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From menu planning to where to put the drinks table, this guide will take away the stress.

By Stacey Ballis
March 25, 2021
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Brunch is one of those occasions that always seems like a perfect thing to host, right up until the week before when suddenly the number of tasks that seem to need doing, all at an hour that will usually find you still abed, seems impossibly daunting. Add in the pressure of a major holiday like Easter, where that brunch might involve the pressures of some kid-focused projects like prepping for an egg hunt or assembling baskets, or even a delayed timing where you need to get everything organized in the 10 minutes between getting home from a church service and hungry hordes descending upon you.

Never fear: With just a few simple tips and tricks in your Easter basket you'll not only successfully host a brunch even under Easter pressure, but you'll actually be able to enjoy your own party! Here are 6 clever tricks to set yourself up for Easter brunch success.

1. Set up a self-serve beverage station somewhere away from the kitchen.

A small table somewhere off the central workspaces of your home will be ideal for any gathering, but especially brunch. A bowl or bucket of ice, some chilled still water and cans of fizzy water, and pitchers or carafes of anything else you are serving, and your guests can easily help themselves while you get the dishes on the buffet or dining table.

2. Batch your beverages and serve them cold.

From a simple mix of citrus juices for a light morning punch, to lemonade or iced tea, to chilled coffee, having your drinks made ahead and stored in the fridge in carafes or pitchers ready to put out with ice and accompaniments will save you from having to either brew hot tea or coffee, or take individual drink orders. If you think you will have a guest or two who will insist upon a hot drink, think about putting a pod coffee and tea maker on the beverage station so that they can make their own by the cup as needed.

3. Serve mostly cold or room temperature dishes that can be made ahead.

The more things you can make in advance, the easier your day will go. Lean into these classic make-aheads that you can put out cold and room temperature.

Now, when it comes to some hot dishes, think about limiting to one or two items max, preferably also make-ahead dishes that can be finished in an oven or held in a slow cooker.

Easter Brunch Table
Credit: Getty / Liliboas

4. Plan your menu by picturing the plate.

Panicked about what to choose? Here's a smart way to plan: Think about a classic plate assembly. A main protein, a carby side, two vegetable or fruit-based sides and then a couple extras like breads or pastries or fruit. Whether it is a ham with potato salad, cole slaw, green salad and rolls and a Jell-O mold, or a quiche or egg casserole, with hashed browns, fruit salad, bacon and breakfast pastries, by limiting the overall number of dishes and providing those in abundance, you will feed everyone well and not make yourself crazy with too many different preparations.

5. Let the pros help!

Sure, having some homemade dishes on your buffet is always going to be wonderful, but do you really think Aunt Edna can tell if you cut up all the fruit in the fruit salad or if the nice people at the grocery store did? I bet not. Anything you can safely outsource to a trusted professional will free you up to make something special. Think about the famous family dishes and make those and fill in with store-bought items to keep things manageable.

6. Be strategic about assignments.

A potluck Easter brunch can be alluring in theory, but potlucks are actually notoriously complicated, especially if you are hosting a larger event. Trying to ensure a variety of dishes, managing to fit everyone's offering on the buffet, worrying about those who are not natural cooks feeling pressure to perform, the frantic effort to wash serving dishes before their owners depart: A potluck party is often more trouble than it is worth.

But, tapping some of your guests with special assignments can take some pressure off of you. From providing simpler items like drinks, extra ice, paper goods, or basics like dinner rolls or condiments, guests can pitch in if they like in a way that will fold into your planning and partying much more seamlessly. They can even just pick up items that have been pre-ordered on their way to you. Just offer assignments to the people you trust to execute, and don't leave anything super essential in the hands of someone who could flake on you.