Hosting a Brunch

When warm weather finally arrives, many people start thinking about different ways to entertain. One of the most popular ways is to host a brunch. This entertaining option can be as laid-back or formal as you like. Of course, the setting and food will depend on the occasion. For example, Mother's Day and Easter are perfect times for a lavish brunch for family and friends. Hosting a brunch doesn't have to be complicated, but you need to make a few decisions before inviting your guests.

Types of Brunches
The two most popular types of brunches are a post-wedding brunch and a champagne brunch. A post-wedding brunch gives couples a chance to thank their guests, while a champagne brunch is meant to be a gourmet meal. Both types are rather formal, but not all brunches have to be formal. For example, a Mother's Day brunch is a chance to treat your mother. Last, but not least, some people just love to serve a casual Sunday brunch because it's an affordable way to entertain.

The Best Time
Without a doubt, the most popular day to serve brunch is Sunday. The best time is anywhere between typical breakfast and lunch times. You don't want to start too early because you want time to cook, and your guests should be at least somewhat refreshed after the night before, especially in the case of a post-wedding brunch. Many people choose to serve brunch around 10:00 or 11:00 am. If you have a special event planned for later in the day, you will want to choose a time that gives your guests enough time to eat without feeling rushed.

Sending the Invitations
Invitations aren't always necessary for a brunch. Since many types of brunches are casual, you can simply call or e-mail your friends and family. On the other hand, if you're planning a brunch that is more formal, you will want to send out invitations at least a week ahead of time. Hundreds of companies specialize in brunch invitations, but making your own allows you to customize the invitation to the type of brunch you are preparing.

Setting the Mood
The way you serve a brunch will depend on whether it's a formal or casual occasion. When preparing a formal brunch, a white tablecloth and your finest China make a great impression. You may also want to place flowers on the table, and you may want to serve the meal in courses.

On the other hand, a casual brunch should feel casual. Serve your guests in a family-like setting by serving a buffet. The most important thing to remember is to make sure your guests will feel comfortable. Not everyone likes a formal setting on a Sunday morning.

Preparing the Classics
Quiche should be the centerpiece of your brunch menu. This dish reminds people of breakfast because it has eggs, yet it feels more like a lunch dish. Quiche can also be as fancy or as down home as you like. It all depends on the ingredients you use. For example, you could add goat cheese and smoked salmon, or you could add bacon and cheddar cheese.

Pastries are also popular because they satisfy the sweet tooth. Your guests will love muffins, donuts, French toast, pancakes or waffles. Choose what is easiest for you. Whipping up fresh batches of French toast might be difficult, but you could make pancakes in advance and keep them warm. You also can't forget to serve fresh fruit and breakfast meats as a counterpoint to the sugar.

When it comes to drinks, you simply can't go wrong with mimosas. This crisp-tasting combination of fresh squeezed orange juice and champagne is a brunch favorite. Another option would be a Bloody Mary, an alcoholic beverage made with tomato juice, vodka and Worcestershire sauce. Have plenty of the drink ingredients on hand, and set out lots of water and nonalcoholic beverages so guests stay hydrated.

If you need a little bit of inspiration, go and treat yourself to brunch. See what the restaurants are doing to make the experience enjoyable. This is a great way to decide what you'd like to serve and how you would like to present the dishes. For example, you may decide that a buffet will work for a formal brunch after all.

Hosting a brunch is all about letting your guests relax, and, if you want them to relax, you can set a good example by preparing in advance and setting everything up so you can spend plenty of time with them.

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