Being a great party host is about more than just providing good food and entertainment. It's about connecting with the people in your life. Your friends and family came to celebrate with you. So, if all your time is spent cooking, cleaning, serving and refilling, you may be denying them the quality time with you that they came for in the first place.
All that said, the real key to throwing a great party is planning ahead so both you and your guests can enjoy the festivities.
Tips and Tricks to Turn Your Kitchen Into Party Central
From family meals to big celebrations, your kitchen can be central to your party's good vibe. Here are a few tips to help make hosting your next gathering a piece of cake.
Consider crowd flow
Before setting up or decorating for the party, take some time to think about where you want your guests to hang out and how they will move around your designated party space. Making sure that there's plenty of room for everyone to maneuver will help maintain a care-free and upbeat atmosphere. You may want to move some furniture around to achieve this. As a general rule of thumb, Better Homes & Gardens recommends leaving at least thirty inches between furniture pieces.
When you're ready to set up, store all of the items that you won't need for the party up and out of the way. If you have a kitchen island, it is a great place to keep items in reach without cluttering up the room.Pro Tip: Set-up stations for plates, napkins and utensils in a few locations around your food stations. This can help avoid the formation of long lines and bottlenecks.
...speaking of kitchen islands
Your kitchen island can serve double-duty as a bar, buffet or both! Whatever it's ultimate role at the party is, keep in mind the flow of the room. Since during most events guests tend to gather around food and refreshments, you may want to consider strategically placing small dishes with appetizers and/or snack foods in a few locations around the party space. This can help prevent overcrowding around your island. You may also want to consider creating a few, smaller beverage stations as well, to keep drinks easily accessible to everyone.
Gnome Tip: Don't have a kitchen island? High-top and cocktail tables make great alternatives, plus they provide a place for your guests to set drinks down, nibble on snacks, and chat with other guests.
Add Height to Displays
Concerned about an overcrowded buffet? Don't be afraid to get creative and think vertically. For example, instead of spreading out widthwise when setting out food, add height to a serving station using stacked cake stands, cloches or plates elevated on blocks or books. (You can place those blocks or books under a tablecloth to camouflage them.) Display your forks, knives and spoons standing up in glasses or cups. Fill oversized, long-stemmed cocktail or wine glasses with toppings, snacks or candy. This can help you fit more items in a small area.
Gnome Tip: Large bowls and deep dishes can be filled with ice and used under any food trays that need to stay chilled in your food service area.
Parties are more enjoyable when things are easy to serve and eat. So, choose finger foods and dip-worthy items that people can grab without having to open, slice, spread or cut up. Finger foods also help reduce the overall waste and dishes from an event, allowing you to stay more focused on your guests, with less time spent emptying trash cans.
Gnome Tip: Wondering how much food you'll need to prepare? Here are some helpful suggested serving sizes from Taste of Home.
If you love hosting gatherings at home and would like to make your kitchen a beautiful showplace for guests, schedule an appointment with Kitchen Magic today. Our design consultants will personalize your experience and work with you on ways to incorporate both stylish and functional elements in your home.