Menus & Entertaining

7 tips for modern hostessing

©iStockphoto.com/lisegagne Author: Canadian Living Credits: ©iStockphoto.com/lisegagne

Menus & Entertaining

7 tips for modern hostessing

Corey Mintz, author of the forthcoming How to Host a Dinner Party, and Sara Angel, Toronto foodie, student and mom, share their simple tips for hostessing. Even the hostess will enjoy the party (really)!

Invitations: Email, telephone, 
text – fit the method of communication to the person and don't worry about etiquette. 
If your great-aunt is a paper invite type, then get a stamp. If your new yoga friend is a chronic texter, grab her attention that way.

Who to invite?: Common ground (whether professional, geographical or political) helps, but sometimes opposites attract. A mix of personality types works best: If there's an alpha, make sure there's an introvert. Two of either can upset the dynamics.

Divide and conquer: Make a plan and a list. If you have a partner or a good friend, share the labour. One of you can do the dessert and one of you the main, or some variation thereof. Control freaks must cede.

Prepare in advance: The novice host does it all the same day; the expert breaks it down to one dish a day over the course of a week. Tailor your menu to food that can sit; try briskets, baked dishes and sides that require only reheating. Double portions and freeze half for the next party. And set the table the night before.

Arrival: Within five minutes, coats are off, introductions have been made and drinks are in hand. Give most of your attention to the people you know the least. The new boyfriend of your best friend is feeling anxious off the bat; offer him some extra time.

Don't go!: Don't leave your guests until they've been settled for a half hour and the mirth is underway. After that, discreetly rise to take that dish you prepared on Tuesday out of the oven.

Never a good idea: Entertaining just to get a return invitation.

Hostessing a party is easier than it sounds! Check out how to host a party without stress!

This story was originally titled "Tips For Modern Hostessing" in the June 2013 issue.

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7 tips for modern hostessing

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