25 April 2019

Easy ways to host a family get together

Family garden meal

Summer is the perfect opportunity to gather your family and friends and host a get-together to enjoy great food, the warm weather and each other’s company. However, as you get older tasks may become more strenuous. There are many ways to make life easier such as installing a UK stairlift, and, when it comes to hosting, following some easy tips. Read on to find out how you can host a get-together without the stress. 

Don’t do everything yourself

When you’re the host, it can be easy to take on too much responsibility. Remember, that other people may be eager to bring along items for everyone to enjoy such as food, drinks or games. Many people will never turn up to an event empty handed so make the most of this and suggest items to bring.

Beth from Frenzied Hostess created a blog about her advice and stories about being a busy hostess, from initial planning and organising to tips on what to do on the day. We asked Beth to share her top tip for hosting an easy get-together: “Assign everyone something to bring or clean if you don't want to do it all yourself. I hear so many complaints about lazy family members not wanting to help! If everyone knows they're participating from the get-go you don't have an excuse to whine about each other and you can spend more time having fun.”

Jo from Lifestyle Fifty, a lifestyle blog that aims to empower older women, tells us her advice to make hosting less stressful: “Be organised. Delegate tasks. Ask other people to bring a plate. Don't try to do everything yourself. From your side, prepare food which you have tried and tested previously, and which can be prepared in advance.”

What to do for food and drink

smoked salmon canapes


Food and drink are a key factor for any event, but you don’t have to overcomplicate it. Avoid cooking the main meal for everyone and instead focus on providing snacks and nibbles. Pamela from Over 50 Feeling 40 a lifestyle and fashion blog, be reveals her biggest challenge when hosting get-togethers: “keep different ages happy. I want to serve food which will cover toddlers to seniors! I always plan something extra special fun for the little ones. Plus, I want to select a serving time that will not cut into nap times for the kids.”

A food-platter looks great and gives the impression that a lot of effort has been made, when really, they are quick and simple to create. For any children attending, layout biscuits, a variation of crisps, cheese and pineapple sticks and popcorn. It’s also a good idea to buy plastic cups and to put next to jugs of water and squash.

For the adults, great ideas for food include slicing cucumber, carrots and celery and then accompany them with dips such as humous. You can also buy a pot of olives, lay them out in a bowl and add a few cocktail sticks to them for people to enjoy. If you have more time on your hands, buy a packet of blinis that you can cover in cream cheese and top with smoked salmon, they’re easy to make but look very sophisticated. 

Jo from Lifestyle Fifty comments: “My top tip for hosting a family get-together is to keep things simple so that you have time to spend with the family and you are not running around worrying about cooking complicated or untested recipes.”

Older man using a BBQ


A BBQ is also a great idea for a get-together. Assign someone the task of overseeing the cooking (someone usually enjoys it), and just add a plate full of bread rolls and some sauces to the side, and people will enjoy a hearty meal with next to no effort. This is also a great excuse to get everyone socialising in the garden and helps avoid a messy kitchen.

When it comes to the drink for the adults, this is where you could assign guests to bring a bottle of something for everyone to enjoy. It will save you the trouble of carrying heavy bags from the supermarket and it will create a mixture of drinks for everyone to choose from.

Subtle ways that you can make it seem you went to a lot more effort than you did include, adding slices of fruit to jugs of water to make them look ‘fancy’. Also, cooking loads of delicious frozen party food but presenting them neatly on top of a bed of salad makes them look fresher. Beth from the Frenzied Hostess continues: “Think of make-ahead recipes for food or buy pre-made dishes from the supermarket.”

Should you decorate?

Bunting decorating a garden

You may think that with hosting comes decorating, but it is one of the least important parts. Concentrate on making your home tidy enough for people to navigate and socialise easily, however, if you’re struggling to make the space then ask one of your guests to help you move kitchen chairs out into the garden.

Beth from The Frenzied Hostess agrees: “Remember that no one truly cares about decorations. They're fun to ooh and aah but be honest. When was the last time you and your friends reminisced about party decorations instead of the funny things people said or did? Just have fun and surround yourself with people who want to have a good time.”

If you do want to give your home a bit of a revamp for the occasion, we have a few easy tricks to decorate without the stress. Over the course of a few weeks, keep any empty jars or bottles, go to the garden and snip a few flowers to add to them on the day of the event. Another tip is to use cake stands to present your food and it’ll instantly look fancier. In the garden, you could add bunting to anywhere you can reach, even if it’s just along a bench, and this will make your place look party-ready.


children reading on the grass


Forget jugglers and magicians, the best entertainment at a get-together is the conversations. However, to add to the atmosphere it’s a good idea to put some music on in the background. Use your favourite CD or a ready-made playlist that will stay on for hours in the background. If you’re worried about people running out of conversation, ask people to arrive with a party game idea.

To keep any children attending entertained, it’s a great idea to lay out a few board games. If you don’t have any, let the parents know to bring any games along with them. If you’re hosting the party in the garden, then layout a few picnic blankets and children’s books.

Quick tips for hosting

  • Get everyone involved
  • Avoid cooking the main meal and focus on snacks
  • Keep the party in the garden to prevent a mess in your home
  • Assign someone in charge of the BBQ
  • Ask the guests to bring a bottle of drink
  • Don’t worry too much about decorating
  • Add flowers to empty jars and place around your home
  • Use cake stands to present food
  • Play background music
  • Layout picnic blankets in the garden