Easter to me feels like the real kick off to spring. It’s the first holiday leading into better weather, and an opportunity to get together with family to celebrate. It reminds me of little girls in lace dresses with ankle socks, men in shiny patent leather shoes, and of course, heaping plates of potato salad and ham. I don’t particularly love potato salad or ham. But that’s neither here nor there.
Boyfriend and I typically trek out to various family members’ homes to eat multiple holiday dinners, but this year, we’ve decided to switch it up a bit. Instead of roaming the metro area to cover all our familial bases, I’ll be hosting an Easter brunch. I can’t think of a better time to gather a few family members for a casual yet sophisticated celebration in my new-ish home. I chose to throw a brunch for the obvious reasons. Brunch just suggests casual elegance. Celebratory but not too formal. Special but not too over the top. Also, there’s always day drinking involved, which I obviously love.
So how does one go about hosting a “casually elegant” brunch? There’s only a few things you must do to throw a mostly effortless brunch. Here’s my best insight for success in the special occasion brunch department.
From my experience, a perfectly sized brunch comes in at about ten or so attendees. It’s like a dinner party. Ten people make for great conversation. Ten also makes for a not too overwhelming number of people to feed and entertain at once. Any more than that and you risk turning your casual brunch into a stressful “I can’t wait for these people to get out my house” situation. Send out a nice invitation to your ten or so invitees, maybe even through the good old-fashioned mail service. It’s an unexpected touch, and really makes it feel like a special occasion. Evites also work just fine, no need to be too bourgeois if you don’t feel like it.
Planning out your menu well enough in advance is imperative. There’s nothing worse than a rushed presentation, so put a little thought into it at least a week out. When planning to feed more people than usual, only two things are really important. Does anyone you’ve invited have any nasty food allergies? And, what can you make in advance that won’t require being chained to the stove instead of actually enjoying your guests? Think menu items like sticky buns that rise overnight, or a quiche that can be popped in the oven the morning of. A great plan is to prepare one more involved dish the night before, then a smattering of simpler side dishes the next morning before your guests arrive.
You might be wondering why the drinks weren’t included in the aforementioned Menu section. It’s because they’re so important they rightfully deserve their own section. An awesome option for brunch is a serve yourself drink station. While you’re finishing the final menu pieces, everyone can help themselves to a drink (or two). Stick a few bottles of champagne in a cute ice bucket to chill, and provide orange, cranberry, and grapefruit juices for perfect mimosas. Maybe a nice Rose’. Or if you’re entertaining a more adventurous crowd, provide the ingredients for perfectly unfussy Bloody Mary’s. This way your guests have the option to go alcoholic or keep it rated G.
When entertaining, décor is almost as important as the food. For the purposes of brunch, it’s okay to keep it simple. A nice tablecloth and nice cloth napkins speak to the elegance of the occasion, while nice plates and glasses stacked unassumingly speak to the casualness. It’s a balance. Place a simple vase in the center of your table with some fresh flowers. Done.
Let People Help!
One of the most important things we forget when it comes to entertaining is that it’s totally okay to let people help out. Enlist a guest to bring a bottle of champagne. Let someone else bring the salad. Turning down help is a great host’s downfall. The less you have to do the day of, the better.
I'm uber excited for my Easter brunch, and can't wait to share how it turns out with all of you. Do you all have any other tips for throwing a special occasion brunch?