Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A Super-Easy Way to Host a Party

This past weekend I had the honor of hosting a ladies' dessert party while the men and boys were away at a father/son campout. It began at 6:00 PM and everyone was asked to bring a dessert. About 11 or 12 ladies attended and there was lots and lots of chocolate! While we were sitting in the dusk light after we had stuffed ourselves, talking about childbirth and breastfeeding, I asked if any of the women had actually eaten a dinner before they came or was dessert their dinner. Each and every one of them admitted that they had, indeed, not eaten a dinner of any sort. This was to be their dinner! What a female thing to do!

If any among you have a fear of hosting a party, let me give you an idea for a super-easy way to host. Idealistically, here's what I try to do...

1. At least 48 hours before the party, send an email out to the group you would like to have in attendance. In my case, I email every woman in my church group. If there are those who don't have email, they'll need to get a personal call.

2. In the email, state that you are hosting a potluck, state the date and time, and request that everyone in attendance bring a dish, whether it be a main dish, side dish or dessert.

3. The night before the party, send out a quick reminder email.

4. On the day of the party, after cleaning house to your satisfaction, and making a dish yourself, find a place where everyone can place their dish. If there is not room in one place for every dish, have a separate place for desserts or even salads.

5. On a nearby counter, place a stack of plates, a stack of cloth napkins, and a silverware holder, like this one we found at Sam's...


...or you can set the table and place extra dishes on the counter for those who won't fit at the table, as shown in the tablescape photos later in this post.

6. Find a place for a large drink dispenser such as this one...


(We purchased this for under $20)

...and a number of glasses, and fill with ice water or punch right before your guests arrive.

7. Once your guests arrive, simply direct them to the area reserved for the food, and show them where the dishes and seating areas are. If you don't not have enough chairs, guests usually don't mind sitting on couches or benches.

8. Have fun!

A few notes...

-Although emailing is easy, if people in your group do not regularly check their email, they could be left out of the loop.

-Because no one is assigned a particular dish to bring, sometimes things can end up unbalanced, such as too much green salad, or too much dessert and not enough main dish. One way I thought of that might minimize this is to assign people whose last name starts with A-H to bring a main dish, I-R a side dish and, and S-Z a dessert. I haven't really completely thought that out, so there might be some holes in that idea.

-Some might consider that it is too much work to use real dishes rather than paper plates. Let me just tell you that if the guests simply place their dishes in or near the sink, the time it takes to rinse and load into the dishwasher can be minimal. With over 25 people in attendance at the last luncheon I hosted, it took me less than 15 minutes to load the dishwashers. I am lucky to have two of them, but if you only have one, it should take the same amount of time, just at different time intervals. Plus, I like to avoid using anything disposable as much as possible, so I feel good when I use nice dishes and decorative tablescaping.

Here's what I did for the dessert party last week in the courtyard...

The main table, which seated eight...


I used my Mother's Day salad plates on this table because I love the color they add to the tablescape. Because we were just serving dessert, the setting was much simpler than it would have otherwise been...


Next, I set a small wicker table that probably only seats two, but I squeezed three in...


I don't know what I love more, the plates...



...or this Mexican-style pear I purchased for $5.99 at Ross. It is so perfect for my decor!


Last, but not least, there was an adjustable portable table set up for the children...


The surrounding benches were purchased at Albertson's, of all places, for $15 each. Look at this cute monkey detail...


The napkins were folded by the seven-year-old girl and my cousin-in-law's daughter. I think they did a great job!

So there you have it...the way I party! When is your next party? Let me know how it goes!

I am pleased to list this post at...
Between Naps on the Porch's "Tablescape Thursday"
and
The Apron Queen's "Vintage Thingies Thursday".


Go to these blogs and check out everyone else's stuff! You're going to love it!


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11 comments:

abeachcottage said...

love the pear and I love your emailing them idea

I think I might quite like to hold a ladies desert event, sounds like my kinda thing!

happy tablescaping

Sarah
A Beach Cottage

Michelle said...

I love the beverage container. Mine is so big and this one is just right!

Susan @ A Southern Daydreamer said...

All the tables colors blend so nicely! Happy Tablescape Thursday ~ Susan

Shelia said...

Lovely tables and thanks for all of the suggestions!
Be a sweetie,
shelia ;)

Kim @ Manning Family Tree said...

I love the idea of having a dessert only party. Thanks for all the information you provided. very helpful. Your tables all turned out very nice.

ButterYum said...

So many wonderful ideas here!

Sherrie said...

Hi!
I have an award for you. You can pick it up at my place.
http://100sweets.blogspot.com/2009/05/i-got-award.html Have a great evening!

Sherrie

A Touch of Country said...

How fun! I love that mexican pear.

Lynn said...

Great easy hosting ideas! My very favorite parties have been Christmas cookie swaps where, just like you experienced, we all seem to eat extra cookies for our "dinner." :) Thanks for the hosting encouragement.

Blondie's Journal said...

Wonderful ideas here and I love how everything ties in together! If you invited me to an all dessert party, I would be the first one there!!

Have a great holiday weekend!!

xoxo
Jane

Melinda said...

NICE! Dessert Party is a a great idea.