With the holidays in full swing, the one thing the three of us love to do equally is hosting our friends and family at our homes. Nina had the pleasure of hosting her annual Thanksgiving dinner at her house, Dipti recently hosted her “South Jersey Holiday Party” at her home, and Sheena is hosting a couple of holiday dinners with her and Sammy’s friends at her house in the coming days. Of course the three of us have completely different hosting styles – from decor to food to ambiance, it’s all completely different!
Sheena as a Host
Sheena tailors her hosting specific to the guest list, depending on whether it is adults only or family friendly. For her adults only events, she likes a more cocktail party style – passed hors d’oeuvres, cocktails, high hat tables, candles, dim lighting and chit chat. Hiring a bartender and waitstaff makes the party less stressful and more enjoyable (ie. more time to wine and dine). Her ideal event is hosting in September, out in the backyard with strung lights from the trees, a fire pit wearing sweaters and boots. She tried that last year and got rained out, so the lights moved indoors, the fire pit happened later in the night when the rain stopped and the guests spent the first half of the party indoors and second half outdoors. For food, she catered passed hors d’oeuvres from Dimple (an Indian restaurant in Edison) to keep it different and tasty. For drinks, she hired a bartender to create fun cocktails and of course keep the liqs flowing. She likes to create the perfect evening for leaving your little tots behind and enjoying some mommy and daddy time.
When her event is family friendly, she prefers to cook (or have home cooked food by her mom) and a beer and wine menu for drinks. When the kids get involved the dynamic changes completely in her hosting ways. She always makes sure the kids are entertained so 1. they don’t get bored and 2. they aren’t bothering the parents the whole time. She usually plans activities for them, has a few games ready and of course has a movie lined up. She ideally likes to have the kids sitting down for movie time just in time for the adults to eat their dinner. The menu is usually simple; pastas, salad and garlic bread – which is a no-brainer for kids and adults alike. These events usually start earlier (around 5pm) and come to an end around 9-10pm when the kids are no longer able to keep it together.
Nina as a Host
Nina likes hosting informal parties at her place, especially after renovating her kitchen. She now feels like there is enough room for everyone to prep their things with ease. She does not mind cooking at home and rather that than ordering out. She usually likes to stick to meal themes so that at least everyone’s dishes go well together (her fav and easiest theme is Mexican!). She usually will let guests bring an appetizer or dessert when they ask, but she likes to handle the main meal. For the kids, it’s usually something simple like mac n’cheese, pizza or pasta. In terms of accommodating the kids, she usually will assign the oldest kids to help watch and entertain the younger kids in the playroom. Rarely ever does the TV get turned on – rather she tells the older ones to come up with games and things to entertain and engage the youngens (this obviously does not include the really little ones who usually end up sticking around where the adults are).
Nina does not really care to decorate as she likes to think that the fun is with the company and chatter. She bought two of these artificial rose balls from TJMaxx (and has seen them at Hobby Lobby) that she puts in tall vases and just moves them around the house to add a little something to whichever area will be utilized the most. She tries to prep as much in advance as possible, but usually will be throwing things together last minute. From BBQs in the back yard to Thanksgiving dinner (her first one!!), parties are usually laid back and people are welcome to eat and drink as they would like… So having areas designated in the kitchen for main meal prep, drinks and desserts definitely helps with this flow. For Thanksgiving, she really wanted all the adults to sit together for dinner, so she added a folding table with a black table cloth and 8 chairs around that to her 10 seater dining table… and laid out the plates and napkins in front of each seat. She had the meal set up in the kitchen as a buffet and so once everyone got their food and were seated, they all ate together… It was perfect! When the “guest list” turns into large party (like Daddy Vaid’s 60th or her Mother in Law’s 60th), she definitely hires a helping hand as keeping the house (esp the kitchen) relatively clean and orderly is a must at all points of the night!
Dipti as a Host
Dipti’s priorities when it comes to hosting are subtle decor, drinks, food, and a light itinerary (no, she’s not a “Monica Geller”). Her house as you probably remember from her home tour, is filled with classy decor pieces that add glam all throughout. She is obsessed with broken mirror work and it’s all over her place! Of course she is about to make some huge changes once D starts making his way into her stuff! At a recent party Dipti decided to use birdcages she had stashed away after her cousin’s wedding and fill them up with Christmas tree ornaments! She got her ornaments from target – they had the best color combinations and the birdcages from random stores like Home Goods, TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and the Christmas Tree Store! For drinks, she knew wine and beer would be a hit for the group so she made sure to be stocked up! She is currently craving red blends and knows most feel the same about them so she got a few of these.
For food, Dipti hates cooking more than anything! If hosting meant cooking, she’d never host a thing in her life! Therefore, she almost always goes the catering route! It’s easy and most of the time seamless when it comes to dinner time! This time she had food for the adults catered and made mac-n-cheese for the kiddos – easy peasy! Finally, due to her hubby always having everything planned, Dipti had to have a light itinerary – she wanted to make sure the kids ate before they got cranky, the food was warm when the adults decided to eat, and there was plenty of time for drinking and mingling! She planned her holiday party so that everyone would come, have tons of appetizers while the kids ran around and acquainted themselves with the play space. Then the kids would eat dinner (with opening their gifts as a bribe to get them to finish their food!) and then they’d open their secret santa gifts. After that the adults would open their gifts while the kids played with their new toys or watched a movie and while the adults’ food warmed up. After the adults ate their dinner and enjoyed some dessert the kids would be a hot mess and it would be the perfect time for everyone to be ready to go! It sounds crazy to plan out but it worked so well and it helped with baby Diav’s schedule too – the parents knew what to expect and were able to plan out D’s food and sleep time accordingly!