16 Mistakes You're Making When Hosting Mother's Day Brunch

Mother's Day presents us with the perfect opportunity to celebrate all the special moms in our lives — whether they're our own mother, grandmother, aunt, partner, or close family friend. One way to show your appreciation for all of these special women is to host a get-together and show off your best Mother's Day brunch recipes

If you're gearing up to host wonderful mother's all around, you're likely experiencing a range of emotions from excitement to nervousness — after all, plenty of mothers are known for whipping up delicious meals for their loved ones. Getting everything prepared to make sure that it goes as planned, that everyone attending your brunch has a good time, and that your food is a hit can certainly be nerve-wracking. Before it is too late, you should be aware of the most common brunch mistakes people make. These slip-ups can result in an unappetizing meal, hungry guests, a less-than-welcoming atmosphere, and so much more.

1. Choosing the wrong start time

Before you even send out your invitations for your brunch, you need to decide when the meal will start. Brunch covers a rather long time frame — typically between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. — so you might think you could aim for any time in that range. However, that isn't the best approach. If you choose a start time that is too early, you're going to have some guests who might be upset that they didn't get the chance to sleep in or enjoy more of a lazy morning. 

On the other hand, if you start too late, people may get too hungry or will want to leave early if they have plans the next morning. For this reason, aiming to host your brunch around 11 a.m. or 12 p.m. is ideal. Your guests will have some time to relax in the morning before heading to your place, and the meal will end early enough in the day that they can take care of errands or get home to relax before the weekly grind begins the next day. 

Another advantage of an 11 a.m. or 12 p.m. start time is that you will have more options when it comes to the types of foods you serve. Because these times are closer to lunchtime, you won't be limited to only serving breakfasty-type foods.

2. Taking individual orders for eggs

When you're hosting brunch, you want to make sure that all of your guests are happy and enjoy the meals you prepare. For this reason, it could be tempting to take individual orders for eggs and prepare them to meet each guest's preferences. Doing so will take too much time and can be a mistake that gets in the way of your entire brunch.

Even if you only have a handful of guests, cooking that many individual orders of eggs is going to be challenging. Moreover, getting the timing right to have omelets, scrambled eggs, over-easy eggs, and any other cooking methods for eggs your guests want will be challenging to finish at the same time.

Unless you somehow manage to time it perfectly, some of your guests are going to either end up with cold eggs or you won't have everything ready to serve at the same time. Instead of trying to make multiple varieties of eggs, stick with one tried-and-true classic option that can be kept warm, such as quiche, scrambled eggs, or an omelet — instead of all the varieties. You'll thank yourself when you're not running around like crazy trying to make so many different eggs the morning of your brunch.

3. Not planning enough ahead of time

A nice Mother's Day brunch is not something that you can start planning just a few hours before your guests are scheduled to arrive. Instead, you should set aside plenty of time to plan and prepare which recipes you will want to make. Then, you'll likely need some time to put together a grocery list, shop for ingredients, send out your invitations and perhaps coordinate a time that works for everyone, lay out the serving pieces, set the table, clean your home, and more.

The key to pulling off a successful Mother's Day brunch is going to be starting early — ideally at least a couple of weeks before the event date — so that you have time to get everything done. Once you've decided to host brunch, start by making a to-do list of all the things that need to happen before the day of the event and on the actual event date itself. This will help you make sure that you don't overlook something that you need to do to get ready.

4. Attempting a recipe that is too involved

Preparing delicious recipes for your Mother's Day brunch is important. However, delicious doesn't have to mean overly complicated. If one or more of the recipes you're planning has too many steps or is too difficult, you're setting yourself up for disaster. With everything else you need to do before and after your guests arrive, you don't want to spread yourself too thin and end up ruining your recipe or dropping the ball with another aspect of your brunch.

Plus, when you're hosting, you want to make sure that you are around to mingle with your guests and get to enjoy some nice conversation and food yourself. Instead of selecting a recipe that is going to consume too much of your time or leave too much room for error, opt for something that is more reliable and less involved, such as an easy quiche recipe, coffee cake, brioche french toast, bacon, or sausage.

5. Not including enough variety in the menu

Variety is the spice of life. While you might have a few favorite brunch items that you always cook or order, it doesn't mean that your guests share your same preferences and opinions. You want to make sure that you have plenty of different options so that all of your guests will be able to find a few things to eat. When planning brunch, you can pick items from several different menu categories, including eggs, bread, fruit, savory entrées, meats, granola, sweets, and drinks. The more flavor and texture, the better.

Here are a few ideas to get you started: Apple cinnamon buttermilk pancakes, a fruit bowl with granola, turnip greens and potato frittata, brown sugar glazed ham, maple breakfast sausage, french toast sticks, or a cheesy egg bake. By choosing a few different recipe options, you should have a nice spread of food for your guests to enjoy. Also, if you have any vegetarians or vegans attending, you should consider preparing ample meat and dairy-free options.

6. Adding too many items to the menu

While having enough variety and different menu options is important in ensuring that everyone will be able to find several things that they enjoy, you don't want to overdo it and offer too many different foods. If you plan an extensive menu, you may have a hard time getting everything prepared and ready to serve. Committing yourself to a full morning of baking and cooking before your brunch is a lot, you don't want to leave yourself completely exhausted and unable to enjoy your company.

So, how do you strike the perfect balance between too little and too much food? This is a difficult question, and the answer will likely vary some from one situation to the next. Try thinking about how many guests you have invited, what (if anything) you know about their dietary preferences or restrictions, and what you'll realistically be able to prepare. Then, make sure you have a good selection of items from each of the categories outlined above, and you should be fine.

7. Not having everything ready at the same time

We've been hinting at this mistake for a while now. Not having everything ready to serve at the same time is something you'll certainly want to avoid when hosting a Mother's Day brunch. If your menu items are finishing in stages, you're left in a difficult spot. Do you call people to the table to start eating what is finished before it gets cold? Do you wait for everything to be ready to serve together but end up serving some cold items? Neither is a good option. 

With the first choice, your guests won't get to see the full spread of items to decide what they really want. They may also end up eating things out of their preferred order to avoid letting the food in front of them get cold. However, the second option isn't better. If something has finished cooking a while before the rest of the meal has finished, it will likely be pretty cold by the time you're ready to serve everything else.

Planning is key to avoiding either of these potential problems. You'll need to create a schedule for yourself and stick to it. A good schedule should include when each menu item should be started in the oven or on the stove. Think about how long each recipe takes to cook and work backward from the time you want to serve your meal to determine when you should start making it.

8. Not practicing the recipes ahead of time

It is essential to practice all of the recipes you want to make for your brunch. One of the reasons this is so important relates to timing. If you don't practice the recipes, you won't know exactly how long it will take for you to prepare them, so you won't be able to choose the ideal starting time. While most recipes will include a general idea for prep time and cook time, everyone — and every oven — is a little different. You want a more exact idea of how much time you'll need to prepare each menu item you're offering.

The other reason that it is so important to practice making your recipes ahead of time is so that you know what you're doing when it comes to the big day. Even more basic recipes can have a few confusing steps, and you want to be familiar with the procedures you should follow to complete them. By practicing a recipe, you can identify any errors in the recipe to fix when you're hosting brunch. Moreover, you can also make sure that the recipe actually tastes good. Many recipes sound good on paper. However, when you actually make them, you might find that they really aren't all that great or something you'll want to serve at your brunch.

9. Forgetting cocktails

If you really want to offer a full brunch experience for your guests, you don't want to forget about cocktails. Brunch and cocktails go hand-in-hand. More than likely, the guests you're having over for Mother's Day are going to be expecting cocktails to go with their meal. Mimosas and bloody marys are probably the two cocktails that most people associate with brunch. However, they aren't the only option you can choose. 

There are several other brunch cocktails – such as sangria and sea breezes — that you might want to add to your brunch cocktail bar. A few ideas of cocktails for your brunch include sangria, limoncello spritzs, sea breezes, and rosemary pear mimosas. You can also consider offering some mocktails for any underage guests or those who prefer not to drink alcohol. 

If you're not familiar with what a mocktail is, it is a non-alcoholic version of a cocktail. There are plenty of mocktail recipes out there, so it should be easy to plan out a few that your guests will enjoy. Consider making Shirley Temples, virgin mimosas, or fauxjitos.

10. Skipping the sweet treats

No brunch is complete without at least a few sweet treats. Even if you're planning a more savory menu with glazed ham, biscuits and gravy, bacon, sausage, and other similar items, you'll want to include a few sweeter options to offer the perfect finish to the meal. You can choose to serve your sweet treats alongside the other brunch entrées you prepare. Or, if you prefer, you might choose to serve them at the end of the meal as more of a dessert.

The good news is that finding some inspiration for something sweet to serve with brunch is not going to be difficult. You can find plenty of options when you think about breakfast pastries, such as cinnamon rolls, coffee cake, donuts, apple fritters, and danishes, or other fruitier dessert options that could pair nicely with your meal, like strawberry shortcake, cherry cheesecake, or lemon bars. There is also no rule saying you can't serve chocolate with brunch, so brownies, cookies, or cakes could also be a good option.

11. Not having enough food for everyone

Once you have your menu planned out with a nice assortment of different food and beverage options for your guests, you need to make sure that you make enough of each recipe. You don't want to run out of food and have some of your guests leave hungry. Before you can plan for how much food you'll need to have ready, you want to have a firm headcount. This is one of the reasons why it is so important to start planning your brunch enough in advance so that potential guests will have sufficient time to RSVP and let you know if they'll be attending.

Once you have a headcount, take a close look at each recipe you're making. How many servings does it say that it makes? Will you need to double, or even triple, the recipe to ensure that you'll have enough to feed your guests? You might need to pull out your trusty calculator to do some math to determine the total quantity of ingredients you'll need for these adjusted recipes.

12. Opting for plated meals over a buffet

Buffets are the way to go when it comes to hosting a large group for brunch. There are several benefits to buffets over offering individually plated meals for each guest. First, with a buffet, everyone can control their own portion and choose the foods that they know they will eat. This will reduce food waste, make sure everyone will enjoy the meal, and prevent anyone from feeling obligated to eat something that was served to them that they may not really like.

Beyond the benefits of making sure that your guests are happy with what is on their plate and minimizing food waste, a buffet is just so much more manageable than putting together individual plated servings for your guest. If you choose to serve each person's plate, you're going to spend a lot of time not just scooping out the various items but also trying to make them look nice and presentable. This can delay the meal and may also cause the items on the plate to cool down before they are served to your guests.

13. Pulling out the fine china

It can be tempting to go all-out for your Mother's Day brunch. However, one decision you might want to reconsider is using your fine china. While your best dishes will certainly add a beautiful touch to your table, it is just adding a lot of additional work and worry for you. 

First, you shouldn't wash china in the dishwasher. Therefore, after your meal is over, you'll have to hand wash all of the dishes and serving pieces in addition to all of the other cleanup that will be required. This is going to add a lot of time to the end of your day — which might not be ideal after spending hours entertaining guests.

If you pull out your fine china with so many people over, you're also running the risk of something getting broken. People are going to be getting up and down from their seats to bring their plates to the buffet to get some food. All of this commotion will make it possible for people to bump into one another and accidentally drop one of your valuable and lovely plates.

Instead of using your fine china, consider using disposable plates. You can splurge a bit and get some heavy-duty, nicer-looking plates, but you won't need to worry about them getting broken during brunch. And, even better, once everyone has finished eating, the plates can simply be thrown into the trash.

14. Eating inside instead of outside

In the U.S., Mother's Day is celebrated on the second Sunday in the month of May. In many parts of the country, you're likely to have gorgeous spring weather during this time of the year. It would be a shame not to take advantage of that glorious weather by hosting your event outside. If at all possible, consider eating outside instead of inside. Everyone can enjoy the spring-like weather while they socialize and delight in the beautiful meal you prepared.

There are several benefits that have been associated with eating outside. First, sitting outside might be more of a relaxing experience than sitting inside. You and your guests can take in the fresh air, and enjoy the views — even if it is only a few flowers and bushes in your backyard. Gathering outside is also a great change of scenery if you usually have meals indoors. 

15. Not setting the table the night before

One way to set yourself up for a successful Mother's Day brunch is to be as prepared as possible. You're going to have a long list of things that you can't do until the day of the event, specifically preparing many of the items that you'll be serving, so you don't want to leave other tasks for the last minute if they can be completed beforehand. 

One of the tasks that you can get ready before your actual event is setting the dinner table. This way, you'll have plenty of time to lay out each place setting and make sure that everything looks right. Setting your table the night before your brunch will also leave you more time to add some finishing touches to pull the look together. These could include centerpieces, name cards, or creatively-folded napkins. 

If you wait until the day of the event, it is unlikely that you'll have time for these added embellishments. Similarly, this might be a bit difficult to do if you plan to eat outside. However, if you can simply set aside all your dishes and utensils in a designated area, that will also help you save time. 

16. Trying to do everything yourself

Getting everything ready to host brunch and entertain guests is a lot of work. If you didn't already realize that before reading this, you certainly should now. Instead of trying to be a superhero, consider enlisting the help of a few trusted individuals. When more people are working together towards a common goal, it is much easier to achieve the result you want. 

If you have friends or family members helping you with preparing for brunch, you can each tackle different tasks to make sure the event turns out as planned. There will also be more hands on the day of the event, which can be invaluable for all the last-minute meal preparation and decorating that will need to be done. 

When choosing your helpers, you should not ask a guest of honor to pitch in — in this case, that would be any mother being celebrated. When you're making your to-do list, work together to assign tasks so that everyone knows what they are responsible for. Finally, another thing you might want to consider is hosting a potluck-style brunch. Not only will this save you a lot of time cooking and preparing, but it will also be better for your wallet and cleanup efforts after the event.