Hostess With The (Almost) Mostess
If you had asked me two years ago if I would ever throw a party for 30 people in my home, I would have thought that you were a little insane. I've always felt that our house was an incredible space, but that one of the main drawbacks was that there wasn't that much room for entertaining. Listen, it's not like we have people over that much, but I've always wanted to be the one to volunteer to host a pot luck or have a group of friends over, but my concern has always been that there just wouldn't be enough square footage to squeeze everyone in. (But, where will everyone sit?!?!)
So, it was with great trepidation that I volunteered to host my sister's baby shower and I'm not going to lie, leading up to the event I was stressed. I kept thinking that people would be on top of one another and be miserable, but in the end everyone had an amazing time. I put all the food and alcohol (the KEY) out on our dining table and kitchen counter and even though it was a little tight, people ended up having so much fun and yes, there was plenty of room for everyone to sit. (Which, by the way, I learned that no one does!)
Of course, having one successful party has made me want to throw another. I'm never one to do things on a small scale so I figured I should just jump right in the deep end and I have offered to host Thanksgiving this year! My parents will be in town to see their new granddaughter, so it just made sense to have them come with my sister (and fam) for the big day. We are fairly traditional, so it's going to be the boys watching football while us ladies do the cooking, obviously taking 1,000,000 breaks to snuggle with the baby. It's going to be so much fun for the entire family and given that it's only nine people, it will feel like a breeze compared to the party that I just threw.
For me the fun part of pretty much anything in life is the planning. Some may think it's crazy to plan menus and decor for an event that isn't happening for two months, but I'm all abut the details and I've found that I just really like thinking about them. The prep is the most enjoyable part of any event for me so you know I've already gotten a jump on things. Because we rarely entertain, we have very few linens and such so this has been the perfect excuse to stock up. We are pretty casual people so obviously our Thanksgiving is going to be chill (pi's all day!) but I still want to make the house look a little festive, and this is what I'm thinking.
For the linens I want to go pretty basic ,and I love this frayed edge tablecloth and these napkins from West Elm. I think they will look great with our existing decor and will just elevate it slightly. You know I'm going to need a little brass and I think these napkin rings will be just the right touch to finish off the table settings.
Hands down, the hardest part of any event for me is figuring out what to do about flowers. I swear, it's like I have a mental block when it comes to floral arrangement. I figured if I could at least get two vessels that I love, I could then rely on my go-to book which actually tells you step by step how to make the perfect arrangement. I found these two vases at Michaels and fell in love with their shapes, I think they will look beautiful with the simple table linens and some pretty flowers.
... and then there is the food. That is the piece I'm thinking about now. We don't eat much meat, but of course the bird is the main event. I feel like I may farm this part out to my sister's husband and then try to kill it with the sides. Really, isn't it all about the sides? The ONE thing I know I have to make is this zucchini gratin from Smitten Kitchen. My sister-in-law made it for me years ago and to this day it is one of the best things I have ever eaten. For the rest I was going to leave it to the professionals and basically do everything Ina Garten tells me to do. I found a link to her go-to easy Thanksgiving recipes and I'm thinking that easy may be the way to go. I tend to drink all day during events like this (alllllllll the wine) so I don't want to make anything that is too complicated because I would hate to screw it up.
This is where you all come in! Are there any tried and true recipes that you rely on every Thanksgiving? Any tips on hosting a big dinner in a small space? Our table only eats six so I'm wondering if I should feed the kids first? Is that mean? Any tips you have are greatly appreciated! Also, for those on the fence about throwing a party or a holiday given your space limitations, all I can say is do it! People completely adapt and it's so fun to host. I really am kicking myself for not doing this sooner! Xx
image of my dining room by Sabrina Cole Quinn Photography