How to be a great hostess

18th October, 2016

A unique table setting such as this gorgeous one from a Myer event I attended can really set the scene for your next get together


I love entertaining and enjoy having people over for a casual weekend BBQ to an intimate dinner party. I’ve also hosted a number of different events for various brands like this one and love playing hostess. Over the years of attending and hosting events, here’s what I’ve learnt about ensuring that any soiree is a success…

Make sure your guests are comfortable

You have to ensure that you gauge what the crowd is going to be like and make it a really comfortable experience from there. I find the more relaxed your guests are the better time they will have. When we have people over at home for example they can have their shoes off so they feel more at home.

Don’t over commit yourself

There’s nothing more stressful than hosting an event only to find that you’re spending all your time in the kitchen trying to prep food. If you’re going to feel stressed preparing an elaborate meal than just don’t do it. For me, I can only cook for a small number of people so if I find it’s a big group I would get it catered or just buy something that can easily be prepared because it’s too overwhelming for me. I’d rather keep the meal relatively simple and enjoy my guests’ company.

You also don’t want to spend your whole time in the kitchen, not only because I’m sure you don’t particularly want to miss the fun by doing that but I always feel when I go to someone’s place and they’re slaving away in the kitchen I feel I have to go help. By doing this you’ll end up having a dinner party where everyone is just working away. It’s not exactly the kind of relaxing and enjoyable evening I’m sure you wanted your guests to have!

Always have food ready to go

As soon as people arrive I always have food available. Even a simple cheese platter for example can help get an event off to a great start as your guests aren’t waiting around (possibly starving!) as they wait for you to finish prepping food. I always like it when I go to an event and you can sit down straight away and eat.

Be attentive

Maintain an eagle like watch over your guests to ensure that no one’s glass is ever empty or no one’s missing out on a particular dish. It’s your job to ensure that everyone is fed and well hydrated.

Prep things in advance

If I’m having people over I make sure I don’t leave everything to the last minute. I’ll try and do prep bit by bit so on the day I feel organised and I’m just pulling together the finishing touches. If there’s anything you can do in advance such as preparing salads for a BBQ the day before or whipping up dessert for a dinner party a few days earlier and popping it in the freezer until the event then do it. I find the less I actually have to do on the day the better.

Pay attention to detail

I always have candles burning in my home when I’m hosting an event as I find it helps to build a really cosy atmosphere. Also, I’ll pop a vase of flowers on the table to give the room a little ambience.

Before people arrive I’ll also make sure that I’ve got all the cutlery and crockery in its place so I’m not rushing around trying to set the table. Being a calm hostess is all in the prep!

Think outside the box

I always try to think of different ways to give an event a unique spin. For example if I were to have a dinner party I’d often consider doing a theme. I may do an Italian feast where each course is an Italian dish paired with Italian wines to really amp up the festive atmosphere. It’s just about elevating the event into something different to make your guests feel special.

What are some of your favourite entertaining tips?

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