To kick off 2015, we skipped the big midnight fete and opted instead to host an informal New Year's brunch for friends and family. While there was some pre-party prep involved, for the most part this was one of our easiest gatherings yet - made simple by two build-your own stations we set up in the dining/bar area of our home. Our best parties are always those where guests participate in some form or another and to be honest, my favorite celebratory activities have always been - food and drink.
You guys, set up and clean up was so seamless and the cost was so minimal, I had to share our strategy with you so that you too can host an impromptu party you will have the budget and energy to enjoy.
No rules really apply here. Just keep in mind that the more options you lay out, the more fun it will be for your guests. Remember, we eat with our eyes first! Much of what we displayed we already had in our pantry or fridge. We did some chopping and prepping of garnishes, but the most difficult part of this set up was organizing the condiments and toppings to allow easy access for all.
A Bloody Mary bar allows non-drinkers to build their own cocktail as well, though we had other non-alcoholic options on hand also.
Be sure to keep a trash can close at hand for discarded drink garnishes (everyone likes a fresh glass!) and periodically check ice both in the bucket and on any seafood you have at the bar. We like to use highball glasses when making Bloody Marys, so that is what we offered. We also used our stack of ceramic dinner party plates still unpacked from Thanksgiving and Christmas. As a suggestion: empty the dishwasher before guests arrive and encourage them to toss their plate in the dishwasher when done. I ran a load mid-party and had very little clean up as a result.
One of the things that added to the fun was seeing all the clever creations our friends would make from what we had laid out for them. There were competitions and dares (and of course, Instagram photos to prove it) to see who could come up with the most loaded glass (and then drink it all down). The bagel buffet was replenished when needed and was well preserved on a cool California morning, while we all sat fireside, visiting and talking about vacations and plans for the upcoming year.