Stress-Free Party Hosting 101

Vintage illustration of a hostess serving cheese and crackers to her guests at a cocktail party; screen print, 1933. --- Image by © GraphicaArtis/Corbis

More than 50 years have passed since Leslie Gore crooned, “It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to.” What if she wasn’t crying about Johnny running off with Judy, but was just overwhelmed by the demands of throwing a party?

Inviting people into your home can incite anxiety in even the most rock-steady host. But if you’re already nervous about your decor, dishes and glassware, a get-together can turn jitters into full-blown panic.

Stop focusing on the negative. There’s great upside to entertaining at home. You don’t have to drive, and you can control the guest list and menu. Brush aside fears of being judged by strangers—these are your friends.

If you’re fun and funky, your mix-and-match esthetic may work. If, however, your cabinets are filled with flea market rejects, invest in a set of white salad plates and decent wine glasses.

Spring is a great time for a party. It’s a long stretch between holidays, and your friends haven’t started their summer trips. Here are three easy wine and food ideas to get you started.

A Trio of Festive Fêtes

Sparkle & Shine


Nothing brings on RSVPs like the promise of sparkling wine. Snag some from California, like the bubblies from Chandon, Iron Horse, Mumm Napa or J Vineyards & Winery. Pair them with smoked salmon, crackers and a plate of triple crème brie.

Malbec & Meat

Host an indoor asado or barbecue using your broiler or grill pan alongside Mendoza Malbec. Look for bottles from Gascón, Ruca Malen, Portillo and Susana Balbo. Serve up sliders on mini buns, or hanger steak on baguette slices.

Think Pink

Cold rosé will make your friends feel like they’re on a yacht in the Mediterranean. Try selections from the South of France: Jean-Luc Colombo, Gérard Bertrand or Whispering Angel. For this at-home getaway, make a buffet-style Niçoise salad featuring greens,  olives, chickpeas, sliced egg and tuna, either canned or freshly seared.

Designer Flair

Present, $325 (includes shipping) from Brancott Estate Heritage Centre
Present, $325 (includes shipping) from Brancott Estate Heritage Centre / Photo courtesy Brancott Estate Heritage Centre

Store your bottles in style with this limited-edition Dror wine rack.

This collapsible, six-bottle storage solution (viewed from above) is modeled after a vineyard installation commissioned by Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc pioneer Brancott Estate. If you can’t make it to the winery’s Heritage Centre in Blenheim, New Zealand to see designer Dror Benshetrit’s planned sculpture, Under/standing, own a countertop version of his design. Production is limited to 500 pieces.

Published on March 28, 2016
Topics: Hosting