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.