Last year, I FINALLY was able to host one of my favorite holidays - Easter. To be fair, I enjoy all holidays and hosting, but something about the pastel colors, big home-cooked Sunday meal, stuffing an Easter basket full of goodies for my husband (and now my son), it all just makes my heart happy.
In order to smoothly orchestrate, planning is essential; the worst thing I can imagine (in my hostess mind), is setting the table the day of and being a chair or napkin short, not having a spice necessary to finish a dish, etc. Here are my five tips to planning ahead so you aren’t behind on Easter Day with all your guests (im)patiently waiting to eat dinner.
Lock in your guestlist. Is Grandma coming? Is your sister bringing her boyfriend? These are important questions to ask. For example, my dining room table only comfortably seats 8, any more than that and I need to pull out my buffet to use as an extension. This means not only plan for seating, but dinnerware, dishes, etc well in advance.
Plan your tablescape decor early. If you want to purchase from the elusive (and beloved) Target Dollarspot, you need to start now. My tablescape always consists of a themed runner, fun accent plate, coordinating napkins, and in the case of Easter, themed glassware. (Stay tuned for my Easter tablescape, I will be sharing soon!). I have learned to purchase early and keep the receipts. If I decide I don’t like the items, find I need more and can’t find the extra 2 cups I need, etc I can always return. But do you know what’s impossible? Trying to find 8 egg shaped accent plates that all match the week before Easter.
Create a menu. I like to plan my menu weeks in advance; this includes collecting recipes in a central location (for me, a Pinterest board), creating a master shopping list of ingredients needed, and figuring out what your guests may be bringing. Once I have my menu set, I will then slowly start purchasing items. I like to do it this way, particularly non-perishables, so that I don’t feel the pain of the 500 item grocery haul all at once.
Prep the night before. Let me say it again, PREP ANYTHING YOU CAN THE NIGHT BEFORE. I spend the Saturday before any major holiday I’m hosting cooking/prepping and setting my table. I like to take it one step further and completely prep everything so that I can pull the crockpot/pan out of the fridge the morning of and it is ready to be cooked.
Keep it easy. If it can be cooked in a crockpot, make it in a crockpot. And use these disposable liners. Trust me, you will not want to stand on your feet for hours doing dishes after you’ve spent the better part of the day cooking and hosting. If desserts aren’t your thing, buy a cake from your local bakery. If there are things you can do to lessen your stress level, DO THEM. If that means your guests enjoy a lovely cake that might not have been handbaked by you, that is perfectly fine.
If you start your planning early, you will have a much less stressful holiday. Do you have any tricks for planning ahead?