You’re prepping to host a party, running to the store to pick up last minute items, forgetting an ingredient or two along the way, and frantically sending someone to the store before guests arrive and it’s too late. Sound familiar?

We’ve all been there before, and let’s face it, prepping a four course meal for a group of twelve just isn’t as simple as it used to be. Some of us can’t cook like our mothers and grandmothers. Others have jam-packed schedules and can barely manage to whip up a salad for dinner.

Is there a simpler way to host a party? The answer is yes. And we can all cheers to that!

Food Bars can be created from pre-made items you pick up at your local market or make from scratch – you, perfect host, you! Either way, assembling a Food Bar can be much easier than hosting a formal sit-down dinner with a few easy steps.

Think Ahead 
Anything you can accomplish ahead of time will save you time and stress the day of your party. If you’re a ‘make-it-from-scratch’ host, chop, marinade, and pre-bake as much as you can beforehand. Picking up items from your local market? Be sure to do your shopping at least one day prior to your party, and understand the cooking + baking directions prior to the day of your party.

Don’t Over-Think It
Your guests may be picky, and it’s likely that they won’t indulge in multiples of every dish you prepare. If you struggle with figuring out how much is enough and how much it too much, this guide will help.

Label Everything
Save yourself from repeating yourself by utilizing a labeling system. Our favorite way to do this is with our Porcelain Place Cards. (The best part? They are reusable! Wipe clean and use over and over again.)

Incorporate Lighter Options
No one likes to leave a party feeling like they’ve over-indulged or eaten way too much. Be sure to incorporate some lighter options in your spread so that your guests can opt for a healthier version of that delicious fried hors d’oeuvre you’ve prepared!

Create a Display to Impress
You’ve worked hard to prepare food (and cocktails, of course!), now it’s time to start thinking display. Our biggest suggestion? Utilize tiered serving pieces. Displaying each dish at the same level creates a look the eye will scan over. Guests will have a clear view of each dish you’ve prepared by using a multi-tiered display instead.

Hosting a ‘Make Your Own’ Food Bar? Plan for Cooking. 
‘Make Your Own’ Food Bars are growing in popularity, and it’s easy to see why. As a host, your role prior to the party is simply prepping ingredients, and your guests assemble their very own dish! Some of our favorites include ‘Make Your Own Pizza Bar’, or ‘Make Your Own Taco Bar’, or even ‘Make Your Own Margarita Bar’. Whatever type of ‘Make Your Own’ Bar you create, be sure to plan for cooking! Tip: Be sure to prep several appetizers for your guests to munch on while they’re waiting on their creations to cook! 

Now, who’s running to their local market to pick up a few pre-mades for this weekend’s soiree?