Throw a fabulous fete with these totally brilliant tips from entertainer extraordinaire Katie Lee Joel.
HOSTING a get-together doesn’t have to mean spending a ton of cash and slaving away in the kitchen all day. Katie Lee – Cosmo food columnist and author of The Comfort Table — shares her secrets for being the perfect host. Whether you’re having an intimate dinner party or a larger gathering, no one will want to miss your fiesta.
Setting the Mood
1. Try this cheapo and festive decorating trick that Katie uses: Fill vases and hurricane candleholders with fresh cranberries. Stick a sprig of evergreen in the center and place the arrangements around your living room.
2. Pick up some pinecones (free from your backyard or über-cheap at a craft store) and brush a drop of glue over each one. Then dust with silver or gold glitter and place in a large bowl. Use as a centerpiece or on end tables and the coffee table.
3. Make a playlist rather than putting your iPod on random. Katie suggests sticking to upbeat, festive music for cocktail hour and mellow tunes for dinner.
4. You don’t have to deep-clean your pad before a party, but you should stash clutter. Use decorative tins, baskets, and hampers to hide messes. Or if you’re really pressed for time, toss everything in your boudoir and declare that room off-limits.
5. At a dinner party, serve simple comfort foods like meatloaf or fried chicken. They’re crowd-pleasers and don’t require a lot of effort to cook. Plus, Katie claims these atypical main dishes are awesome icebreakers.
6. If you’re pressed for time, pick up a rotisserie chicken and place it on a pretty serving platter. Serve it with a few easy side dishes like steamed veggies or potatoes. Let ‘em think it’s homemade.
7. Go from chips and dip to haute hors d’oeuvres. Pick up some cheeses, olives, salami, and prosciutto from an Italian deli or grocery store. Arrange them on a plate for a quick antipasto platter.
8. Katie swears by her panini grill. Keep jars of roasted red peppers and artichoke hearts on hand. Put the veggies on a piece of bread along with cheese, throw it on the grill, and voilà! Delicious snacks that feel gourmet. Bonus tip: If it’s not a sit-down dinner party, place the bar on the opposite side of the room from the food to encourage mingling.
9. Break out the bubbly, girl! Champagne never goes out of style, and it makes any party feel instantly sophisticated. Prosecco tastes almost as good and costs a fraction of the price.
10. Forgo the full bar and instead serve up one signature cocktail. Katie treats her guests to a big pitcher of sangria.
11. Designated drivers and nondrinkers shouldn’t be forced to drink water all night. Offer them this simple but chic sip Katie loves: club soda with a splash of fruit juice and a few pieces of sliced fruit.