While some people love hosting a big get-together, you’ve got to admit, the preparation is hard work. When your family is coming over, it can be more difficult, as you have to cater to different age groups and people with different interests, meaning it can be a juggling act. Here’s a guide to planning your family gatherings to avoid stress:
Make a Guest List So You Don’t Leave Anyone Out
Nobody wants to deal with a big dose of family drama because a certain cousin was left off the guest-list for your gathering. If you’re dealing with extended family, then make a list of aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. and whether they have partners or siblings. While Facebook is quite good for sorting out events, family WhatsApp groups are also handy, as people can add others that may have been missed.
Have family who live out of town? Invite them anyway. Even if they can’t come, they’ll be happy you made the effort.
If you’re going the traditional route, send physical invitation cards two to three weeks before the event to make sure everyone has ample time to send their responses. Follow up with emails or phone calls after a week or so to ensure everyone received their invitations.
Get Someone Else to Cater If Possible
Nothing is worse than being stuck in the kitchen of your own home while the party goes on outside. If possible, book a table at a restaurant like The Flintgate, which caters for large groups and is close to your home. You can always do appetizers and welcome drinks at your house. Then after the meal, everyone can come back for games and other entertainment.
If you can’t find anywhere suitable to cater for your crowd, then try not to make the food prep too hard on yourself. In the days before, prep some dishes to feed a crowd such as macaroni and cheese, lasagna or chili and keep them in trays in your fridge or freezer. You can then serve them with lots of simple sides from salad to cornbread. Some family members will no doubt ask if they can contribute, so consider giving them a certain dish to make, as that’s one less thing for you to do.
Set Up a Bar for People to Help Themselves
When people arrive, you’ll no doubt offer them a drink after greeting them and will want to keep their glass topped up throughout the day. However, if you have loads of guests, you’ll start to feel like a waitress. There are lots of articles online that show you how to set up a home bar, although they mostly focus on cocktail making.
Stick to mostly wine and beer for the adults, perhaps with some ice buckets left out for people to help themselves and consider getting some drink dispensers for soft drinks so the kids don’t make a mess. People will like not having to wait around for their host to serve their next drink.
Get as Much as Possible Ready the Night Before
Nothing is worse than rushing around on the morning of a gathering trying to find everything. Whether it’s extra plates or those board games you were going to get out for the kids, find things the night before and put them in organized piles before you go to bed. This will avoid those last-minute trips to the basement to dig around.
Big family gatherings are hard work to pull off, so make sure you’re well organized and spread the labor over a few days if possible, so you don’t greet your guests looking exhausted.