I don’t think I’m alone on his “brunch is awesome” thing. There is just something about hosting a meal betwixt the usual meal times that is both sophisticated and relaxed. Also, it gives one an excuse to drink frothy drinks with fancy names such as “mimosa” and “Bellini.”
Send an Invitation. A Real Invitation.
I know you’ve read it before, but nothing sets the tone for a party like a printed and mailed invitation. Brunch is usually relaxed, but you don’t want people to show up in their pajamas! Or maybe you do; that is definitely the type of thing you convey with your invitation.
Snazzy Up the Space
Whether you choose to host brunch at a venue or in your home, add some festive flair to the décor. No need to go big (unless you want to!); a few touches will take a space from ordinary to celebratory.
Start by setting the table. Just as real invitations give an event import, real place settings give it class. Nix paper and plastic in favor of silver and glass. Super savvy hosts will up the ante with tablecloths, chargers, and place cards. Feel free to mix and match colors and patterns. Nothing has to match; it just has to “go together.”
Windows and walls. There is a reason banners and bunting have become party décor staples: they are festive, easy, and inexpensive. Create artful swags just about anywhere including walls, ceilings, mantles, and chair backs. They come in every color palette and pattern so they’re the perfect way to tie together mix-and-match table settings.
Overachievers. Additional decorations serve as visual icing on the cake (or syrup on the pancake, if you prefer). Think chalkboard food labels, centerpieces, and paper straws. Don’t forget about the little touches you can also send home with your guests. Candles always add a little something even in the late morning. I advise against using scented candles as they can overpower the other tasty aromas.
I find if you invite people for brunch they expect to be fed. If you book a venue for your party, food prep is reduced to the act of pointing at the items on the menu you’d like to have served. However, even late sleepers can prepare all sorts of tasties without having to rise with the sun.
Raise the bar. When it comes to bars at a brunch, the more the merrier! You need a juice bar, a Bloody Mary bar, an omelet bar, a waffle bar, a coffee bar… See where this is going? Serving at stations instead of buffet style has two major benefits. First, everyone can get to their favorite dish faster. Second, it keeps the party moving and guests mingling.
Make ahead There are any number of brunch foods you can prepare in advance, sometimes up to a week! For items that have to be baked, you can do all the prep work 12 to 48 hours in advance, then pop them in the oven the day of. Not only do you get to hit snooze, but you also get the added bonus of making your home smell like freshly-baked goods just as guests start showing up!
Cater to every taste. When you say “brunch,” I think “coffee and mimosas!” Then, I think about pancakes, French toast, and blueberry muffins. When you mention brunch to my husband, he’ll probably start deciding whether he wants an omelet or steak and eggs. We’ll both want potatoes of some sort. The point is, some people like savory foods and some like sweet.* Try to have something for everyone (at separate stations, of course).
*A bigger consideration here is making sure you have edibles for guests with food sensitivities or allergies.
All that Jazz. If invitations set the tone, music sets the mood. Choose well. Chic but relaxed is the brunch vibe, so you probably want to leave Nirvana for later in the day. Also throw out the Chicken Dance -- no seriously, throw it out. While you’re at it, turn down the volume. Background music is nice, but when people have to compete with it, conversation quickly turns into cacophony and that is anything but chic or relaxed. To hit the right note, stick to classic Rat Pack era tunes, big band numbers, or instrumental pieces.
See why brunch is my favorite? It is essentially a great party you don’t have to lose sleep over. Get more ideas from Brooklyn Limestone, Atypical Type A, and Kara’s Party Ideas.
Photo Credits: Cooking Channel, Girlin Gear Studio, Dinner Series, Hotel du Vin & Bistro, and Better Homes & Gardens.