Spring Hosting | Your guide to a vibrant and delicious dinner party

Hello Spring, thank you for bringing us a sense of calm, sunlight and the "it's almost summer" optimism we oh so desperately were in need of. Spring is without a doubt one of our favourite seasons here at the Flo & Frankie HQ, crisp mornings with warm Summer-esque days, without the humidity, gives us a hit of revitalisation for the months leading up to Christmas. 

Spring is a time when we find ourselves emerging from Winter hibernation with an inherent need to socialise and make the most of these longer days appearing before us! With an abundance of friends and family to see before the chaos of the years-end hits, we suggest hosting a long lunch or dinner party for your nearest and dearest. 

While we know hosting may not be for everyone, if you are tossing up whether or not to put on a soiree of sorts, we've put together a guide to not only get you through Spring hosting, but to ensure you are the hostess with the mostest. 

Read below to discover our must-have items, go-to cookbooks and simple tricks to ensure the day of is as stress-free, fun and delicious as possible!

Table setting by Rachel Claire

Key Considerations for the host:

In our experience, even the most perfectly planned long lunch or dinner party never goes to plan. From cooking times, guest arrivals (and drama) to environmental factors. When hosting a spring get-together we cannot stress enough that you need to be able to go with the flow and accept it if everything that could go wrong does. At the end of the day hosting get-togethers like this is all about fun, food and the love you have for the people around you... the best part is we are living in the 21st century so there's always Uber Eats!!

But to ease the pains that may occur we've created a timeline to help reduce the chances of anything going awry. From guest invitations and dietary requirements to when to prep the food and the easiest recipes to be a Masterchef with minimal effort.

One - Two weeks before:

Curate your guest list and send out an invitation whether this is by text message, group message, Facebook event etc. Get inviting! (Make sure you have enough dishes and cutlery to serve everyone!)

Once those RSVPs start filtering in, check in with all confirmed guests about their dietary requirements! - You need this so you can start compiling easy and delicious recipes!

Decide on an aesthetic and atmosphere for the day/evening. Pick up candles and any décor aside from flowers you’ll want.

Plan your menu, keeping in mind what ingredients are in season and what can be prepared a day before the party. - Below we have some of our favourite recipe books we always rely on when hosting... Plus links to some of our recipe reveals which are sure to impress!

Plan what your dishes will be served in... Are you missing anything? Think of big serving bowls and boards, and how they will be served onto everyone's plates!

The Setting & Aesthetic:

A crisp tablecloth is sure to be your best friend and your best base to ensure no matter your vibe your artistic expression will be the main feature. They're also perfect if you end up using a few different tables to fit your guests!

Cute glassware that doesn't match is a great way to add some personality to your setting but also if you don't have enough glassware it's a great way to make it part of the aesthetic! The same goes for your plates and serveware, mixing and matching creates a fun and unique vibe for the food to really do the talking.

Now the trick which is always successful in making any setting feel complete and look elevated is adding character with fresh flowers and simple candles.

The Menu:

Keep it simple. Hosting can be stressful, especially if you are trying out a complex three-course meal you've never cooked before. Stick to what you know and what you can prepare in advance so you, as the host, can also sit back and enjoy the day or evening ahead with your friends and family.

Our top cookbooks we rely on time in time out for absolutely mouthwatering yet easy-to-make recipes are:

Salad by Two Raw Sisters

- Miss Polly's Kitchen by Polly Markus

- Feel Good by Melissa Hemsley

Mezze by Ghillie Basan

- Wabi-Sabi Welcome by Julie Pointer Adams

These books are perfect for creating a family-style feast! Have all your dishes served along the centre of your table and allow your guests to serve up as much or as little as they like from your offering. Not only does this reduce stress on your end as you aren't having to serve each individual person but it also encourages a more relaxed and fun environment for all involved!

Two days before:

Write a shopping list of all the ingredients you need for each dish, and go pick up all the ingredients. If you're supplying beverages, ensure you pick this up and have all the tools you need to serve them i.e. corkscrew. If attendees are bringing their own drinks, ensure you have all the tools to help them open any bottle they may have i.e. bottle opener, corkscrew etc.

One day before:

Fill your ice trays up and if you have room in the freezer, go out and purchase a couple of bags of ice and keep them in the freezer until your guests arrive - use as needed. 

Make or find a playlist, or two, for the day/evening so the mood and vibes are sorted ahead of time! If you don't have time in the morning of, pick up your fresh flowers today!

Plan the order of dishes to prepare and make for the day of - Having a plan of attack heading into the day helps to ensure you don't miss anything and everything is cooked and prepared on time! 

Top tip: Have some snacks prepared so if you're running behind you can keep guests satiated until your dishes are ready.

Day of:

Firstly, make sure you have a water bottle on hand and snacks for you to eat! You'll want to be hydrated and well-fed throughout the day so you can stay focused and in good spirits ahead of your guest's arrival.

Start preparing your dishes in the order you planned yesterday. Set up your table and decorations when you have or need a break from your food preparations! 

A couple of hours before your guests are planned to arrive, put out snacks and drinks, press play on your playlist and go get ready for the day or evening ahead! Pour yourself a glass of wine (or your beverage of choice!) and take a moment to relax into what will be a fun-filled gathering ahead.

Finish cooking and preparing your dishes as needed and enjoy being the host of your first dinner party!

For some dish inspiration | Check out our recipe reveals from our blogs below:

With love,

Flo Family xx

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