Thank you Decoy for sponsoring this post. Elevate your occasion with Decoy wines.
Happy Tuesday, friends! I meant for this post to go up yesterday but then this weekend was just too. fun. (whoops)
For today’s post, I’ve teamed up with Decoy (the brains, braun, and beauty behind one of my favorite sauvignon blancs!). They challenged me to “elevate your occasion”, so I decided to share how to host a girls’ night… and do it right! BTW if you’ve never tried Decoy wines, scurry over to your nearest store and get some ASAP. I highly recommend the aforementioned sauvignon blanc (it was rated 90 points by Wine Enthusiast aka it’s really good!).
Oh and PS shoutout to my friends Yasmina, Whitney, and Anna for participating in this shoot with me. And then sticking around after to finish off all of the wine. And cheese. I know it was a huge hardship.
What I’m Wearing:
Top: J.Crew / Pants: Ann Taylor / Shoes: BP. / Earrings: Sugarfix by BaubleBar, c/o
Ring: DeForest Jewelry, c/o / Nail Polish: Essie, c/o
I’ve always loved to play hostess. As a kid, I hosted my friends and my mom’s friends for regular tea parties. And I don’t mean imaginary tea – I mean real tea. Strategically paired with various Girl Scout cookies. Obviously.
As I got older, this love of hosting turned into hosting movie nights in middle school and high school… and then into “pregames” in college… which then evolved into the regular dinner party / themed fiesta and figuring out how to host a girls’ night post-grad. When I was about 20, one of my friends called me a “Jewish Martha Stewart” after I hosted her for Passover seder. The nickname stuck.
In college, I took Cornell’s famed Introduction to Wines class. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s one of the most-failed classes at Cornell (don’t worry – I passed!). In the class, we studied everything from the history of wine to which foods pair best with each type of wine. To this day, I probably remember 80% of what I learned in that class (as opposed to the roughly 20% I remember from my engineering classes – sorry mom and dad!).
Ever since I started the blog, I’ve wanted to partner with wine companies to share my favorite pairings with y’all. So when Decoy reached out about a partnership, I jumped at the opportunity!
How to Host a Girls’ Night with Decoy
I believe in a well-organized evening with a plan. If you have a plan, it will be easier to execute on that plan… and will keep stress to a minimum overall.
So, when figuring out how to host a girls’ night, start with step one: the invitations.
Inviting the Girls
If it’s a more formal occasion (a birthday or a holiday get-together, for instance), I’ll send out invitations. Two of my favorite sites for invitations (both physical and digital) are Minted and Paperless Post.
If, however, I’m hosting just for the excuse of seeing my friends on a random weeknight, SMS text invites totally suffice.
Either way, make sure you include all of the details: the where, the when (time and date so there’s no confusion!), the who (are +1’s invited?), and the what (is it a donation drive for a local charity? Is it a gift exchange? Or are we drinking because it’s Tuesday and yet somehow it’s already been a week?). If parking is tricky, make sure you include all of that information on the invitation. That way, people can just copy and paste your message into their calendar alert!
Setting Up Your Space
I currently live in an apartment. While my apartment is laid out really well for entertaining, there’s still only so much usable space (can’t be hosting people in my closet… or can I?). Every time I plan host friends, I always prepare by giving my apartment a thorough clean (aka moving all of the mess into my bedroom), and moving the furniture around to be more conducive to conversation.
I like to create flower arrangements to beautify the space (the ones photographed above are a combination of daffodils, tulips, and eucalyptus), and I always make sure to set out more than enough glassware. Because there will always be confusion at a party about which glass belongs to which guest.
Choosing the Food
Food before wine, my friends. Not every food goes splendidly with every wine (can you imagine a Chianti with tuna salad? Ew). For me, it’s much easier to decide on the food before choosing the wines that compliment said food.
If you’re hosting a cocktail hour, a cheese plate is an easy food choice. The best cheese plates have a mixture of textures and colors. In terms of cheeses, you want to have (at least) one aged, one soft, one firm, and one bleu. I also like to throw a goat cheese or two into the mix.
I also abide by the rule of “more is more” with cheese plates – I like for my cheese plates to be overflowing with cheeses, crackers, nuts, and berries. Figs beautify any cheese plate, and fig spread is far too often overlooked (so good!). I added fresh honeycomb to my cheese plate above, but you could just as easily add meat or olives (or all of the above) if you so desire.
Picking the Wines
If you get nothing else from this post, please remember to have more than one wine available. Nothing makes guests feel more at ease than having their preferred type of wine available. For dinner parties, I always have at least one red and one white opened. If we’re celebrating, there’s bubbly on standby.
Keep your friends in mind while making these selections… as well as the food. As this lil get-together was to celebrate spring with lighter cheeses, I chose lighter, crisper wines – the 2016 Decoy Sonoma County Sauvignon Blanc and the 2017 Decoy California Rosé. If, however, my friend Briana – who loves red wines and generally won’t touch white wines – had been there, I probably would’ve thrown a Cabernet Sauvignon into the mix.
Welcoming Your Girls’ Night Guests
There’s always that awkward moment at the party when everybody is hungry but nobody wants to be the first person to reach for the food. Or when everybody wants a drink, but nobody wants to be that girl going for the wine.
As the host, it is up to you to make your guests feel welcome. That means that you need to invite them to sit and relieve your guests of their coats and bags (if they so desire). You should pour the wine and take a sip (so everybody feels comfortable drinking, if they choose to do so). You should be the one to dig into the food first, thus welcoming everybody around you to do the same.
If you feel like you need to be up, mixing, mingling, and away from the food/drinks, I have a few tricks for ya. First, cut into the cheeses before your guests arrive, and remove a piece or two from each cheese. Your guests will then assume that somebody’s already dug into the nosh, thus relieving their first-mover fear. Similarly, you can have the wine poured before your guests arrive. Line these filled glasses of wine up on a tray, and then remove your glass from the front of the tray. Your guests will then feel more comfortable grabbing a glass of whichever wine they prefer.
And there we have it! All of my favorite tips and tricks for how to host a girls’ night (without causing a ton of stress). I hope y’all found this post helpful. And thank you again to Decoy for sponsoring this post and sending me such delicious (and girls’ night-ready) wines!