Posted by: Discover Directory on 11/19/2018

How to Be a Hostess with the Mostest

How to Be a Hostess with the Mostest

The holidays are rolling in, and that means parties, parties, and more parties! For all the holiday parties you’re invited to this year, you might even decide to host your own for a change. 

Whether you’re a seasoned party host and know the stress that comes with planning a party, or you’re a first-timer handling pre-party jitters, use these tips to ease the nerves and hopefully have a great evening alongside your guests: 

  • Have a plan.

    Whether you’re hosting a classy sit-down dinner party or a more casual cocktail get-together, you should always have an idea of how you want your party to go. Make a detailed shopping list to know exactly what you need and get it a couple days in advance. If it’s a dinner party, have a set menu. If it’s a get-together, have some fun card games ready in case things slow down at any point.

    Either way, always be sure to give yourself more time than you may think necessary. Even if you don’t end up using it to be productive, it can serve as a time to relax before the party begins. 

  • Cook within your wheelhouse.  

    There’s always the desire to impress — especially if you’ve invited new people or a seemingly unpleasable in-law. But trying to whip out a brand new recipe right before a party is a recipe for a stressful evening.

    Instead, cook the classics: recipes you’ve mastered and have received positive feedback on. This will make the cooking aspect of the party planning equation a breeze. Most hosts have a tendency to focus all of their energy on the cooking. This will allow you more energy and time for other, equally important features.

  • Set a mood. 

    Candles, music, and lighting can make or break a party. Before your guests arrive, set the vibe you want your party to have. Pick your lighting and music accordingly.

    Music that’s too loud will make it difficult for your guests to mingle with one another and, similarly, a candle that’s too aromatic might leave some guests (or yourself) feeling woozy or with a headache. Making or utilizing a playlist will help, too. Some music streaming services even have pre-made playlists designed to capture a certain mood.

  • Think about seating.

    Seating is a very important element in any party. If you’re having a dinner party, obviously people need to be seated when eating a multi-course meal. Make sure you have enough chairs for guests and consider assigned seating. Do you know for a fact certain people shouldn’t sit next to each other? Or should sit next to each other (i.e., couples)? In this case, perhaps arranged seating is a good bet.

    If you’re having more of a casual cocktail party, be sure to distribute seating throughout the party area so that people can sit if they would like. There’s nothing worse than wanting to sit down but not being able to find a seat. If you want to switch things up, consider some unconventional seating options — let your guests have fun with them! Lastly, if you plan on having a table for food, pull the chairs away from the table so your guests can have easy access to tasty treats.

  • Provide the appropriate drinks.

    If you’re not going to have a full bar, it’s important to think about what kind of drinks your party warrants. For example, if you’re throwing a Cinco de Mayo bash, margaritas only make sense. If you’re having a formal dinner party, you’d likely want to have both red and white wine on hand as well as a few other options.

    You should also acknowledge that you may have a guest who doesn’t drink or there might be a few kiddos in attendance. If so, be sure to have non-alcoholic beverages on hand beyond water.

  • Greet your guests at the door.

    It’s always awkward going into a party and not knowing where to go. You can ease this discomfort as the host: greet your guests at the door. Offer them refreshments and show them around the party.

    Point out the bathroom, places they can find food and drink, and where some people they might know are hanging out. This will immediately make your guest feel welcome and as though you personally want them to have a good time. 

  • Start the cleanup process in advance.

    After all the guests have gone, if you’re not too wiped out, try to start the cleaning process early. Gathering dishes and bringing them to the kitchen, picking up trash, or doing some light sweeping may not seem like much, but it will make a world of difference. You’ll thank yourself for it in the morning.

    Speaking of cleaning, it’s also smart to have supplies at the ready during the party in case there are any catastrophic spills.

Don’t have crazy expectations — have fun!

Everyone wants to throw the perfect party. Sadly, this just isn’t possible. There is always something that’s going to go wrong or, at least, not meet your expectations. This is why you should try to keep a level head about things. Having super high hopes will only make you feel worse if something doesn’t go according to plan. Most importantly, remember to have fun! Yes, you have your responsibilities as the host, but don’t forget that one of those is to relax and mingle with friends. Step out of the kitchen and into the fun. You’ll be really happy you did.