EntertainingEtiquette

Hosting School

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Below are a few of my party planning tips for hosting a dinner or cocktail gathering at your home!
1. Prepare: I don’t mean prepare day of… prepare weeks before. Make sure all of your shopping is done, menu is written out, house is cleaned, get all of the dishes out you’re going to use the night before and set everything up aside from the food (the food should be prepared, but might be in the fridge still). Almost everything can be done before the day of the party. One thing you don’t want is your guests coming over for a party and getting a tired, overworked host! You want to be able to relax, get ready and prepare last-minute, little touches before your guests arrive.
2. Set up a drink station: Let people serve themselves, grab their own cocktails and refill their own drinks. Have a drink station ready with water, ice, wine, a signature cocktail, glasses, etc. Anything you want to serve that night, have it out for the guests to serve themselves. Of course, you can offer your guests their first drink, but then they’ll be able to refill themselves.
3. Don’t do the dishes: Okay, this is a big one for me. It might be hard for some people to let go, but if you must have the dishes cleaned during the party or before you serve dessert, hire someone for a few hours to do this for you. A hostess doing the dishes during the dinner or party is a no-no in hosting 101. I have two reasons for this… the first, a hostess needs to be mingling with the guests that he/she has invited over. It’s so important to relax and have a great time with your friends or family. Second, it makes your guests feel like they need to help out and they will offer to help with the dishes, but really who wants to do dishes when they go to a dinner or cocktail party?!
4. Enjoy! Why do all of the hard work and not even enjoy the party you’re throwing?! Yes, you can still be a great hostess and have a fabulous, stress-free time. Once everyone has a drink, people are served then you should be ready to enjoy the fruits of your labor.
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5 responses to Hosting School

  1. September 15, 2011

    Wonderful tips – I am always a frazzled hostess! I need to learn to prepare more ahead of time!

  2. September 15, 2011

    Great advise! These very same circumstances are the foundation of services my company offers. Everyone wants to throw a great party! Some have no vision, and others make make overzealous plans. There is no fun in working yourself to death in preparation, then continuing the work throughout the party. Plan accordingly so that you can honor your guests with a great event, and the pleasure of your company!

  3. September 16, 2011

    thank you for the tip!! helps a bunch now that we’ve gotten our own place and I want to have a housewarming party!

  4. September 19, 2011

    I especially love the task “Enjoy”. Sounds so simple, but often soooo hard to do!

  5. November 18, 2011

    i wish i could teach my husband about number 3. although i love that he (usually) does the cleaning up for our parties, i wish he’s wait until after everyone is gone (or even morning for that matter!) because what you said about guests feeling like they need to help is true! and i HATE when my friends, my guests, are put to work…

    great post!

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