One of the reasons Dave and I were so excited about purchasing our first home last year is that we love to entertain, but previously never had the space to do so. Now that we have a house and huge yard, we have plenty of space to entertain friends and family and host social nights. Today I wanted to share a few of my favorite entertaining tips that we use for get-togethers and that you can use for yours, including having cocktails ready (some of my go-to ingredients are vodka, cranberry juice, 7UP, and lime).
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of 7UP®. The opinions and text are all mine. #7UPUPGRADE #Contest
Prep Food Ahead of Time
Try to have the food as prepared as possible before guests arrive. First of all, this allows guests to start munching on appetizers as soon as they get there. This also ensures you, as the host, won’t be stuck in the kitchen while your guests wait for you. Our go-to is to make something we can throw together in the slow cooker.
Clean As You Go
Obviously, we make sure to have the house clean before guests arrive, but the kitchen is typically still in use with putting the finishing touches on food and drinks. I like to have the dishwasher empty beforehand so I can load dishes as we finish with them throughout the evening.
It would also be wise to make the rounds throughout the get together to pick up glasses, plates, napkins etc. that people are finished using.
Have Plenty of Seating
Regardless of what kind of party it is (all of mine and Dave’s social gatherings tend to be pretty casual), make sure to have enough seating available for everyone. It can be really uncomfortable for someone to get stuck standing all night in someone else’s home. If you don’t already have enough seating, consider rearranging the furniture for the day or picking up some folding chairs. You want people to be comfortable!
Have Cocktails Ready
I want to have drink options available for my guests, but I also don’t necessarily keep a fully-stocked bar all the time. Instead, I typically pick a few drinks that people will be able to choose between, both alcoholic and nonalcoholic. Sometimes I’ll touch base with our guests ahead of time to see what they like to drink, otherwise, I’ll just keep some common favorites on hand.
Some of my go-to ingredients to keep on hand are vodka, cranberry juice, and 7UP, which is one of my favorite combinations (note – I always pick mine up at Hy-Vee®!) I’ll simply do a shot of vodka in a small rocks glass like the one pictured, then add half 7UP, half cranberry juice, and a lime wedge. If you want to kick it up a notch, swap out the original 7UP flavor with 7UP Cherry!
These are also versatile ingredients because you can leave out the cranberry juice for just a vodka and 7UP, or if you’re not drinking alcohol, just stick with 7UP!
Give Your Guests Options
The size of your gathering is going to play a huge factor in determining the layout you go with. For a small get together with just a few people, we’re all hanging out together. For a larger group of friends or family, which we’ve had at our new house once, it’s nice to have some different seating options. One thing I love about our home is the different seating areas. We have the living room with a huge, insanely comfortable U-shaped couch. We also have a den that has another couch and a few recliners. Finally, for nice weather days, we’ve got a great deck with a dining table and additional deck chairs.
A buffet is a great option for a get together like this because people can mingle and settle in wherever they want.
Simple Decor is Okay
Like I mentioned above, mine and Dave’s gatherings are all fairly casual. Because of this, I don’t bother decorating. I’ll typically light some candles around the house and rearrange some pieces in the living room. Despite the formality of the event, I prefer to err on the side of simple.
P.S. Hy-Vee is currently running a Pinterest contest to win a $1,000 Hy-Vee gift card to host your next get-together! You must be 21 or older to enter and located in IA, IL, KS, MN, MO, MS, NE, SD, or WI. All you have to do is:
- Create a Pin Board titled “#MY7UPUPGRADE”
- Pin at least 10 inspirational images or articles that you’d like to use for the next social night. At least five of those images should include 7UP in the image or title!
- All pins must include #MY7UPUPGRADE #Contest in the text.
- Register your board at www.7UP.com/Hy-Vee .
- All qualified entrants will be evaluated by a panel of judges based on creativity and best aligning with the 7UP brand.
Even if you don’t win, the link above includes a coupon at Hy-Vee for a free 6-pack 7.5 oz cans or 8-pack 12 oz bottles of 7UP when you purchased two (valid 2/12-3/11).
What are your favorite entertaining tips?
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