As the school year approaches its end, parties are coming. Graduation, summer break, or maybe just a birthday. No matter the occasion, there are ways to host a party that ensure not only the guests’ enjoyment but the host as well.
Take a piece of paper or open a document on your computer and figure out the basics-who, what, when, where, and how. (If you are familiar with mapping this is an excellent way to brainstorm party ideas.) This will give you an idea of who you want to be there, what you are celebrating and what food will you serve, where will you have it and when, and how will it be accomplished.
After the details have been established, send out your invitations 3-4 weeks before, or 6-8 weeks for formal affairs such as weddings or graduation. If the event is larger than a home dinner, delegate tasks to others so that you are not overwhelmed and forget something. These tasks can include purchasing items or helping with setup.
Preparation for “Day Of”
There is more to hospitality than just “tidying up” but you do not neglect cleaning. Make sure the main space is cleaned and put together. Think about flow and seating and move furniture if necessary. Use your senses to set the mood. Lighting is critical as it initially sets the mood. This will depend on what type of party you are having and what time of day. Natural light is always best but if it is in the evening, go for soft lighting for a cozy feel. Scent should be invoked. This may not be difficult if you have been cooking all day, but if you need to manufacture smells find candles that match the mood.
Music will help guide conversation, not too soft or too loud. Add “make a playlist” to your to-do list so that it will be ready beforehand and one less thing to worry about. Be mindful of the thermostat and that many bodies in one place drive the temperature up.
Choose foods that are easy to prep and that do not require being heated right before being served. Simple is always better and try not to provide too many choices. Buffet lines are better for guests as they can be free to eat when ready and make their own choices. Provide food throughout the night with drinks and snacks. Have items in plain sight so that guests are not having to look for things and you are free to mingle.
Greet each guest as they arrive and be sure to introduce people to one another. If you have planned well beforehand, you will have time to talk with your guests and enjoy the party. Remember to stay calm and be open to things happening or changing. Leave the cleaning for the next day. You don’t want to miss out on your guests because you were stressed about all the plates being loaded in the dishwasher. Have fun and enjoy yourself!