Make your next soiree a stress-free one.

| By Sangeeta Kocharekar | Entertainment

6 Entertaining Mistakes I’ve Made (And How Not to Repeat Them)

Make your next soiree a stress-free one.

One of my favourite ways to catch up with friends is to throw a dinner party or brunch. It’s an opportunity for me to be creative with cooking and table décor, and often a chance for me to introduce friends from different social circles – plus, I love the resulting Instagram content.

However, I’ll be the first to admit I’ve come a long way from when I first started entertaining a few years ago! My family hosted countless dinner parties when I was growing up, but when I first attempted to host my own, I soon realised I had forgotten everything I knew about them.

So, if you're like I used to be (clueless), or if you consider yourself a 'hosting pro' and are keen to elevate your dinner party game, here are some of the entertaining mistakes I’ve made, and lessons I've learnt since starting my hosting journey.

Mistake #1: Starting to cook when people arrive

One of my biggest entertaining regrets was when I attempted to serve a whole head of cauliflower without realising how long it would take to cook. I spent the entirety of the dinner party in the kitchen, constantly checking the oven, and wasn't able to plate up until 9:30pm. And even then, the cauliflower wasn’t fully cooked!

My advice? Gather your ingredients and prepare whatever you can in advance; try chopping up food or making parts of a dish such as a sauce or gravy. Doing this will also add to the anticipation of the event – which is often better than the event itself!

Mistake #2: Trying to make a new dish

When I first started hosting, I thought having people over was the perfect opportunity to test out my cooking. So, I would often make dishes I had never made before. After one too many times of serving guests food that was barely edible, I soon realised this wasn't a good use of my time, or my guests. Now, if I want to make a dish for the first time, I practice making it beforehand, or I stick to cooking what I know.

Mistake #3: Having no cohesion

Having a themed event sounds complicated – at least that’s what I thought until I tried it. Once you set the theme, it’ll help guide the food and décor. One of my favourite themed dinner parties was when I decided to throw an Amalfi Coast-themed dinner party in winter, when it seemed like everyone else was in Europe. I even set up a projector playing YouTube clips of the coastline, and served Italian food – bellisimo!

Mistake #5: Not focusing on details

Another mistake? Not caring about the details, which I now realise are key. Now when I go to other people’s events, I realise how much they help to set the scene and that's what people remember. Beautiful fresh flowers, name cards – even if they’re just written on scraps of paper – a projector set up with images tying in with the theme. If you want to host an event that’ll forever remain a pleasant memory, pay attention to the details!

Mistake #6: Thinking I’d get it right at the start

Finally, a mistake I made when entertaining which applies to life in general: I thought I’d be a pro from the start. I thought with barely any entertaining experience, I’d somehow still leave my guests blown away, and I wouldn’t make a single mistake. As I’ve mentioned, this wasn’t the case. But after each event I held, I reflected on what I could’ve done better, and I put that into practice for the next one.

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