5 Entertaining Mistakes You Don’t Know You’re Making
Few things are as fun as entertaining, especially if you’re like me and you like using your love for cooking as an excuse to get your nearest dearest over to your place to spend time bonding over a good meal and some candlelight. While the days of Downton Abbey-esque rigid dining rules might be gone there are still some dos and don’ts that you can pay attention to to ensure your dinner or party is a success. As for the don’t, you might not even realise that you’re making some of them. Here are some social/ hosting faux pas to avoid the next time you have people over.
Waiting on friends to bring important things
Sure, delegating can be helpful and your guests will probably offer to bring something but that doesn’t mean you can pawn off any major components on them. Firstly, as the host the obligation is usually on you to cater if you’ve sent out the invite, secondly, if they are late or fail to arrive altogether you could find yourself in a very awkward situation. Things like aperitifs, a bottle of wine or some ice are fine, but beyond that try to be as independent as possible.
Being glued to your phone
I get it, we’re all addicted to our phones and we might not even know it. Whether you’re scrolling for the perfect playlist to set the mood, answering that one super important text or taking pictures of whatever you’re putting together in the kitchen, you might be racking up way more screen time than you realise, especially when you’re supposed to be entertaining your friends. Try enforcing a no-phones policy at the dinner table rule and you’ll probably forget about it altogether two minutes in thanks to the incredible company you’re entertaining.
I know this advice is easy to dish out and much more difficult to take, but your guests are more perceptive than you think and you being on edge will probably be more noticeable than you realise. No one likes to feel like they’re the cause of someone’s anxiety and if they can sense that you’re feeling a lot of pressure they will likely feel the same way, which is a sure fire way to ruin the mood. Focus on enjoying yourself, even when the inevitable oopsies happen, and the rest will take care of itself. Even if the worst happens, keep everyone’s wine glasses full and they’ll probably be happy.
Not preparing enough food or drinks
The ultimate hosting faux pas, there is nothing worse than having your guests leave and feeling like they weren’t well catered for. To ensure you have enough to feed the crowd, assess how many dishes you want to serve and what a single person portion would entail. If you’re offering snacks beforehand, you can plan for smaller portions during the main meal. If you’re only serving a main meal aim for around 150–200g of protein per person, 1 cup of pasta and ½ cup of grains, and for vegetables and salads you can use a ¾ cup per person as the rule of thumb. More is more here to be safe if you’re ever unsure, and worst case you can enjoy some delightful leftovers for the next few days.
Serving dinner too late
You’ve probably experienced this yourself as a guest, and few things are as frustrating as arriving to a party at 7pm and only sitting down to eat at 11pm. Hunger does unpleasant things to our mood swings so if you want to avoid cranky guests I would aim for an earlier sit down, that way you and your guests can really enjoy the dishes at your own pace, along with each other’s company.
Cleaning up mid-dinner
Now this one can be a little more tricky to manage, particularly if the space you’re hosting in isn’t huge so you like to clean up in between to ensure the place is well-kept and everyone has space to comfortably move around. Cleaning up too much however might skew a little to the rude side. While guests are seated at the table, remove the appropriate plates after each course, and simply place them on the counter or in the sink. Washing dishes between courses will interrupt conversations and can also either make your guests anxious to help out and lead them away from the table, or make them feel rushed to finish eating and leave altogether.
At the end of the day any party or event your host is going to be defied by one thing, whether you and your guests enjoyed yourself or not. So even if the rice burns, the soup boils over or the ice-cream melts because you forgot to pop it in the freezer, remember that nothing is perfect and you’ll at least get a good story out of it.