Apr 8, 2008

A Good Hostess is Always Prepared

If there is nothing else I can share it is always be prepared. As a little girl I learned this very important trait from my mother. If your nose was running she had a tissue, if you had a headache she had a pill, if your feet hurt-God bless her she had a Dr. Scholl's pad, all in her pocketbook no less.

And to this day, whenever she comes to my house she brings her own Lysol wipes, dish towels, she even brings a pre-made sandwich and salad (as if I wasn't going to feed her), in her trusty pocketbook.

This woman taught me early on that a great hostess and a well kept home is a sign of gracious woman. She instilled in me that you can accomplish all that you need with a good plan.

Here's how good home training and good ol' experience helped me plan my daughter's Christening recently:

I typically am out of the house by 8:30 am and usually not back in until 7:30/8pm. This type of schedule does not lend itself to a whole lot of running around for my personal stuff before or after work. So I've taken to being really strategic during my lunch hour and utilizing family and friends to cover my ground to get things done (there is no need to be a superhero-ask for help-teamwork is your friend).

Additionally, we had just had a death in our family and then the pastor of the church had a death in his family so the date for the Christening kept getting pushed back. I actually thought by the time we were able to do it, my daughter would walk up to the altar and dip herself in the holy water :-) Nevertheless, the day was beautiful and all worked out, here's how I did it.

1. Since the Christening was right around Easter, I benefited from all of these great seasonal items in the discount stores in an array of beautiful girly colors like pink and yellow . I didn't lament too much about spending money on these seasonal items since the colors could work perfectly with multiple events for my daughter throughtout the years (even Mother's Day!).

2. To save costs elsewhere however, (since I had spent on the lovely platters/cups/etc.) I decided to send and evite vs. spend money on printing and postage.

3. I planned what was going to be served 2 weeks in advance and stocked up on the necessary dry goods a week in advance. TIP: This working mom typically shops for her groceries on the weekend or online. I do not have time to do it during the week. I like to go early in the morning when produce is first put out and fresh. When I order online I can arrange for it to come to my house when I'm home (whoever thought of tht is genius...hello?!) and when the guy gets there I almost always can convince him to bring the boxes up the flight of stairs.

4. We had the Christening in Queens and the Brunch immediately following so I couldn't cook. I decided to cater from a local restaurant TIP: Do not use your guests as guinea pigs. Try the restaurant out in advance or get a recommendation from people you know. The last thing you want to do is order from a place that no one can vouch for.. I scheduled the food to arrive about 30 minutes before we got home from the church TIP: in this type of situation ask a good friend to come to your house to receive the food and set it up so you are ready to go-I did.

5. Cocktails anyone? Nothing takes the edge off or makes people forget they are actually waiting for food like a good cocktail. We created guava bellinis which were pink in color (like my seasonal dishes) and passed those out so everyone could relax while they waited the few minutes for the food. TIP: The night before remember to chill your champagnes and white wines if you have them.

6. We moved my old dining room table (which doesn't really fit in my kitchen normally but works great as a buffet table during a party) out of storage and pre-set it the night before so all we had to do it drop the food in when it arrived and we were ready to go.TIP: If you are using a sterno to heat your food- have you food delivered close to the time when you are going to eat it that way its already hot/warm and you don't have to make your guests wait even longer to eat. 

7. Favors/Gifts: Everyone loves a keepsake. We ordered cookies from a local bakery. They boxed them up in cardboard boxes with pink graphic paper and put created hangtags on them with the date and name of my daughter...so cute and delicious too (Yeah, I tried the bakery in advance as well). Bonus!

8. Pictures: Always take pictures of your guests and your parties. People love to be reminded of good time especially when there is sentiment attached to it. Its so easy to share photos these days too with all these online photo and video share websites.

9. Overall, everyone had a good time. I recruited a few people to help clean up so I wasn't doing it all by myself. TIP: Speaking of cleaning up- I hired a cleaning lady the day before the event as a special treat to myself to make sure the house was spic and span. It was more about knowing this was taken care of and that I could focus on something else. I was glad we had finally celebrated my daughter and glad our close family and friends were able to share in our special day.

Smooches Hot Chicks!

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