Hostess with the Mostest: 6 Ways to Serve Up a Great Party Spread

Hosting a party in the not-too-distant future and feeling a bit of pressure?

I hear ya! This was me last week when I agreed to play hostess for a group of 25 lovely ladies. But the reason was certainly worth the worry – as were the delicious results – and it only cost around $10 to feed each guest!

You see, at 35 years of age, I was diagnosed with cervical cancer. I was one of the lucky ones and am still here 17 years later to tell my story.

During the cancer battle, I lost many amazing friends. And, like most of us, I feel very passionate about helping to make our world cancer-free for future generations.

Getting the Girls Together for a Great Cause 

This is why I decided to step outside my entertaining comfort zone and put on my party hosting hat for the Cancer Council’s Girls Night In, a national fundraiser to build awareness and raise money for all women’s cancers – breast, ovarian, cervical, the works.

Cancer Council is dear to our heart at Mum Central. Our Founder Belinda Jennings is a director of Cancer Council South Australia and with cancer likely to impact 1 in 2 Australians throughout their lifetime, it’s really important for us to take a moment and think about how we can help to contribute to the valuable research and incredible services they offer.Woolworths entertaining girls night in platters

And what a night it was. Although I’m not much of a cook or an entertainer, I wanted to make this evening incredibly special for my guests and also stress-free for myself.

I didn’t want to spend a load of money and managed to feed ALL my guests at only a little over $10 per head.

How? The secret, as I discovered, is to keep it simple! Works every time and with any event – Christmas lunches, birthday parties, family BBQs … even playdates!

These are the six tricks I used to serve up a delicious spread and ensure the party was a massive success with minimal stress and cost. 

6 Tricks to Hosting the Perfect Party

1. Get friends to help prep

Before the big event, I invited one of my besties over to help prepare. While I chopped and did the food placement, she got the cutlery, plates and glassware ready and helped with the table styling.

Woolworths entertaining platters
To prep the amazing table took around 45 mins, tops

2. Pack a punch with pre-made platters!

In the past I’ve always attempted to make my own party platters, but this time I opted to go with a selection of Woolworth’s pre-made platters instead.

Rather than buy all the ingredients and chop everything up, then attempt to make it look somewhat stylish on the platter, I simply ordered 4 platters on the Woolies website and the Seafood Platter at my local store and let them do the rest. Voila. Seriously quick, easy and made me look so accomplished!

Woolworths Platters
Platter perfection, without the effort!

Their range of fresh deli platters are absolutely divine and also surprisingly affordable!

I got the Seafood Platter, the Mediterranean, the Absolutely Wrapped, the Grazing and the Family Favourites which gave us a massive selection of savoury goodies to nibble on.

Woolworths entertaining platters
We were absolutely rapt with the Absolutely Wrapped platter!

3. Simply heat and serve

We had hot nibbles too, including Garlic Chicken Bites, Chicken and Mushroom Arancini, Zucchini Feta Fritters and Beef Ribs. 

I didn’t get a photo of these though. Maybe because they disappeared too quickly! But you can get them all from the Woolworths freezer or meat section. You don’t have to do any prep work except preheat the oven and serve!

4. Add colour with an assortment of fruit

When I picked up the platters I also grabbed some fresh fruit to add a bit of sweetness to the spread and some fresh olive bread to complement the assortment of speciality crackers that came with the platters.

entertaining tips Woolworths platters fruit
A rainbow of yumminess in a healthy fruit platter!

5. Dish out some simple salad choices

To make my grazing table more substantial (after all, this was dinner for everyone), I also added a few fresh salads to the sides.

I went with a few salads in the bag with a Thai lime dressing as well as the Woolworths deli creamy pasta salad and couscous salad. Again, it was so easy to bring them home, dish them into pretty serving bowls and let guests pick and choose what they wanted.

Woolworths Fresh Salads
The pre-packed salads, pasta and couscous are so convenient

6. Go with a grazing set-up

I opted to go with a grazing spread to keep the food set-up light and easy to serve. Guests could grab what they wanted and return as many times as they liked. Kind of like a buffet table!

Woolworths Seafood Platter
Savoury snacks, sweet fruit and seafood = grazing heaven!

Hosting without the hassle 

I’m happy to report the event was a massive success. Not only did I raise close to $1,000 for Cancer Council but I had an absolute ball playing hostess. And I didn’t have to blow my shopping budget to do it.

Honestly, it was the easiest party I’ve ever put on! No pressure, minimal prep and plenty of delicious food choices to bring a gorgeous group of gals together for a great cause. And all for the very purse-friendly price of around $10 per person. Plenty of time to mingle too!

Woolworths serving platters
One of my guests thought we had caterers in! Nope. Just a little help from Woolies!

My guests agreed, keeping it simple is the way to go! My lovely friend Megan told me, “Who would have thought that this can be done so easily at home – it looks like you have had caterers in!”

And another friend, Joanne, says she’ll be doing the same for her daughter’s 21st birthday next week!

Have a squizz at Woolworths entertaining range for your next function or event, whether it’s Christmas lunch or a children’s birthday party. You won’t be disappointed! So yummy, so fresh, so pretty!

mum central

Thanks to all my gals for joining me to help fight against cancer. And thanks to Woolies for eliminating all that entertaining anxiety and ensuring the event was a huge, stress-free success!

This is a sponsored article for Woolworths
Avatar of Belinda Jennings

Belinda's a passionate advocate for community and connection. As the founder of the Mum Central Network she’s committed to celebrating the journey that is Australian parenthood. Mum to two cheeky boys, and wife to her superstar husband, they live a busy but crazy lifestyle in Adelaide. Great conversation, close friends and good chocolate are her chosen weapons for daily survival. Oh, and bubbles. Champagne is key.

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