This is one thing that I’ve tried hard to get down pat, and so I will share with you what I’ve learned throughout the years. I’m sure so many other readers can identify with that feeling of anxiety as you’re running around with curlers still in your hair, undressed, plopping things in the oven, putting the milk back in the cupboard instead of the fridge, and stepping on your pets, while making even more of a mess! All of this can be tempered, or even all together avoided.. with a little preparation and self love!
I have one disclaimer. I know it’s going to become blatantly obvious while you are reading this that I do not own children. I mean have children. So there is the disclaimer. I will pretend to know what I am talking about when I suggest you put the kids away in the arts and crafts room you’ve built while you prepare for the event, or invest in a really good baby bjorn, the kind that could withstand a marathon, so take that as you will, and perhaps with a grain of salt, and now continue reading!
Day Before Preparation
There is ALWAYS something you can do the day before a big event, which will really take the stress off you the day of.
Think big things, not little things such as tidying up the newspapers on your coffee table.
- Vacuum and mop your floors
- Clean your bathrooms (that means toilet cleaning duty for my husband)
- Prepare any guest rooms for overnight guests (fresh sheets, candles on the bedside, towels on a chair or on the bed)
- Big time dusting (notice I didn’t say “fluffing”)–shelves, tables, art, candle holders, etc.
- Wipe down cabinets with Murphy’s Oil Soap (you will really notice a difference)
- Sweep front porch/walkway
Food Preparation Tasks
While grocery shopping for your needed ingredients is an obvious, you can also prepare some of your menu items the day before.
- Grocery shop for ALL of your ingredients. Unless you’re wanting to go to the bakery for some fresh bread. Only exception. Each and every time I run out to do the grocery shopping the day of, things don’t go as smoothly.
- Prepare some menu items in advance. Not everything can be prepared in advance, ie: The Thanksgiving Turkey, but here are some things which can: sauces for pasta dishes, including lasagna, salsas, dips such as spinach dip, meat appetizer plate (cover very well), soups (tends to gain flavor!), desserts, doughs ie: pizza/bread dough.
- Set out the serving dishes! This is a major point of contemplation for me. If I have it set ahead of time, ie: I will place my pouff balls in this serving dish and save this one for the charcuterie….it all becomes easier to put together the day of.
Decor/Table Preparation Tasks
Having a dinner party? Why not set your dining table the day before? This will actually give you some time to enjoy the table-scaping process (One of the best parts). Here are some other things to check off your list the day before:
- Insert fresh candles/votives in each and every candle holder. All you will have to do the day of is act like the torch fairy. This is actually a very good job to delegate to a co-host.
- Set up your bar: Display various glasses, assortment of alcohol
- Design centerpieces: I like to spruce up my centerpieces on my kitchen table, and two coffee tables according to the season. Running low on time? Arrange as many candles (various shapes and sizes) as you can, onto a pretty metal or ceramic tray, and voila!
- Spruce up your bathroom: Set up a mini powder room beauty bar for your guests: On a tray or in a shallow basket arrange a bottle of hairspray, a yummy smelling lotion and body spray, and some bobby pins, for example. It’s a really unique way to take care of your guests.
- Take a look at your porch. It’s the first thing that your guests will see. Apart from having swept it, what else can you do? Hang a wreath? Pull that plant you have hanging out in your bedroom and put it on display!
So now you ask, what is left for the day of? With so much taken care of the night before, not too much, except for just bringing it all together… oh yes and taking care of yourself!
- Get some exercise the day of the event. You may ask why? and, how would that be possible? You can always make time even if just for a half hour. It will set you up to have a good energy level the day of, and get those endorphins running.. perfect for entertaining your guests!
- Fluff. Now is the time for fluffing: pillows, duster, vaccuum cleaner, dishes
- DRESS YOURSELF, DO YOUR HAIR, and MAKEUP!–you heard me. Put on your event clothes and so yourself up. Don’t worry, I know you can put on that apron you have in your pantry. Don’t have one? Get one you’ll feel surprisingly masterful. At this point, your heavy duty work is over. All you have to do is some chopping, tossing in the oven and setting out. Think of how stressed you would feel if you were preparing things and thinking, “oh no, I still have to get ready!” If your guests show up early, at least you will be prepared, and you can still entertain them while preparing.
- Prepare and plate your appetizers. Need to keep things warm? Put in your warmed oven.
30 minutes ahead
- Light those candles
- Set out ice/garnishes for your bar
- Set out your appetizers
- Put on some mood music!
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