8 Tips to Help You Prepare for Hosting Easter
In many households around the world, there are two big dinners every year: Christmas and Easter. For just about everyone on that list, a big Easter meal is a great way to spend quality time with friends and family, but hosting is a nuanced art form — you want to be sure that the dinner flows naturally and is enjoyable for all the guests. If this is the first Easter dinner that you have hosted for your family, you may be feeling a little overwhelmed.
From the guest list to the menu, from the Easter linens to activities for the kids, Easter dinner requires a lot of legwork. Luckily, there are a lot of things that you can do ahead of time to prepare for the big day. These tips will help you to feel ready for the big dinner so that you can enjoy the beautiful meal with your loved ones.
1. Make a Timeline
Before the dinner begins to approach, sit down and create a comprehensive timeline. One of the most fool-proof tactics for avoiding dinner party-related stress is to start ahead of time.
Begin with the actual dinner and work backward to help you get an idea of how much time you will need to give yourself in order to comfortably get everything done. This will also help you decide what tasks need to be done ahead of time and how much time you may need for each task.
It's recommended that you invite guests no less than three weeks ahead of time. If you always host Easter dinner, you should send everyone a quick reminder about the time and whether or not people need to bring anything. By telling family and friends to bring certain things, you can also divvy up your grocery shopping list.
2. Keep the Guest List Manageable
When making a guest list for your Easter dinner, don’t let your eyes get bigger than your table. While it may seem fun to invite all of your aunts, uncles, second cousins, and friends, it’s no fun for guests to be standing around with nowhere to sit.
Thinking about how many people your table can seat and then inviting one or two more guests makes for less stress at Easter. If this doesn’t feel complete, designate a card table or coffee table as the “kids table” to clear up a couple of extra seats at the big table.
3. Take Inventory of Necessities You Need to Borrow or Purchase
Once you have your guest list set, you can take an inventory of silverware, linens, and chairs. In general, mixing and matching flatware and dishes is a trendy move, so don’t be nervous if you don’t have enough of one set of dishes.
Make sure that you have enough serving dishes and utensils, especially if you plan on doing a buffet-style dinner.
4. Make Sure Your Menu Accommodates Dietary Restrictions
When designing an Easter dinner menu, it can feel tempting to go for the ham or lamb and nothing else. It's important to remember that some of your guests may be vegan or vegetarian though, so you may want to consider including a protein that accommodates those eating styles, too. If you've hosted events with the same group of people before, it's easy to know if anyone has allergies.
A savory galette or quiche is a great way to accommodate vegetarians. To please the vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free crowds all in one fell swoop, a yummy blended soup, like a bright and zingy ginger carrot soup, is a great option.
5. Iron Your Linens in Advance
Linen napkins will automatically elevate the mood of a dinner party. Save the paper napkins for the kids table, and incorporate linen napkins into your main table decoration. If you want to add a touch of design to the table, try coordinating your napkins and dishes.
If you want to use white linens for napkins and the tablecloth, plan on getting them dry cleaned before and after the dinner. This will make sure that the linens enter and exit your dinner party unscathed.
6. Set the Table the Day Before
Setting the table ahead of time will reduce stress levels on the day of the dinner. Getting the table set ahead of time will also give you time to rearrange it or change it up a bit after you’ve had time to think about it.
Setting the table ahead of time will also ensure that you have enough dishes, glasses, and flatware for all of your guests. You can also include seating assignments if you are inviting a lot of extended family to encourage mingling.
7. Streamline the Decor
Use your table centerpiece as the focal point of your decoration, and keep everything else relatively simple. It's recommended that you choose a color palette in order to avoid feeling cluttered. Choose a pastel or a light hue to focus on spring and the weather warming up.
Have kids help you decorate hard boiled eggs the day before, and incorporate the eggs into your centerpiece to give your party a homey feel.
8. Send the Kids Outside
No matter how much planning you do ahead of time, you may still scramble to get everything done before Easter dinner. Have someone who isn't cooking plan an Easter egg hunt for the little kids so you can get them out of the kitchen when final dinner preparations are taking place.
Sending the guests outside for an Easter egg hunt will also give the host a little time to tidy up or change before dinner. Use this time as the calm-before-the-storm so you can take a few deep breaths and hydrate before the craziness starts again.
Sit Back, Relax, and Enjoy Your Meal
When all is said and done, Easter is a time for enjoying a delicious meal with family and friends. Don't stress about the small things, and make sure to enjoy the time with one another. Planning ahead of time will help you relax and enjoy hosting Easter.