You Will Need
- Food assignments
- Make-ahead entree
- Limited bar
- Disposable dinnerware
- Make-ahead cocktail (optional)
Limit the drinks
Limit the drinks to wine and beer so you don't have to play bartender.
Make a list
Make a general list of appetizers, side dishes, and desserts you'd like to serve at your party. Have it ready when you invite friends and they inevitably ask, "what can I bring?" Or just assign them a course and leave the details to them.
Pre-cook an entree
Unless you're a really demanding host, you'll probably be stuck providing the entree. Instead of standing over a grill all day, consider cooking the day before and serving the main dish cold. Or prepare an entree that can be made -- and served -- in a slow cooker, like pulled pork.
Use disposable plates
Use disposable plates, cups, and utensils without guilt with biodegradable products -- some are even compostable. Or invest in heavy-duty plasticware that's dishwasher safe and reusable.
Rope guests into cleaning
Start cleaning up while plenty of guests are still around so they'll be guilted into helping. When enough people have joined in, excuse yourself to go to the bathroom -- and don't reappear until they're done.
Leave the rest
Leave any remaining cleanup for tomorrow; there's no sense in ruining your labor-free Labor Day party now!