If you are like me, you love the idea of throwing party at your house…one with lots of great family and friends, amazing food, and interesting conversation. However, when you are in the thick of planning a get together along with juggling everything else on your to-do list, pulling one off can seem near impossible. It is easy to let the thought of planning an event overwhelm or even stop you in your tracks. But if you follow some easy tips and tricks you will find that hosting a gathering can be simple for you and a fun time for your guests.
There are a few important things to remember that apply to hosting any event– big or small – formal or casual:
- 1. The company matters the most. You do not need to have the perfect party. Ditch that notion of perfection and remember that guests are coming to spend time with you and to enjoy themselves. The more relaxed you are, the more fun everyone will have.
2. Delegate to everyone. When someone asks, can I help, say “yes.” Everyone can help and the more someone helps you out (be it other family members or guests, the less you have to do). Let people bring things or help out in the kitchen. Just know that having people give you a hand is not a sign that you are not a good hostess. It is, instead, a tip for making everyone feel welcome, involved and part of the celebration.
3. The 80/20 rule applies to parties too. In case you have not heard of this, the 80/20 rules says to focus on the most important 20% of a project and that will take care of 80% of what must get done. This absolutely applies to hosting an event. If you focus on what is most important to you for the event (e.g. food, drinks, theme) and then let the rest go, you will find your stress level will be lower and it will be much easier for you to enjoy the event.
But that is only the beginning. I come from a large family and often host our get-togethers. They range from a Friday night family dinner for 10 to our annual Dessert Night party for over 75. Here are my best actionable and simple tips for making sure your next event is a huge success and stress free. While they are in no particular order, it is a great list to print off and keep with you when planning any party you are hosting.
- Set the table the day before.
- Don’t unpack the non-perishable groceries you buy for the party. Just keep them out on the counter since you are going to use them in the next day or so.
- Don’t put anything on the menu that will keep you in the kitchen while the guests are hanging out in the other room.
- Remember to make or buy enough ice.
- Empty your entry closet so you have room for coats. If you need to, put the coats from the closet on a bed. Make sure you also have hangers.
- Don’t even think about doing the dishes while the party is going on. There is always time later that night or the next morning.
- Don’t be afraid to serve pre-made, store bought items or even take-out food (e.g. think pizza for a March Madness basketball party).
- Pick up some disposable plastic containers to let people take home leftovers. Makes sure you don’t give out dishes that you don’t get back.
- Think about rearranging furniture so people have places to sit. Try putting extra chairs from the dining room table around the living room for more seating.
- Pick a theme and put together your iPod playlist to compliment the theme.
- Let guests mark their beverages. I like the wine glass charms but for disposable glasses, you can also just put out a Sharpie pen and let people mark their initials on their cups.
- If the party is for a specific reason, think about an ice breaker game. For example, if you host an Academy Awards Party, give everyone the nominees and ask people to guess who will win and hand out small prizes.
- If there are kids are the party, think of activities to keep them busy. Making friendship bracelets or an art project is a great way to keep them entertained so the adults can have time with each other.
- Consider paper plates, napkins, etc.. for larger events. Makes clean up so much easier.
- Let someone else (besides you) bar tend. Just means you have more time to enjoy the event. Remember delegation is a good thing.
- Digital invites are the way to go. Need I say more?
- You can never have too many garbage cans and bags out in all of the rooms. The easier it is for guest to throw away their trash, the more likely they are to do it which means less clean up for you.
The final and most important tip is to just remember to have fun. Relax and enjoy the party. After all that work, you deserve it.
What is your best tip for hosting a gathering, get-together or party that is enjoyable and stress-free for both the host and guests?