Summer is almost over, fall is right around the corner and the holiday season will be here before you know. Each season comes with many reasons to throw a party and entertain family and friends. Even though the times are a changing, there are some social graces that are timeless. Here are a few rules to follow and some to bend a bit when you’re hosting a party.
The Guest List
It goes without saying that the invited guest should get along well. Nothing ruins a party like an argument or the feeling that an argument could erupt at any time. Since most people tend to travel within a specific social circle your guest list for informal gatherings will be the same. This doesn’t mean you won’t expand your social circle. It means unless something has drastically changed your relationships, it’s a good idea to invite the same friends. That being said, your entertaining space will definitely determine the amount of guests you can accommodate.
When you’re hosting a party, you are the entertainment committee. Mixing and mingling will be your mantra for the event. If you spot someone who doesn’t seem to be enjoying themselves, or seem intimidated gently bring them into the conversation. There’s probably more than a few common denominators amongst your guests and it will be up to you to get the ball rolling.
Avoid spending most of your time with only a select group. Spread the host/hostess love around. In the midst of you mingling, pay attention to the food and drinks. Refresh bowl and platters and ask guests if there’s anything you can get for them.
The standard rule is that time of day dictates the menu. Well sometimes rules are made to be broken. If this is an informal affair don’t be afraid to shake things up a bit. Breakfast food for dinner works well. Think of all the national chain restaurants serve breakfast at all hours.
No matter what’s on the menu always inquire about food allergies. Your favorite dish that you nail every time, may cause an allergic reaction. When food is being prepared as part of the festivities ask how your guests likes their’s prepared. One person’s well done is another’s nemesis.
A vegetarian option is a good choice for those that my not eat or who are trying to cut back.
You want your guests to have a good time and you want to enjoy the party as well. Even though you may have planned the perfect party with an off the charts menu, things can happen.
*An invited guest could bring someone along with asking first. Rather than make a scene or show displeasure in front of the uninvited person, find a moment when you and the invited guest can have a few minutes for a private conversation. Let them know you appreciate them thinking you’d have enough food and space, however they should have cleared it with you first.
*If you have a guest of honor, make it all about them. A special place at the table, a sash on their chair and definitely a toast to them.
*Handling guests that are late can be a bit nerve-racking. Consider the occasion, number of guests and whether the prepared food needs to be served immediately. Ultimately the decision is up to you. On the other hand, keep in mind the feelings of the guests that have arrived on time. They shouldn’t be made to wait because someone else is late.
*Clean up is another area where there are some rules. If you’re hosting a casual get together, it’s alright to accept a guests offer to help tidy things up. If it’s your daughter or son’s wedding, that’s a big no-no.
*For a children’s party it’s a good idea to invite one or both parents. Some parents wonder if they can stay and are hesitant to ask. Avoid the awkward moment and invite them. Be sure and include them when you’re planning the menu and estimating the amount of food needed.
Hosting a party and attending take time and effort. Being well prepared and knowing what to do can truly make the event successful..
Here’s to a great party