10 Tips for Hosting an Unforgettable Brunch
Guest List and BudgetBefore you go sending out that group text to your big group of friends inviting them to your brunch of the century, you need to figure out a few logistical items first. The most important challenge is deciding how many people you can sit comfortably and how many you can cram in family style. You’d hate to invite 10 people and only have room in your apartment for six, so think of your seating arrangement. If you have more friends than spots, it can be a challenge of figuring out who makes the cut. Next important question to ask yourself is how much you want to spend on food hosting brunch. Setting a rough budget ahead of time can give you a realistic goal for your menu as well.
Let’em SleepWhether you hang out with a late-night, rowdy crowd or a more relaxed crew, you should let them sleep in. Don’t plan your brunch at 9 a.m. or 10 a.m. because you’ll either have people sleep through or show up in a less-than-happy mood. The best time for brunch is to shoot for noon; this gives you the opportunity to do some prep stuff in the morning without having to wake up before the rooster crows and also, you can throw in some lunch items to truly make it a menu of breakfast and lunch.
Plan your MenuOnce you know your guest list and rough budget, you can start the fun part of planning what to serve for brunch. As you probably know, it’s important to balance your menu with sweet AND savory items to satisfy the taste buds of all in attendance. There is a plethora of recipes and ideas to find online and there are a couple of different approaches you can take to building your menu. The first option is choosing to do a bunch of small dishes, similar to tapas. This allows you to try out all those Instagram and Pinterest recipes that you’ve been saving over the years. The other option is making just one main dish with some side dishes, similar to a traditional meal. This is less labor-intensive and can save you some money on buying a bunch of different ingredients. However, if you are looking to blow any brunch out of the water, you’ll want to choose foods that showcase your kitchen skills as well as leave your guests asking for the recipe.
Lay out your brunch table the night beforeThis may seem like a silly thing to do, but it does help. It helps you visualize the space better, saves you time in the morning and it can be a good opportunity to add a few brunch decorations to add a little atmosphere to the delicious spread of food and company. Picking up some flowers and putting them in little mason jars are a fun, festive way to add some color and charm to your table settings or the find a cheap, cute accent idea to try out for yourself. While no one will complain that your table isn’t set and decorated for a Great Gatsby party, but doing so will definitely be noticed.
Utilize BakingBaking is often underutilized and when it comes to hosting a brunch party, it can truly make your life easier. The baking recipes for breakfast and brunch items are endless and the best part is that they can be made ahead of time; the day or night before. Almost all baked recipes can be reheated very easily, and no one will know that you didn’t pull it fresh out of the oven that morning. You’d be amazed at the number of brunch foods that can be made in the oven including everything from cinnamon roll variations to hash brown casseroles and wonderful egg dishes. Try to shoot for a menu that most can be prepped the day or night before and save one dish that is best done fresh either on the stove or in the oven because trying to be a multi-tasking master chef on a time crunch the morning of is almost always a recipe for disaster.
Ask your BFF to come early to helpThere is never any shame in asking for help, especially from your best friend. Whether they are an Iron Chef in the kitchen or just another set of hands and eyes, ask the one friend you can always count on to come over prior to the scheduled festivities to alleviate some stress and lend a hand.
Pancakes are a No-GoLife is too short to default to pancakes at your own brunch party. Even if you have all the toppings in the world, there are so many better options to choose for your main sweet dish. Cinnamon rolls, muffins, homemade donuts, or my personal recommendation is a baked French toast casserole of some sorts.
Never Skip EggsWhile your first thought might be, “We don’t need eggs,” fight it. I’m not saying that you should do up a big pan of boring, plain scrambled eggs. Don’t do omelets either. Instead, build on the oven recommendation and try your hand at a baked egg dish like a frittata or strata. The flavor, simplicity, and variety of ingredients really make choosing a recipe from those dish types an excellent choice.
Food RestrictionsBeing considerate was a golden rule in the school and it still applies in adulthood. When it comes to being a brunch host, ask your guests if they have any food allergies, intolerances or dietary restrictions. It’d be pretty lonely for a vegetarian friend to snack on a cinnamon roll while everyone else indulges in a meat-filled egg dish as their entrée. This is a good question to ask when you are figuring out what to serve for your brunch party. Common ones include:
- Peanut allergy
- Lactose intolerant
- Gluten intolerant
If You Forget Something, NEVER let it be the CocktailsTrying to get your friends to show up for free food may not be as easy as you think, but the promise of alcohol may be a very motivating incentive. Is brunch really brunch without a Bloody Mary, mimosa or a Bellini? Keep the available drinks to just a few because you don’t want to be playing bartender all during the party hours. Your classic must-have staples would be:
- Good Bloody Mary’s with some toppers
- Tequila Sunrise
- Prosecco mimosa
- Prosecco Bellini