can in the garage--but the rest of it can wait until later. I want to spend my time with my friends, and that's what I do. I find this helps everyone relax.

4. Invite a Good Mix of People. When I'm planning a small get-together, I usually invite my close friends. When I'm planning a little bigger event, I use the opportunity to mix up the company with a wide variety of people. Not only does this make for interesting conversation, but it also allows new friendships and connections to be made. Don't be afraid to invite someone new.

A group of friends, old and new.
5. Cast a Wide Net. This is another tip I learned along the way. In the past, if I wanted a group of about ten, I'd invite just ten people--and have maybe four show up. But schedules are hectic (especially in the summer) and not everyone can come. So, I send out a larger number of invites and tend to get the number of people I feel comfortable to host. If I want to host an event with ten people, I'll probably invite about sixteen. No matter how many come, enjoy those who are there.

In April, some of my friends and family helped
me celebrate my birthday at my favorite restaurant!
6. Be Felxible! No matter how well you plan an event, something usually doesn't go right. Be flexible, relax, and learn from the situation. Maybe next time you'll do something a little different, but this time, allow it to become part of the experience. Laugh it off. You never know, it might become that thing you talk about for years to come.

These are just some of the tips I've learned over the years--there are plenty more! I'd love to hear your tips for hosting events in your home.

I have a winner from last week's giveaway of a copy of Inherited: Unexpected Family! The winner is Karen Rochon. Congrats, Karen. I'll send you an email soon.

Gabrielle Meyer
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  1. Love these tips! You have a real gift of hospitality!

    1. I inherited the gift from my mom. We always had a houseful growing up. :)

  2. My daughter loves to host big groups. Me, not so much. My house is rather small and even smaller after turning our dining room into a bedroom for my mother.

    1. Everyone has a different threshold for how many (and how often) they feel comfortable to entertain. There's no right or wrong number. :)

  3. Thanks for these wonderful tips Gabrielle. Reminds me of the saying that stems from the bible story of when two sisters hosted Jesus in their home: whether you want to be like Martha who fussed about preparations or Mary sat at the Lord's feet. I think if we all learned to relax when planning parties we'd enjoy them more,especially around the holidays!


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