How to host a low-stress party or get-together

Over the weekend, I hosted a Mother’s Day brunch for my family. Rather than going up to Maine again, I thought it would be fun to have them come down here and let me (and my sister- she was a big help!) do the brunch get-together. My parents are notorious for bringing down ample amounts of food, drinks (ie: wine) and presents and even though I told them not to do that this time, what did they do? Bring down lots of food and drinks and presents. They are too good to us!


Since the brunch was super easy to put together, I thought I’d share what I did in hopes it might help you host your next get-together stress free!

Plan out your menu in advance

In addition to planning out the menu, write down what ingredients each dish requires so you can be prepared to shop for what you need.


Shop in advance

I never like to leave my food shopping trip for the day of or even the night before because I’m always afraid they won’t have what I need, especially if it’s something that the stores tend to run light on (kale, for instance). It’s also less stressful shopping in advance because you know that even if you don’t get everything in that one trip, you have plenty of time to go to another store to get what you need.

Prep what you can in advance

There are lots of “prep” things that need to get done when hosting a get-together, but the great thing is that not everything needs to be done the day of. I made my muffins the day before because I knew they would keep fine for the next day. I also cut up all the veggies and fruit early in the morning so that I was ready to put everything together when my parents got here.


Keep it simple

It may sound like a great idea to put together a fancy dish or meal that you’ve seen on Pinterest or from Martha Stewart, but trust me- it’s always going to be more work than you think it will be. I wanted to do a crepe bar, but decided to skip that because it was going to require a lot of ingredients and a lot of prep work. By picking a few main items for the brunch, it allows those to shine. I skipped out on apps, too, because I wanted them to eat the brunch and not fill up ahead of time with crackers and cheese or something like that.


Ask for help

I know I’m guilty of always wanting to do everything on my own and not ask for help, but I’ve learned that’s like an open door for unwelcomed stress to come in. You don’t have to ask for a lot of help, but if someone offers to bring wine or a side dish or to come early and help you prep the food, graciously say “ok, that would be great. Thanks!”. My sister came over an hour before my parents were due here and it was so nice to have another set of hands.

Don’t expect everything to turn out perfectly

Things happen. Things get forgotten. Things don’t turn out as well as you hoped. And you know what? That’s ok! No one will even notice… especially if you keep their glasses full 😉

Enjoy yourself

Pour yourself a cocktail before everyone gets there and be excited to be hosting a gathering! If they see you relaxed and happy, they will fall in line, too. No one likes to see a stressed host!


 Questions for you: Do you like to play hostess and host various gatherings? Do you tend to go fancy or keep it simple? What’s something you do to stay stress-free?


4 thoughts on “How to host a low-stress party or get-together

  1. Kim says:

    I love hosting stuff – I go back and forth – sometimes simple and other times I get carried away. I usually always make new dishes – but I also include a couple of staples just in case. I especially like your tip to have a cocktail while working – always!!!

  2. suzanne gagnon says:

    Hi Nick, You did an awesome job of hosting my Mother’s Day Brunch–I’ve been bragging about it since! I have to admit, I had a hard time staying out of the kitchen, running the show, but the champagne did help with this!! Having hosted many, many parties, from small to 100 people, my advice is to keep up with the clean-up, chat with everyone, make people feel welcome, drink wine(pace yourself!!), and never stop moving around to make sure everything is going smoothly. Mom

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