Go Big and Stay Home

By: Jenny Oberhaus


A family are sat in their garden on a summers day, they are having a bqq and drinking wine.

Photo by: SolStock


More and more, the venue folks are opting to book for parties is their own home. And not just for birthdays and traditional holiday dinners. Entertaining at home has flourished for all sorts of events. Check out these easy party ideas that just may give you the perfect excuse to get the gang (or your kid’s gang) together.

Brownie and Book Swap – This soirée can be tweaked to your liking and your lifestyle. Have kids? Make it a children’s book swap. Into great summer reads? Host a beach book swap. Prefer the anticipation of series books? Have a volume swap. The possibilities are nearly endless. Sweeten the pot (literally) by asking guests to bring a batch of their favorite brownies that you can divide and allow guests to take home. Everyone is guaranteed to leave happy with minimal effort or stress on your part. It’s really a win-win event.

Burgers and Brew Bash – Craft beers are all the rage and, well, who doesn’t love a great burger? Combine the two and you have the recipe for a great gathering. Ask guests to bring a 6-pack or two of their favorite brew (or one they’ve always wanted to try) for sharing. Grill up a plate full of patties and provide fun toppings like assorted artisan cheeses, sundried tomato aioli and caramelized onions. Serve beer on brewery-style flight boards and it will feel like a beer-and-burger fest in your own backyard.

Sundae Fun Day – Adults and kids alike will scream for this ice cream party. Hang colorful streamers or paper chains around your indoor or outdoor space to set a fun party mood. Pre-scoop several flavors of ice cream in advance and freeze on a parchment paper-lined sheet tray for easy and fast serving. Crank up some soda fountain-style music from the 50s and 60s, line up an array of toppings and let the party begin!

Wine and Cheese Event – For a more grown-up gathering, invite friends to nibble cheeses and sip well-paired wines. Select no more than four wines and cheese and offer palette-cleansing hors d'oeuvres like pepper-parmesan biscuits, salmon and cream cheese crostinis and fresh fruits. If you’re not sure which cheeses to select, as your cheese monger for guidance on selecting different cheeses that will offer variety and broad appeal. We recommend making your cheese selections before buying your wines as wine variations are easier to come by. Offer guests score cards to rate which wine-and-cheese pairings they like best.

Back-to-School Brunch – Get your mom (or dad!) friends together on a weekday to celebrate the glorious return of school days. Set up a chalk board to welcome guests and top stacks of hard bound books with an apple for an easy décor idea. Mini apple tarts, ruler-scored cheese straws, and a green eggs and ham quiche are a few yummy treats your guests can enjoy. Add watermelon mimosas if you really want to savor the fleeting moments of kid-free summer and – of course – have a coffee bar so everyone can relish an entire, un-interrupted cup while it’s still hot for once.

If these ideas (or even the notion of entertaining) seem like too much, start small. Invite four to six guests until you get the hang of it. Or team up with a friend and co-host. Dividing and conquering is a great way to see to all the details without feeling overwhelmed. Either way, the point of entertaining is to have a good time and enjoy the company of your friends, so kick back, relax and have a blast.

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