Boat Hosting 101: A Checklist When Having Guests Aboard

I studied abroad in London with Cat, and now husband Joe, Shoop in the spring of 2008 and was always blown away by this pairs' taste. Not only are the two incredibly and naturally good-looking, but they have an eye for aesthetics that extends to every item I’ve ever seen them own. Their home on Lake Minnetonka is one that you’d only dream of calling your own. But even more impressive than their gorgeous lifestyle is their total generosity - which is why I knew Cat was the perfect person to give us the scoop on hosting guests on the boat. They’ve always made me feel welcome in their presence, and I’m so excited to spend time with them, and their growing family in a few weeks. Take it away, Cat!

I’m a Lake Minnetonka native, born and raised. From cruising around on my wave-runner in my teenage years to working as a charter boat hostess for my summer college gig, Lake Minnetonka has always been a part of my life. It has a rich history that I've come to appreciate even more, and provides a plethora of fun for my ever-growing family. My husband and I have been married for (almost) 7 years, and our family expanded by a Saint Bernard and twins, Tripp and Lennon, this year! We will always remember our chunky companion, English bulldog, Bentley, who stood by our side for the last 8 years and loved the lake! We are fortunate to have a home on the lake and a boat that's hosted many fun days and nights with friends and family. Having ventured out on countless boat trips, I've put together a list that helps me survive any lake outing:

Whether it's a formal celebration such as a wedding shower, a casual outing, or cruising around the lake all day, below are some host/hostess tips and tricks to ensure things will go off without a hitch!

  1. Appetizer Spread- I like to use easy finger food and bite-size apps. A cheese or charcuterie platter is great if you're out for a mild temperature evening or hosting a more formal event. Include grapes, bread/crackers and a meat board with prosciutto and black pepper salami on the platter for the ultimate spread! For a daytime outing, the hot sunshine might not be cheese or meat friendly. Watermelon wedges sprinkled with basil and feta is a great and refreshing snack. Pitted cherries are always a favorite of mine. And you can't go wrong with tomato, basil, mozz bites drizzled with balsamic glaze. These can be served on a toothpick right out of a bowl. Another specialty, though best for a mild evening, are pepperoncini wrapped salami bites. Crackers and artichoke dip is always a hit, or veggies and hummus. A nice spread of carrots, cucumbers, snap peas and green peppers are great for dipping. Don't forget the utensils, plates and napkins! 

  2. Beverages- Adult beverages are an absolute must! And I suppose water and some non-alcoholic options are wise as well. During the warm summer months, a refreshing rosé will please. My go-to for serving is a nice set of acrylic stemless wine glasses! Other great options; skinny margaritas or mimosas and bloody mary's if you're headed out earlier. Lighter beers or spiked and sparkling beverages are great (think Corona Light, Bud Light Lime, Truly, Cider beer or Smirnoff Ice). Speaking of ice, don't forget the ice to keep the drinks cool! If going for a more formal look, I usually opt for a nice beverage tub for easy display of options. 

  3. Music! No party is complete without a good set of tunes! Be sure to set a playlist ahead of time and download to your device so your attention can be on the guests! 

  4. Guests! Tend to the guests, offering up the first beverage and letting them help themselves from here on out so you too can enjoy yourself. 

About the Hosting Lake:

  • Hosting lake: Lake Minnetonka, Minnesota

  • Closest major city & airport: Minneapolis 

  • Favorite lake activities/foods/traditions: Restaurants! There are so many great dining options, the list goes on and on. I personally think there is nothing better than boating to grab a light bite to eat and drink at one of the great spots overlooking the water in Wayzata or Excelsior.  Both locations are also great for shopping, whether looking for an upscale boutique or antique store.

The lake is also great for outdoor activities, water skiing, wakesurfing, fishing, you name it!