The Hostess with the Mostess – 5 Easy Tips

By Tara Riceberg, Guest Contributor – Party Planning & Entertaining

The success of a party is completely dependent upon the hostess.  Be happy and well prepared to eliminate stress and ensure a fun time for all.

Here are 5 tips to guide you:

1. Be mindful of guests’ concerns. Some times, attending parties is just as stressful as throwing them.  Eliminate your guests' fear of what to wear or what to bring by giving directions on the invitation.

  • Suggest a dress code from costume to white-only to super casual. In addition to alleviating stress, this actually creates anticipation and excitement for the party.
  • Request a no-gift policy. Instead, for example, ask guests to bring a donation for your favorite pet charity. Leave a box by the front door for guests to deposit chew toys or bags of kitty litter. Not only is it so easy for them to put these items up at the market but it also makes everyone feel good knowing that they are doing some good. Also, it takes away the pressure of what to bring to the most wonderful hostess in the world.

2. Plan ahead. There is nothing worse than running around at the last minute, all stressed out. Your party is a reflection of you so you need to be calm and in a jovial mood. Time it so you are dressed and ready 10 minutes before the party starts. You’ll be able to casually walk through the house to make sure the music is on, the candles are lit and the libations are ready to be served. Guests should always be greeted at the door and offered a drink. As the first 15 minutes of the party determines how long the party will last, get it off to a great start by really welcoming your guests.

3.  Design thoughtful menus. So many friends have special or restricted diets these days. Crudités does not count as a dish to vegans!  Inquire as to your guests’ food allergies and dietary choices. Having plenty of food for them to enjoy not only ensures a memorable time but also will make them want to return to future parties.

4.  Be happy. As the party revolves around the hostess, it is imperative that you are in a good mood.

  • Dress up! When you feel beautiful, you are beautiful and everyone wants to be around someone who feels good about herself.
  • Don’t focus on what isn’t correct. Your guests won’t know if the buffet table is missing a dish or if you had to use the other guest towels. Stressing out about it keeps you from being happy and is a recipe for disaster when hosting.
  • If the party suits you, it will suit your guests.

5. Keep a party journal. List all foods and drinks served. Include the guest list and any seating charts. If you entertain often this will be helpful to keep your parties different and interesting. Also, it doubles as a diary. There is nothing more fun than looking back to see how your menus and events evolve over the years.

So smile and go greet those eager guests. And, of course, have fun. Loads of it.

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