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How to host a brunch

Brunch is that special time between breakfast and lunch that gives you so many party hosting options

By nature, a brunch setting is casual and bright, with hints of formalities. You can host a brunch as early as 10 in the morning or as late as noon. In fact, most brunches are held at the later hour. (scroll down for the rest of this article...)

Many brunches are held the day following a special event; especially when out-of-town guests are staying over. These do not require written invitations; a verbal invite is appropriate.

If you want to just host a special party in the middle of the day, then you probably should send out invitations; hence, a little formality


The invitations themselves should have a casual look and feel. Use a playful font and a fun paper. You do not have to spend a lot on invitations; just shop around for nice papers. If you are planning an outdoorsy setting, look for nature-oriented papers with flecks of color. If you are setting up in a cheery indoor location, then yellows, reds, and oranges will help convey the spirit of the occasion. Add a brief handwritten message at the bottom of the card; not only will it make your guests feel welcomed, it will reiterate the casual tone.

Your menu will be a perfect combination of lunch and breakfast foods. Make them colorful and complementary in flavors. A broiled tomato with cheese melting on top sitting beside Mexican scrambled eggs topped with sprigs of cilantro makes a nice pairing.

Omelets are labor-intensive and should always be prepared to individual tastes. If you are a skilled omelet "chef," create an omelet bar and be prepared to spend a little time in the kitchen; it will be worth the extra trouble when your guests rave over your expertise.

You can expand your menu in a variety of ways: waffles, bacon, breakfast potatoes with flecks of green and red bell peppers, for instance. You can serve so-called fancy food without qualms at a brunch and still call it a casual affair.

Include a soup - hot or cold - and a couple of interesting appetizers. Your main meal could also include salads, a pretty casserole, and thinly sliced meats or poultry. Fish is always a "light" option. For vegetarians, you could prepare roasted or grilled veggies such as sliced squash, zucchini, and thinly sliced onions. Fresh asparagus bundles wrapped in bacon are another mouth-watering choice.

Dessert should also be light and refreshing. Fruit skewers or individual bowls of cubed in-season fruits are colorful and easy to make.

Always have coffee and tea available. Choose a bold breakfast blend and add specialty teas. Iced tea with a thick lemon wedge is a midday must-have.

For stronger libations, be prepared to serve the ever-popular mimosa and Bloody Mary concoctions, as well as the makings for a gin fizz or other sparkly drink. Offer these to your guests as they arrive.

Encourage your guests to help themselves; that's the added benefit of a hosted brunch. You can do as little or as much as you like. As with any party, prepare what you can ahead of time and let your guests join you in the kitchen during last-minute chores or while you are watching the oven or babysitting the cooktop.

Your surroundings should be cheerful with plenty of light. On a cloudy or rainy day, broadcast plenty of light indoors. If you have a back yard gazebo or canopy, by all means use it if the weather is accommodating. You want to encourage a relaxed atmosphere.

A hint of formality returns with place settings. If you are hosting a small group of close friends, bring out your best service. It's all right to pair your fine china with casual place mats and table linens as long as they do not clash.

Take advantage of your brunch to shop for new linens and stylish or fun mats. Depending on your tastes or the reason for the event, anything goes. Feel free to mix and match colors.

Don't forget to change up the décor a little with a fitting centerpiece and fresh flowers in conspicuous places.

Hosting a brunch is much like planning any party, but it is much more conducive to allowing you to be a guest along with the invited ones.

Other helpful brunch and hosting ideas:
How to set up a buffet table
Display food on risers
Party hosting tips






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