Entertaining with Ease and Elegance with Chef Angela Lowe

Hosting a party should be fun, and that means prepping so that when your guests are there, you can focus on catching up with them and not fussing over things that aren’t done.

It takes practice to entertain while actually being present at your soiree, and if you’re not enjoying yourself, chances are no one else is either. Hosting a party should be fun, and that means prepping so that when your guests are there, you can focus on catching up with them and not fussing over things that aren’t done. Here are some pro-tips for entertaining like a champ and making it look easy.

Make a list.

Itemize all of the things you need to prep—guest list, drinks, music and food—then break it into a timeline. Certain food prep and shopping can be done a few days in advance, but most will need to be done on the day of. (Note: Flowers cannot be done until the day before.) The more you can do beforehand, the better.

Put together a playlist.

Nothing sets up a party for success like well thought out music—it sets the tone for everything. Don’t leave your Spotify playlist on radio (too risky), and do not go the cheap route and allow for those annoying commercials to kill the vibe. If you’re not so musically-minded, employ a cooler friend to curate the perfect backdrop for your party.

Create an icebreaker.

Instead of speaking to your guests individually, try introducing them to one another in a creative way. This creates an ease with everyone and allows them to form their own connections that will last through the night, and maybe even beyond.

Give up perfection.

If you are frazzled, it will make others feel like they need to rescue you. There is no reason to be sweating it out in front of your party goers. A good time is as simple as good conversation and a chill atmosphere. If the cake burns, it is not the end of the world. Order out and call it a day.

Board games equal a good time.

People like the freedom to be dorks. Campy board games make shy people open up and create a tension-free scenario reminiscent of family get-togethers. Some might resist at first, but once it starts, playing becomes addictive.

Everyone loves a gift.

If you are known for bomb cookies, send a cute bag home with your friends. Other ideas include the playlist from the party, homemade granola or a personalized card with a message to each guest telling them exactly what you love about them.

Angela Lowe is a Manhattan-based vegan chef and cheesemaker. She is working on a new series about sustainable vegan living launching soon. She lives with her many rescue animals. Visit her website at chefangelalowe.com.

This column is not a consultation with a medical professional or a licensed nutritionist and should in no way be construed as such or as a substitute for such consultation. Anyone with questions or concerns should seek the advice of a certified professional.