If you’re lucky enough to snag an invitation to a dinner party hosted by Rachel Zoe and her husband Rodger Berman, you know it’s going to be chic. The major celeb stylist and designer can match linens and china as well as she can belts and (Balenciaga) bags.
“We love entertaining, we always have,” Zoe says. “Now we tend to do brunches and holidays, but before we had kids we would have 25 people over and do really fun dinner parties.” (Cue visions of mingling with Zoe’s A-list BFFs like Jessica Alba and Nicole Richie.)
And whether Zoe and Berman are pulling together a swanky cocktail reception or throwing a birthday party for their kids, they know that putting their guests’ needs first is the key to success.
Keep reading for Zoe and Berman’s top 3 tips for stress-free entertaining at home.
1. Prep everything in advance
“I found in the beginning that I was never in the room when I was entertaining,” Zoe says. “The old, traditional way of having dinner parties is that the hostess is in the kitchen—and it’s awful.”
To ensure she actually gets to spend time with her guests, Zoe has her food ready to go ahead of the start time. “You really have to make sure that everything is prepped as much as humanly possible before everyone comes,” she says. “Then all you’re actually doing is heating it just before you serve it.”
Berman shares a brilliant trick Zoe uses to make this possible: “Typically Rachel serves room-temperature food—things that don’t need to be hot.”
“You really have to make sure that everything is prepped as much as humanly possible before everyone comes.”
2. Have plenty of food
More than burning the main course or dealing with party crashers, Berman and Zoe agree that the main hosting don’t is letting guests go hungry. “Our biggest nightmare is running out of food or beverages,” Berman admits.
This means, Zoe says, that they sometimes get a little over-zealous. “You could feed another country with the amount that you over-order,” she teases Berman.
3. Clean up right away
You know the feeling: You hug your last guests goodbye, close the door behind them, and congratulate yourself on a job well done. But when you turn around, you’re greeted by a wasteland of dirty dishes, empty bottles, and discarded decorations. At this point, Berman would prefer to slink off to bed. “Not a chance,” says Zoe.
“You don’t want to wake up to a dirty kitchen,” Zoe explains. “But the thing about a dinner party is that cleanup is so annoying. Thankfully, there’s a dishwasher with that extra set of arms—the LG QuadWash has four arms instead of just two so I never have to hand wash, even pre-wash, a dish again.”
A glamorous night and a stress-free cleanup? Now that’s everything.
Never worry about awkward small talk again by nailing these 7 steps for striking up a conversation with anyone. And the next time you host, consider skipping the booze.