Throwing a social gathering, a dinner party, in particular, can be all sorts of overwhelming. To begin, it is your responsibility to prepare for the occasion, which means if you don’t have a partner that’s willing to pitch in or you can’t afford to hire some help, you will be the one cooking, cleaning, and decorating. On top of it all, once your guests arrive, you are responsible for making sure everyone has their drink of choice in hand, enough appetizers to go around, and enough entertainment to keep people distracted and out of the kitchen while you balance your role as chef, hostess, and waitress. Are you having second thoughts? Fear not, Lauren Conrad has come to our rescue with the release of her upcoming best seller, Celebrate, which hits shelves Tuesday, March 29. In her latest guide, Conrad shares personal stories and tips on how to throw a successful party and keep things running smoothly—from budgeting your guest list to making sure your company feels socially at ease. If you’re planning an event for the near future and do not consider yourself a pro coordinator, this read was made for you! Scroll below to see our favorite excerpts from the book, plus order your copy now!
Strategize Your Guest List
“Invite guests with a date, if the budget allows. It makes for a better time for everyone. If the budget is tight, be very clear in your invitation so that you don’t find yourself scurrying to set an extra place setting when the guest arrives with a plus one.” (p.15)
Plan a Seasonal Menu
“I’ve said this before, but the seasonality of the food you serve is really important. Using the freshest ingredients will not only help you avoid spending your entire budget at the grocery store, it also lends itself to the best-tasting meal. When products are in season, they always taste (and look) better. And if you have access to a farmers’ market, that’s ideal.” (p.138)
Look to Vintage Finds for Décor
“I’m an avid flea market shopper, so I’ll scour booths looking for antique glass bottles. You’d be amazed at the beautiful vessels that were used in the past to package everyday products…For our dinner party tablescape, I chose a variety of tinted glass bottles and filled them with wispy, brightly colored wildflowers like ranunculus, cosmos, marigolds, and oregano flower.” (p.142)
Prep the Night Before
Start your prep the night before. “Clean and polish the serving ware, flatware, and glassware (especially if it’s ‘special occasion’ tableware that may have collected a bit of dust or rust).” (p.148)
Get the Party Started
“Make certain to greet and introduce partygoers, even if you believe they may have already met. Social gatherings can be intimidating, so do your best to make each guest feel comfortable.” (p.15)
“Oftentimes your guests will arrive with a bottle of wine in hand. Since it’s not always clear whether they intend to share the bottle or if they brought it as a host or hostess gift, just ask whether you should open it up or save it. When in doubt, always ask.” (p.142)
Ready to be the ultimate hostess? Purchase Celebrate below:
Do you find Lauren Conrad’s party planning tips helpful? Let us know in the comments below!