• Sweetbriar Rose

7 Tips for Hosting in Tight Spaces

It's the holiday season, and that likely means hosting parties or events. Most of us likely wish we had a little bit more space for entertaining. Maybe your whole house is small, or perhaps your kitchen is too tight, and you're nervous about having space for food. Whatever the problem, you don't have to let cramped spaces keep you from enjoying the season with friends and family.

While we can't make your home more extensive, we can help with food. Did you know Sweetbriar Rose takes orders and can provide food for an event? Whether you are looking for dessert, like a tray of cookies, a pie, or cupcakes, or want more help in the appetizer or main dish area, give Sweetbriar Rose a call at (830)307-2646.

1. Make Space

Yes, we know you can’t magically make your home bigger. You can, however, rearrange things to create more space. While having your couch through the middle of the living room creates a cozy atmosphere to watch your favorite movie, it is not conducive to hosting a party.

Arranging furniture against the wall for the evening will open up space for guests to mingle. You can even put away some furniture, like ottomans, in another room. Any clutter, like extra items on shelves or a basket with blankets, can easily be moved out of sight to create the feeling of more space.

Consider renting or borrowing folding chairs if you don’t own any. These chairs are smaller than regular chairs generally and can be placed strategically for additional seating. Bring out end tables or similar items from other rooms, so guests have a place to set drinks and food on.

Finally, having a designated place for the jackets, hats, and bags of your guests, preferably in another room, is essential to keeping clutter away.

2. Hide Things

If you are facing a counter-space crisis, put things away you won’t need during the party. Your KitchenAid mixer might be beautiful, but it’s taking up prime real estate. The same goes for your toaster, knife stand, flour and sugar canisters, and more.

A great tip is to hide some of these items that take up space in your bathtub. It sounds silly, but putting things in the tub and shutting the shower curtain will hide items and open up space. You likely won’t be needing the bathtub during the party, but you will need that counter space.

3. Be Creative with Food

If you have cramped quarters, you obviously can’t have a sit-down meal for 50 people. You can, however, invite more people than you have chairs at a table.

Being creative with what you serve will allow you to invite more people. In fact, consider not having a sit-down meal at all! Use your table as a buffet or food center and allow guests to eat freely around the open parts of the house.

Your guests will love catching up with old friends and family they haven’t seen lately and meeting new people. Take a deep breath now knowing there will be spills and invest in a good stain remover.

Do yourself a favor and think about disposable plates and cutlery, as well. A quick trip to Wal-Mart, Hobby Lobby, or another store will yield a variety of plates so adorable guests won't even notice they're paper or plastic. The last thing a small kitchen needs is a sink overflowing with dirty dishes.

4. Plan Ahead and Keep it Simple

There are so many recipes that are appealing and delicious and don't take an enormous amount of work to pull off. Look for recipes that require little prep work or can be prepped a day or two ahead of time.

Limit the number of options you offer, as well. Hit a couple of categories with well-reviewed recipes, and you are good to go. Ensure you have a meat-less option, a savory option, a lighter option (like a cheese and cracker plate), some fruit or veggies, and a dessert. These options are more than enough for the average get-together.

Keep the drinks simple, as well. You don't need to have 32 drink options. Have a non-alcoholic drink, water, and a signature cocktail or wine and beer from which to choose. Chances are some, if not most, guests will be bringing a bottle of wine or a six-pack of beer with them.

5. Ask for (or Accept) Help

No man (or woman) is an island. We’ve all heard this. It is ok to ask for help from friends and family. Ask a few of the guests who are close friends to show up 30 minutes early and help with set up.

And let’s face it, we’re in the South. Likely someone will ask what they can bring. It’s our nature as a good, Southern guest to ask, and it’s our nature as a good, Southern host to refuse. Don’t! Let guests bring a fruit plate, a drink, or whatever you don’t like making.

If there are going to be kids, especially a large group of kids, consider recruiting a teenager to help entertain them. Trust us; parents will be so thankful there are eyes on the kiddos in another room so they can mingle and enjoy themselves.

6. Don’t Be Afraid to Let Things Sit

While it might be tempting to clean things throughout the night as messes are made, try to stop yourself. Unless there’s a serious spill that could ruin the carpet, it’s ok to forget about messes for the evening. Heck, it’s ok to forget about the mess for the night.

During your party, enjoy yourself. Spend time with your guests. They didn’t come to see your back as you are running through the party cleaning or standing at the sink doing dishes. Your guests came to see you.

When the party's over, leave the dishes piled up in the sink, let the overflowing trash sit overnight…the mess will be there in the morning. You worked hard to plan the party and pull it off; you deserve to put your feet up for a little while.

7. Have Fun!

The most essential part--have fun! You did a lot of work for this party. After all the planning, organizing, and preparing, don’t forget to do the enjoying. Parties are not just for the guests.

Your guests will enjoy spending time with you, and you will enjoy the party.

Check out this checklist from Real Simple to help prepare for a party.

If you want help with food for any event you have coming up, let Sweetbriar Rose help. We take orders, give us a call or stop by and talk with our chef. We would love to help take some of the stress off of planning for you!

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