Take a deep breath and have a good time.
3. Set a simple table. Once your replies start rolling in, start planning your table. Stay true to the casual expectation you’ve advertised by using fabulous paper plates, disposable napkins and everyday flatware. Next to each place setting, station a tall wine glass and a short water glass, and throughout your tabletop, arrange several glass pitchers of water for everyone to serve themselves. Just before guests arrive, open a few bottles of wine and place them alongside the water pitchers. Sometimes I pour wine into shapely glass decanters and treat them as pseudo centerpieces. 4. Make a menu with what you have. This gets tricky, so pay close attention: Open your fridge and pantry. See what you have. Serve that. If there’s one thing
I’ve learned in my years of hosting, (second to “attitude is everything”), it’s that food is secondary. What people are most excited about is coming over and having fun—food is a bonus. I’ve gotten overzealous a few times, cooking something out of my league, only having to trash it in the end and order emergency pizza instead. Guess what? No one cared. 5. Turn it up! An hour before everyone arrives, throw on a good, upbeat playlist, (I love anything Spanish guitar), uncork the wine, kick off your shoes, apply a little lipstick, and mix yourself a cocktail. Don’t fret about dirty dishes, or when your friend’s new boyfriend breaks a glass. And don’t forget to take a deep breath. These nights are about being thoughtful, not perfect.