Here are simple tips for Hosting a Stress-Free Party at home.
Entertain without stress and make your guests feel welcome!
Are you planning a party or a get-together at your home?
Are you a little anxious - wondering if all will go well?
If you are a little nervous, especially if this is your first time hosting, know that you are not alone!
Eliminating stress and keeping a positive attitude will increase the "fun" factor for both your guests and yourself!
Plan a party that with a relaxed atmosphere that will create fond memories of good times!
EXPLORE YOUR OPTIONS - decide on what you plan to do for entertaining.
There are many popular options for entertaining.
Instead of a three-course affair, you can host a casual brunch, a cocktail party, and even a dessert only celebration.
You may wish to host a pot-luck dinner, the choice is yours.
Plan a party that you are comfortable hosting at your home.
TAILOR THE NUMBER OF GUESTS - a small home will not prevent you from entertaining guests, but do keep your guest list in line with how many people will fit comfortably in your home.
Obviously a mingling meal or a dessert only party will require less space than a three-course meal.
MAKE LISTS ON PAPER - make lists on paper several weeks before the date of the party.
Make a list of your plans for a guest list, a menu (including all the items you need), and a list of decorating plans. Then, make "to do" and "to buy" lists as needed.
By keeping an organized list, on paper, of what you need to buy, or what needs to be done will help to make you feel that you are in control of the organization the party.
Don't rely on your memory to remember everything that needs to be purchased or done, get it written down on paper and cross off the items when they have been taken care of!
CHOOSE FOODS CAREFULLY - choosing a food menu which includes recipes that can be made in advance (or purchased "ready-made") will reduce stress by allowing you to concentrate on other areas when your guests have arrived.
Keeping it "simple but special" is a good rule of thumb.
Serve foods that will allow you to spend the maximum amount of time mingling with your guests.
LEFT-OVERS ARE BETTER THAN NOT ENOUGH - always be sure when you calculate how much food and beverages you will need to err on the side of having too much.
You definitely do not want to run out of either!
Left-over food can easily be used in the days following the party and there is no need to waste it.
FEEL COMFORTABLE ENLISTING HELP - regardless of how well you plan and simplify your party, entertaining a large group of people is a lot of work!
Pair up with a friend, or another couple or ask for the assistance of a teenager to lend a hand.
You don't need to do it all by yourself! Don't hesitate to ask guests to lend a hand either!
MAKE A TIME PLAN - making a rough time plan on paper will help to keep you organized with the timing of food preparation - to serving time, and the timing of other planned events for the celebration.
Be sure to leave time to get ready for the event yourself.
Give yourself enough "me time" to be able to relax before guests arrive.
PREPARE THE TABLE IN ADVANCE - if your party includes celebrating around the table, be sure that the table linens, place settings, napkins, etc. are all set prior to the arrival of the guests.
Keep in mind that very large or tall table centerpieces or large candles or candelabra may make it difficult for guest to converse.
Short candles or votives are a good alternative.
CHOOSE MUSIC IN ADVANCE - if your entertaining will include music, plan your selection in advance so you will not need to fumble through your music choices while your guests are arriving.
MAKE YOUR GUESTS FEEL WELCOME - keep in mind that hosting and entertaining is really a gift to your guests.
Even if you are feeling kind of flustered or tired, greet your guests with an inviting smile and show them you are happy they are there!
REMEMBER TO INTRODUCE YOUR GUESTS - one of the keys to having guest enjoy each other's company is to ensure that you introduce them to each other.
You may also have them introduce themselves.
There are many novel ways to use introductions as an ice-breaker at the beginning of the party.
One common way of introducing guests is by asking them one-by-one to introduce themself and add three facts about themself.
PLAN A FAREWELL CUE - if you wish to have the party end at a certain time, be sure to plan a cue for the guests.
Your clue may be by offering coffee as a signal, or by distributing a goodbye party favour, or simply by thanking the guests for helping to make the get-together such a successful and fun event!
SMILE AT MISTAKES AND MISHAPS - from the planning stages to the time you say good-bye to your guests, keep a positive attitude and smile at mistakes and mishaps!
No party will go exactly as planned.
Stay calm and don't over-react to the inevitable spills and unplanned scenarios.
I do not believe there is such a thing as a "flawless" party, so do expect the "unexpected" and make the best of any unforeseeable situation.
By knowing that you have prepared for and executed you party plans to the best of your ability, you will better be able to handle any mishaps!