Brunch is the new dinner. What used to be something that was done with people you marginally liked, has become a main event. Unfortunately, because of the popularity of brunch, going out to brunch is hell. God forbid, a restaurant doesn’t have “bottomless mims”
If you enjoy cooking, have adequate space in your apartment and enjoy flexing your Martha muscles, hosting brunch seems like a great idea.
Until you actually host brunch.
There are many guides to hosting, but somehow they don’t seem applicable for our generation. Through my experiences, I’ve amassed a good many tips that may seem counter-intuitive, but will save you grief and ensure that you still have friends afterwards.
Do Everything Yourself
This is the cardinal rule of hosting anything. Most guides advise offloading as much work as you possibly can. Sure, you can do that – if you’re ok with having it done incorrectly, or not at all.
People are notoriously unreliable, even more so on a Sunday morning. We’ve all received the, “Ugh, sorry I’m so hungover I couldn’t xyz” text. At some point, poor foresight and terrible decision making skills have become a legitimate reason not to uphold a commitment.
Just do everything yourself. It’ll get done, and get done on time. Also you won’t have to resist the urge to sock your friend who was supposed to come early to help but instead rolls into your brunch an hour late.
Try to do as much as you can, but understand that you’ll never get as much done as you hoped to – accept it. Move on.
The best menu idea is a “make-your-own whatever”. Always. Be honest, you and all your friends are a “on the side”, “can you substitute…”, “no cheese/bacon/kumquat” type girls. It’s become increasingly difficult to accommodate food sensitivities /preferences when making a single entrée.
Plus everyone loves feeling original. INFINITE COMBINATIONS.
Whenever I hold a brunch, I give adequate notice, usually 3-4 weeks. There are the few wonderful souls who RSVP immediately. Then there are the “no replies”. I understand if you can’t make it, but to me a “no-reply” is a clear, “I’ll make it if nothing better comes up.”
What’s my tip for this? Send out the invite and try not to fly into a rage when people don’t RSVP. Follow up individually with people who have not replied. An adequate head count is important when you’re hosting an event where food will be provided
I hate champagne. Since holding a brunch sans mimosas is blasphemy, I tell everyone to bring champagne or juice.
If there’s something that I don’t eat or like, but I know other people eat it, I’ll ask people to bring it. That way I’m not left with a whole jar of “I don’t eat this shit.”
Forget Your Pinterest Dreams
When you begin planning a brunch, there’s that stage of pinning every single brunch thing ever. Pin away, but realize that you won’t do any of it. Things will get too hectic and you’ll end up buying expensive materials for something you didn’t end up doing.
If you’re intent on dazzling your guests with your pinterest skills – keep it small and easy. Pick something you can do well in advance of your brunch. Like on a Wednesday night, when you told everyone “you had class” to get out of a work happy hour.
Nothing Starts On Time Unless You’re Running Late
Oh your brunch starts at 12:00? No one will show up until 1 PM. You know unless, you have to make 40 crepes and then you haven’t even started. Finish everything on time and use that extra hour to kick back, relax, and paint your nails.
Too Many Smooks in the Kitchen
Guests tend to gravitate towards the most crowded, hectic room. Because it’s a brunch, even if you’re all prepared the finishing touches still mean things in the oven and the fridge. Try to create a work flow pattern that pushes everyone who wants to “help” (bless their hearts), out of the kitchen.
Don’t be afraid to tell them to get out of the kitchen. Seriously.
Have Everyone Else Clean Up
Any considerate host hates to see her guests picking up plates and cleaning. Don’t be a considerate host. By all means, let people clean up.
If you have anything fragile, clean it and put it away immediately. Make sure there’s clean sponges, towels, and dishwashing liquid, then step back. Enjoy.
You Don’t Have to Go Home, But You Can’t Stay Here
There’s an Egyptian saying that my mom would use to describe guests who won’t leave that loosely translates to “his/her as ass heavy”
You should not feel bad about herding people out when brunch has winded down. We’re all busy people here. The most graceful exit is to have an engagement outside of your house, plus it leaves no room for stragglers.