May 17, 2012

NIBBLES & SIPS || tips for casual entertaining

Last night was a lovely evening; we had friends over for what was a casual backyard BBQ. We caught up on some gossip, sipped on a cocktail or two and pretty much just chilled out.

Although it was casual, I still had my hostess hat on; no fuss but still styled and comfortable.  Anytime you have guests over it's always important to make them feel welcome and special no matter how casual the fete.

Here are some of my rules to live by for easy and casual entertaining:

No.1 Flowers are still a must, but you can skip the overdone arrangements. Do something simple like tulips in a mason jar or bud vases filled with a single peony - quick but chic

No. 2 Use good dishes, but not "THE good dishes". Paper and plastic almost never have a place, in my mind (unless for kids or moving day). You don’t have to use your wedding china, but use your daily dishes, and maybe mix in some special glassware, it's no extra effort and your guests won't be stuck with a dry cleaning bill after a leaky plate has ruined their fave seersuckers.


No. 3 Make-ahead cocktails are the way to go. Batches of anything, sangria, pimms cup or spiked lemonade are easy to throw together the night before and won't stress you out during the party, no straining, shaking or measuring just pour and guzzle...I mean sip.


No.4 Stay gourmet. There's no reason to serve your guests junk just because it's a casual or impromptu gathering - if you're craving a pogo stick, which believe me I always am, save it for a moment of weakness when you're alone. Meals can still be simple and handheld like burgers, sausages or tacos but choose quality ingredients like specialty cheeses to melt on top, premium beef or artisanal breads and buns.


Entertaining is my passion, whether casual or extravagant, I try to make my guests feel relaxed and special, that's always my number one rule. 

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