It can be stressful when having a party, get together, or even just a few people over for dinner. Here are a few things to keep in mind and make sure you check off on your to do list if you want the party to go off without a hitch!
There are the basics that you want to make sure you have at every party, and that is napkins, plates, utensils and glasses/cups. I know this sounds like a no brainer, but sometimes people forget. Or they think they have enough wine glasses and then realize last minute that they don’t. Also consider the menu…you may need some additional utensils depending on what is being served.
Also make sure that you have everything you need from the store the day before. Nothing takes up more time than having to run to the store last minute!
Make sure you have plenty of ice!!
Plan your menu and get as much done as you can before the day off. You want to be finished to the point of being able to greet your guests as they arrive. Also remember to consider who is coming over and plan your menu accordingly. If you know that a few of the people don’t eat meat, then you may want to stick to more veggie options, etc.
Dont wait until the last minute to try and cook something new. I always try to make something new the week before first.
Also keep in mind your menu when thinking of how you are going to serve things. Don’t make a dip that has to stay hot and not have a way of keeping it hot on the table, etc. Also make sure that all of your food goes together well, and isn’t all over the place.
Make sure you really clean your bathrooms. And not just the one in the hallway!! People tend to seek out another bathroom when the main one is occupied. I know this isn’t the ideal situation, but its the truth, so make sure each room is neat, and each bathroom is clean and has anything embarrassing removed from the cabinets, especially any prescription medication, etc. Also it is nice to leave some basic necessities under the sink like extra toilet paper, tampons, advil, and tums. If your guests are in need of any of these things they will be so relieved.
Have at least one non-alcoholic drink option that is not water. People who come to a party and don’t want alcohol appreciate there being another option there. Even if it is something simple like flavored sparkling water, or lemonade. At least give them the option.
Make sure you have enough seats. If you are hosting a dinner party have the table and chairs already in their places before people get there. Don’t have people roaming the house looking for a chair to pull up to the table. It is rude and makes people feel like they were not thought of. If it is a cocktail party, then just make sure you have a few places to sit for those you get tired or who may not be able to stand for long. Also keep in mind that people sometimes bring people without asking (which is rude btw) so have a couple of extra seats around just in case.
In the winter, make a space in the front closet for coats and purses. Or you can use a bed or sofa in a spare room, but make sure that you have cleaned the room and removed any valuables so you don’t have to worry. If it is just some close friends coming over then you obviously can be a little more flexible.
Have enough to drink – When planning the alcohol for a party plan three bottles of wine for every four people, three to four cocktails per guest for a two- to three-hour cocktail party. Also don’t forget to have a pitcher of water out. You don’t want people going to the kitchen each time they need water.
If you are going to have sports on or something like that, make sure you get the channel and that you know what time everything comes on!! If guests are coming over to watch a special event, they may be relying on you as the hostess to know the times, etc.
Music – There is nothing worse than a party that is too quiet. Make sure you have some appropriate tunes on in the background to keep the mood light and keep things lively. If you can’t decide on the music, consider the theme of the party (if the theme is a certain decade, then use music from that time, a luau? use an island music mix, summer? use more beachy music, etc.) The music can help you create the atmosphere you are trying to achieve.
Have a couple of extra bowls and platters if you have people bringing food. Sometimes they will come with the dish still in the packaging from the store and will need to use your plates or utensils. Have them out already or in a place that is easy for them to find so that you are not having to help everyone while trying to get your stuff finished.
Cleaning supplies – make sure you have cleaning supplies and a tide-to-go pen in case of emergencies.
Park your cars in a place that doesn’t restrict parking for your guests. If there is a certain place people should park then list it on the invite, or have someone direct people where to go. If it is winter or raining, etc. make sure that you have your walkway cleared of ice and have a matt to wipe shoes on by the door, as well as a space in the front for umbrellas, etc.
Turn the temp down a little bit. When you get a lot of people in a place, it tends to get warm quickly.
Remember to have fun!! For small groups, play some games, let loose a little. People like doing things that are interactive and give them things to do and talk about.