Though I wouldn't call myself a "reluctant entertainer," I am a reluctant party planner. Which means parties are most often afterthoughts, pulled together via text, made in the moment I discover friends are around and without plans, rather than thoughtfully put on the calendar months before. I'd much rather live on a whim than on a schedule. But being a free spirit doesn't have to mean unbeautiful entertaining.
1. Always keep 2 bottles of wine in the pantry.
No need to play bartender all night. Just pop the cork on a few bottles of wine, guests can pour their own drinks. And you can settle in and enjoy them.
2. Buy pretty party platters whenever you find them.
Gather great crowd-sized kitchen gear, so you've got everything on hand when parties happen. Nothing worse than planning a perfect menu, only to realize that your daily dinnerware is too small for your big party dreams.
The oversized Madeira XL Cutting Board is a must-have. 20" huge with beautiful edge-grain teak makes a beautiful base for party planners and cheeseboards. Top it with the Sparq Cedar Condiment Trio and the center of your table just begs guests to gather round.
3. Know how to build a $20 Cheeseboard in 20 minutes.
Last minute parties usually mean limited time to craft a menu. So I've learned to lean on giant cheese platters as a low-key main. Once supplies are gathered, you can pull out all the fixins and arrange in 20 minutes or less. Though it's easy to go over the top with party platters (all the prosciutto! all the cheeses!), it's possible to build a beautiful, inexpensive cheese board on a dime.
A few quick tips:
So here's the budget breakdown for my $20 cheeseboard: $8 in cheeses + $2 crackers + $3 olives + $3 pecans + $1 blackberries + $3 grapes = $20.
To round out the party table, I grabbed a bunch of flowers from the grocery store, popped them in a mason jar and peppered the table with blossoms. We added a few homegrown herbs to the edges of the platter, as well. A little greenery on the plate or table is a great way to add a welcoming vibe.
Have you create a $20 Cheese Platter of your own? We'd love to see it! Upload a photo to Instagram and tag us @theinspiredhome_com #INSPIREDhome.