You want to invite friends to your home for a gathering – but the idea of planning the perfect soiree is overwhelming. Our suggestion? Keep it relaxed with a low-key night in. A wine night offers an ideal structure, with minimal planning and maximum enjoyment for all. Just follow these steps to make your event one guests will love:
Keep the invite casual: No engraved invitations here! Send a group email or text a week or two before your date, specifying the date, time, and location, along with any other particulars (see next point). Ask for an RSVP so you’ll have a head count.
Make it a group effort. Suggest that your guests bring a bottle of their favorite wine, along with a complementary nibble to share. This not only makes life easier for you as the host, but also assures that your guests have access to food and wine that suits their palates.
Create stations. Set up “wine zones” at your party, designating areas for reds, whites, blushes, and sparkling wines. Purchase a bottle or two for each area to flush out what your guests bring. Provide appetizers that complement the various categories, but keep it simple. This can be as easy as a trip to your local cheese shop for appropriate cheese, bread, and fruit pairings.
Have the necessities. If you’re short on wineglasses, either borrow from friends or pick up inexpensive ones at a store like IKEA. Set out colored pipe cleaners and allow guests to creatively decorate their glass stems for identification, or offer a rainbow of Sharpies (the ink will wash off with soap and water). Consider festive paper plates and napkins to make cleanup a breeze.
Keep it lively. Don’t forget the music, which can set the tone for your gathering. Playlists for wine parties abound online – like this one from Food and Wine.
Stock up on nonalcoholic drinks. Provide an assortment of chilled sparkling waters and juices – it’s important for your guests to stay hydrated, and your designated drivers will thank you.
Assure safe travels. If walking or public transit aren’t practical, make certain that designated drivers are appointed or that provisions have been made for an Uber or Lyft ride home. With just a little basic planning, you can enjoy a warm and festive evening with friends in the comfort of your own home!
PHOTO: UNSPLASH – Scott Warman
Tags: friends, good times, wine