After the socializing of the winter holidays winds down, we tend to hibernate a bit during February and March. But as those crocuses start popping up with their friendly purple, yellow, orange, and white hellos, there is a renewed desire to gather everyone together and connect. And what better way to convene than over a delicious brunch? Follow this guide to throw a crowd-pleasing get-together filled to the brim with your favorite people and foods.
Decide on guests
Depending on your preferences, you could host either an intimate brunch with a few friends or a larger gathering that includes as many people as you can fit. If you relate to the latter, consider inviting each friend with a plus one so everyone has a chance to meet new people. It’s also the perfect opportunity to reach out to that new neighbor or recent transplant to your town and welcome them to the community.
If you more enjoy the company of people you know well, a brunch is the perfect excuse to collect a few of your best friends for an hour or two to catch up on life and try out new recipes.
Choose a day and time
Saturday and Sunday are the most popular brunch days for a reason—people who work during the week are more likely to be available on the weekend. Although brunch is typically thought of as the meal between breakfast and lunch, it doesn’t have a set time. Assess the sleep habits of your guests (and yourself) to determine if your brunch time would be better received at noon. If everyone is a morning person, a 10:00 a.m. start time would be perfect.
Invite your guests
How far in advance you reach out to people will depend on who and how many you are planning to invite. For instance, if it’s a larger gathering that will encompass new guests, give people enough time to invite a plus one. A couple of weeks is typically considered good etiquette.
If you want your event to be a more formal affair, seize the opportunity to express your creativity with some handwritten invitations. This doesn’t have to be at the level of wedding invitations. Go simple with a cute stamp and some blank cards, or embrace the spring and its blooms by gluing pressed flowers onto a kraft paper card. You could also make just one invitation and snap a photo to create a digital invitation that you can text to your prospective attendees.
Regardless of what method you use to invite guests, request an RSVP by a certain date so you can plan your food, seating, and other supplies accordingly.
Plan the menu
Consider the size of your gathering when brainstorming what foods would be best to prepare. If you have a small group, your menu could be more customized and include dishes typically cooked on demand, like poached and fried eggs, omelets, and pancakes. For bigger groups, select foods that can be prepared in advance to ensure that everyone can eat at the same time. Items like quiche, French toast bake, frittata, Dutch baby (in a large pan), scrambled eggs, breakfast potatoes, and sausage can be kept warm until serving time. You could even do a Belgian waffle bar: make the waffles ahead of time, and then, right before the party, crisp them up in the oven at 350°F for ten minutes or until they look golden. Plan for toppings like whipped cream, fresh berries, maple syrup, and chocolate chips, or opt for savory options like avocado, roasted vegetables, sour cream, and gravy. And, of course, a platter of fresh fruit is a good addition to any brunch menu.
Before planning your menu, inquire with your guests about any food allergies or dietary restrictions they may have. (You can request this information on the invitation or reach out to them directly.) If there are serious allergies, ask about what safe preparation is necessary so everyone can feel comfortable eating at the meal.
Organize the drinks
Freshly brewed coffee is a staple at brunch. To accommodate everyone, have coffee urns with both caffeinated and decaffeinated options along with various types of milk for dairy and nondairy drinkers alike. In addition, plan to set out a mix of herbal, black, and green tea bags beside a hot water kettle.
To round out the options, offer a couple different juices, like orange and grapefruit, which complement any brunch menu. If you want to be fancy, you could also create a signature drink with juice, sparkling water, and simple syrup.
Prepare for your guests
Since brunch is usually early in the day, make things easy on yourself by preparing as much as possible the night before like setting up tables and chairs and preparing whatever food you can. On the morning of, finish cooking your menu, spoon your toppings into serving bowls, set your table, situate the food on warming trays, and brew the coffee. To avoid confusion from your guests, label the dishes with their ingredients or according to food restrictions. You’ll also want to make sure there are separate serving spoons for everything to prevent cross contamination.
Set your table
Think floral, sunny, verdant, and fresh when coming up with a tablescape for your spring brunch. Consider several mason jars filled with primroses on top of a white lace tablecloth, or try a chunky white vase of daffodils in the middle of a pastel checkerboard runner. Or go colorful and bold with a fuchsia tablecloth and vases full of hyacinth and tulips. If you have floral-patterned plates, this is their moment!
Make sure there are enough plates and utensils to fit the type of courses and food items you are planning to serve. If it’s an intimate group, consider setting the food right in the middle of the table in pretty dishes and platters. For larger groups, a buffet style on a separate table or your kitchen counters might flow better.
Set the mood
Keep the vibe sunny and easy by letting natural light in, and have a dreamy and happy soundtrack playing at a comfortably low volume in the background.
All that’s left to do now is welcome your guests, top a hot waffle with berries, and bask in the glow of friendship and brunch cuisine.