There's nothing quite like a good ol' Southern get-together. Whether for a casual backyard barbeque, a reunion, or a family gathering, it's always good food, good friends, and good memories. There's nothing we love more than hosting a get-together! We thought today we'd bring some tips and tricks for you on hosting a memorable Southern-style gathering if you love hosting as much as we do!
The First and Most Important Step
The first and most crucial step for you, as the host or hostess and the guests? Prepare well in advance! The secret to successful entertaining isn't a flawlessly decorated table, matching themed décor, or extravagant multi-course meals; it's about planning. Whether you're gathering on the front porch, having a barbeque, or a formal seated dinner—you get to set the gathering's tone. If you're frazzled and stressed, your guests might be too.
Think ahead and plan for everything you need, including all the prep involved and how to clean it up—then set solutions to make it as easy as possible.
Make a List well in Advance.
Nobody likes having to run out of the house in a frenzy, trying to head to the grocery store in time to pick up that one forgotten ingredient. Nor do you want to have your meal served hours late because you forgot to thaw the chicken.
Avoid frazzling yourself last minute by making a list ahead of time, at least a week or two. Write down all the ingredients you will need, print out recipes, and plan on how to pre-prep to save yourself time, such as chopping vegetables a day or two beforehand or marinating any meat 24-12 hours before the date. Keep track of cook times and compare. Maybe one or two dishes can be cooked at the same temp, same time. Getting organized and having a list will save you time and trouble.
Speaking of well in advance, if you pull out the family china and silver platters, pull them out early to ensure the pieces are still in good condition. If you're going the way of a casual backyard barbeque and figure on saving dishes and time with paper plates, you won't need to worry about the china or platters.
Before the big day, do a dry run of what you envision the party to be like. Will there be music? Play the music and see if it is too loud for conversation or too soft to be heard. Will the decorations (if any) get in the way of eating or guests? Have you made the sweet tea, and is it chilling in the fridge? Is the coffee pot clean and ready to go? If you set up a self-serve station, are the plates and utensils arranged and ready? Have you thawed anything that needs to be thawed? Make sure you've cleared out your dishwasher to make clean-up easy after.
Have Fun, and Don't Worry About the Small Stuff
Save the dirty dishes for last. Don't worry about a sudden rainstorm or whether the cake fell flat or uneven. There's bound to be something that will go a little wrong, and chances are that your guests may not even notice. So smile, set out the biscuits, pour the pre-dinner cocktails, get the sweet tea ready, and enjoy the time, the fun, and the food together.