What Are Your Best Tips for Easy & Stress-free Parties?

For some of us, the idea of "entertaining" is incredibly intimidating. We love the idea of gathering our friends together to share food, as Sara Kate put it so eloquently last week. But we get hung up on the details. What's your best advice for creating a fun and carefree party?

For me, nervousness over how a recipe is going to turn out is my biggest entertaining anxiety. I've been wooed before by a mouthwatering recipe from the latest Bon Appétit, only to be wringing my hands fifteen minutes before guests arrive when it's not turning out quite as expected. For this reason, I totally agree with Leela's #1 tip to make recipes that you've made at least once before.

I also think it helps to only invite people who you know well and don't intimidate you - at least until you get over your entertaining anxieties. Save the future in-laws for another time; best friends will never judge if we end up ordering pizza!

Here are some other great tips we've learned over the years:

Set the Table the Night Before
Use Cloth Napkins
Do One Passed Appetizer
Good Reasons to Serve Food Family Style
End with Tea and Coffee

What are your very best tips for stress-free entertaining?

Related: Sushi to Sliders: 5 Hands-On Dinner Parties

(Image: Emma Christensen)

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