Top 10 Secrets to Hosting the Best Brunch

Make your morning get-together unforgettable (and easy!) with these smart, simple ideas from bloggers who’ve been there.

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RMS 5609; Blueberry-Sausage Breakfast Cake; RMS 20494; Sparkling Fruit Salad; RMS 22760; Sparkling Rhubarb Spritzer;RMS 25332; Sweet 'N' Spicy Bacon; RMS 941; Golden Granola
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Decide between buffet and sit-down

Torn between a help-yourself buffet and formal sit-down brunch? Sam Adler, trained pastry chef and blogger at Frosting and Fettuccine, knows her No. 1 choice: “Oh, buffet all the way, for sure. I think it creates a more relaxed vibe, and if you are serving the buffet in the kitchen, you won’t have to bring in (and out!) all those food platters to the dining area.”

We love these hosting tips, too.

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Ask about special food needs

“The most important tip nowadays is to find out whether or not your guests have food allergies or special dietary needs and plan from there,” says Lori Lange, who blogs about recipes and entertaining at Recipe Girl.

Here are our favorite allergy-free treats.

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Think about flavor profiles like a pro

“Include a balance of both sweet and savory dishes,” says Tiffany Edwards, blogger of gorgeous, accessible eats at Creme de la Crumb. “Too much sweet can make it feel like a dessert buffet, but if you’re not including something with a dusting of powdered sugar, you’re missing out!”

Mix and match these fun, fresh brunch recipes.

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Above aerial view of group of friends having fun eating together at lunch or dinner with a table full of different and colorful food and technology mobile phone. mix of hands of caucasian people ; Shutterstock ID 1196986168; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): TOH
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Avoid stress with make-ahead magic

Jocelyn Delk Adams, blogger behind Grandbaby Cakes and cookbook author, recommends prepping or making dishes ahead as much as possible. “As a hostess, you definitely don’t want to cook during your brunch get together,” she says. “Instead of an omelet station, think frittatas. Instead of pancakes, think overnight French toast casserole. Instead of stovetop bacon, bake the bacon instead!”

These make-ahead brunch recipes are just what you need.

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Enlist tech support for easy grocery shopping

“I love to do a mix of homemade and store bought,” says Julie Deily at The Little Kitchen. A tech guru turned foodie, she makes hosting easy by going digital. “I use notes on my computer or phone to start out a draft of the menu. Once I have it set, I create a grocery list to streamline my menu planning.”

This grocery list printable is sure to come in handy.

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Plan to pop open the champagne!

“A little bubbly takes a weekend brunch from good to amazing!” says Becky Hardin, master of simple family cooking at her blog, The Cookie Rookie.

She’s not alone. Fellow bloggers Jocelyn Delk Adams and Sam Adler join her in saying “Cheers!” with their fave sparkling cocktail: mimosas. (Check out our fave version of the cocktail!)

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Make it look pretty…easy

To transform an ordinary dining table, Tiffany Edwards keeps it simple. “A few fresh flowers or leafy stems do wonders for a brunch tablescape,” she says.

Plus, says Erin Clarke of Well-Plated by Erin, flowers “smell lovely, add color, and will make you smile and think of the party long after the guests leave.”

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Friends Friendship Outdoor Dining People Concept; Shutterstock ID 305160602; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): TOH

Amp up the ambiance by going low key

Instead of a formal approach, Lori Lange helps guests feel at ease by creating a casual setting “where people can move around easily and socialize—plenty of seating and soft music.”

Feel like the hostess with the mostess with these pretty entertaining items.

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Drinks in jars
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Help guests feel welcome when they arrive…

Blogger Erin Clarke offers drinks right away. “No matter if your guests choose juice, coffee, or something stronger, it helps people immediately relax and feel right at home.”

When guests arrive at Julie Deily’s house, they’re greeted with a small drink buffet “so they can make their own drinks,” she says.

Here are our favorite brunch beverage recipes.

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Banana Foster Crunch Mix
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…And appreciated when they leave

Even as guests pack up to leave, it’s easy to say you’re happy that they came. “I love doing a little favor with cookies or treats so they can take it home with them,” says Julie Deily. This Bananas Foster Crunch Mix is always a hit.

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Kristin Sutter
A big fan of homegrown cooking, Kristin has been a writer and editor for nearly 20 years. She has mastered the art of learning from her inexpert riffs on other people's truly good recipes.