All the guests made it. I was worried they’d be late with the weather so bad outside. The table was set. The glasses were full and the party was ready to start. The only thing missing was great conversation. Not surprising as the guest list consisted of my dolls and VIP stuffed animals. I was 7 years old and dominating the party scene in my little world of make believe.
Hosting has always come easily to me. I am a social person that loves to show people a good time, especially in my own home. Designing the aesthetics of a party is just as thrilling to me as making the guests comfortable and keeping them entertained. I wanted to share some of the things that I think are the most important when it comes to hosting a party.
This is a personal preference, but I much prefer paper invitations to e-vites or text messages. A guest receiving a personalized invitation makes them feel special and they will more likely come to your party. When it is a mass text or e-vite, people feel like they aren’t needed at the party and are less likely to come. I’m not saying you have to go all out and spend a ton of money on invitations, but just printing an invite off on Word and handing them out in person at playgroup, church, or sending it in the mail will go a long way.
Guests should receive invitations at least two weeks prior to the party (this doesn’t include weddings). I like to shoot for 3 weeks ahead of time to ensure people can plan around the party. I am a super planner, though, so I know it isn’t always realistic to be that ahead of the game.
FEED THEM AND THEY WILL COME
You have to feed your guests! Absolutely have to feed your guests. Feed them. Feed them. Feed them. I try to always have a fun drink, something salty or savory, and something sweet. My husband and I love hosting dinner parties with our friends. A lot of the time, we provide most of the food. If we are going more potluck style, we always provide the main dish and at least one side. We don’t ever want our guests to feel put out or inconvenienced. We want them to come back!
When it comes to entertaining guests, you don’t have to put on a song and dance. I always have something in the back of my mind to keep the conversation going or keep guests entertained. As a hostess, it’s my responsibility to keep the conversation engaging and make sure that everyone is comfortable. I have a few friends that I know don’t like games and get annoyed whenever I try to plan a big game to play. I also have friends (especially my in-laws) that LOVE games and would be totally disappointed if there wasn’t something to do at the party. Whether it’s a card game, board game, or a crazy game you find on Pinterest – some people love games. Know your guests and plan accordingly!
TREAT EVERYONE LIKE FAMILY
When you walk in my house, I want you to be so comfortable that you feel like you’re home. To help your guests feel comfortable and welcome, you can do a few simple things:
- Provide physical comfort. Make sure the temperature in the house is comfortable and cool. Don’t make them take their shoes off if they don’t want to, but give them the option. Make sure you have enough seating for each guest!
- Welcome them inside. Guide your guests to a location in your house. Invite them in the kitchen to taste something you’re cooking, show them where the other guests are (“Hey! Everyone is outside. Come on back!”), or guide them where to have a seat. Saying, “Have a seat wherever,” can be uncomfortable for people who don’t come to your house often. I like to give a specific location so they don’t feel weird about choosing the wrong seat. “Make yourself comfortable on the couch!” “Come join me at the table!” “Pull up a bar stool!”
- Ask them questions! One of my biggest pet peeves is when people talk about themselves 95% of the time, especially when I am a guest at their house. Get to know your friends and guests! Keep up with their lives. Make them feel special and valued. I’m not saying you avoid talking about yourself completely or steam roll them with questions. Monitor yourself and make sure the conversation is focused around their lives 70% of the time.
I put together a FREE party planning guide that will take away some of the stress from organizing and planning a party, so you can focus on what really matters – your guests! To get the FREE guide, join our e-mail list! You can join on the right of this page!