3 low-stakes ways to have people over
Big! Fancy! Snacks!
How are you doing over there in your kitchen? Last week, I had a little morning sickness relapse, so I’ve been keeping it very low key in mine. But! Yesterday afternoon, I still managed to have some friends over for a lovely little get together. I was feeling okay, but still not well enough to cook a full-blown meal, so I leaned on a trick I keep tucked up my hostess sleeve at all times: big fancy snacks.
Over the past year-or-so, I’ve hosted upwards of twenty gatherings of one kind or another in my home. And because I write and make content on social media about sharing my home with others, I’ve had the opportunity to put a lot of thought into my hosting style. Do you know about Allison Bornstein’s Three Word Method? It was born in the fashion industry, but I’ve found it useful for nailing down other style-oriented pursuits, like tablescaping, and hosting in general.
As I mention here, the very first word that comes to mind when I think about my hosting style is “unfussy.” And that’s mainly to keep my own stress and social anxiety levels at bay. Having people over can feel very stressful—I know first hand—but I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, setting a relaxed mood for your guest(s) is a surefire way to show them a good time. I’ve found that one of the best ways to keep things in that unfussy, easygoing, relaxed realm is to impose limits on my gatherings.
So today, I present you with my three (current) favorite low-stakes, limited ways to host friends and family at home:
Limit your guest count, host a Micro Dinner Party.
I started hosting them back over the summer and I haven’t stopped. Read about it in detail here, but the basic premise is this: host a full on dinner party, but only invite a single guest. That’s right, this event? It’s a party of two. Keeping things extremely intimate means we’re keeping the stakes and our social anxiety low. Love to see it.
Limit your kitchen time, host a Desperation Dinner Party.
We talked about this one in depth last week, so take a peek here for a detailed how-to, but basically, this is a no-cook dinner party—we’re ordering in! With cooking off your plate, you can really focus on setting a chill mood for your guests and yourself. And if takeout isn’t really your vibe, take a peek at this no-cook dinner party I threw over the summer for a homemade feel without much kitchen time at all.
Limit your scope, host a Big Fancy Snacks Party.
Earlier this week, Pearl Street Caviar was kind enough to send me a beautiful gift that was the perfect excuse to host some friends for a nosh and goss. Or, as I also like to call it, a *Big Fancy Snacks* party. Like the Desperation Dinner Party we just discussed, cooking is definitely not the focus of this gathering. In fact, we’re not really serving a complete meal at all…we’re serving snacks!
Last night, the caviar was the star of the show (fancy!). I served soft boiled eggs (unfortunately, also fancy at the moment), various chips and dips, some crudités, a couple tinned fish favorites, and various tart and briny accoutrements. Here’s another take on the Big Fancy Snacks Party, if you’re looking for menu inspiration for this format.
This is my current favorite format for hosting, because it means I can invite friends over for a 4pm get together, start the prep work just an hour before they arrive, say goodbye to them by 7:30, have the cleanup done by 8, and still make it into bed by 9pm to rest my pregnant bones. Okay, if I’m being honest, being pregnant has very little to do with my early bird bedtime and everything to do with me having the soul of an elderly woman. Anyway, give this one a try, I think you’ll love it too.
Alright, how are we feeling? Ready to get out there and host our little hearts out? Sans the heavy-lifting and social anxiety?! I hope so. But if you’re still feeling overwhelmed, I’d love to help! Let me know what’s getting in your way and I’d be happy to lend a hand—shoot me an email or respond directly to this post in the comments section so we can chat. And as always, I’m wishing you a lovely, well-fed week ahead.