So you’ve had the Grand Vision. You’ve decided to host an event in your home. Whether it’s a cocktail party, family Christmas, 1st birthday party or just a relaxed dinner with friends, it’s your turn to play host. Of course, you want it to be one of those parties that everybody talks about for years to come as Best. Party. Ever.
The only problem? You’re stressed up to your eyeballs at the thought of it.
Last house party you went to the host was barely seen all night, apart from occasionally throwing a tray of burnt canapés out of a steaming kitchen at whoever was walking by.
If you’re stuck in the kitchen how will you know if the guests are getting along? What should you feed them? Do you need to plan activities? How do you decorate so it’s not cheesy? Suddenly this all seems like a lot of work with high potential for things to go terribly wrong.
Before you pack the whole idea in and suggest a Macca’s party instead (Ronald’s a great host, right?), check out these Top Tips for hosting Best Party Ever (and having fun while doing it!). Follow these tips and you’ll even be enjoying champagne and a boogie with your guests. Stress free entertaining? Yes please.
Preparation for days
- Lists lists lists. Make them, keep them, refer to them frequently. When you put it on paper, you get it out of your head and don’t have to stress about remembering everything. Some ideas for stress-busting lists:
- Guest list
- Catering plan – shopping list for food and beverages
- Items for “helpers” to take care of (people always offer to help/bring something – if you let them, you can cross it off your list!)
- Items to do on the day (eg. Chill the champagne, put canapés in oven, pick up ice)
- Send invites out at least a month in advance. This is respectful of your guests’ time and increases likely attendance rate (if the invite to your fancy soiree arrives and I put it in my calendar, I’m probably not going to accept the last minute invite to Cheryl’s Macca’ party.
Note: “Probably” may be dependent on cheeseburger cravings at time of event).
- Stock up on essentials – nobody wants to run out of toilet paper and be scrounging for towels, or worse, leaves (yes it’s happened). Worst nightmare for host and guest – avoidable.
Feed the masses! And water them whilst you’re at it
- Once your catering plan is done, order anything you can order online or direct from the supplier (butcher, etc.). Arrange delivery for the day before the event.
- If you’ve opted for an external caterer to organise the food, meet with them to confirm menu and make sure you confirm guest numbers with them one week prior to event. Mask Events can easily arrange catering through one of our amazing suppliers and take care of all the detail for you.
- Hot Tip: Never try a new recipe on party day (have you watched My Kitchen Rules? This is obviously a rocket ship to disaster and should only ever be done for dramatic television purposes).
- Consider having a grazing station with platters and/or separate dishes – make sure to label the dishes so guests are comfortable that they’re making good choices for their dietary requirements.
- Print and laminate some delish cocktail recipes and display at the bar so guests can have a go of mixing their own drinks.
Styling on pointe
- Decorations – setup décor to suit the theme or vibe of the party. If styling a Unicorn Princess Party isn’t your thing, Mask Events can arrange everything for you. You just tell us the theme or feel you’re going for (or we can make some suggestions) and we’ll do the rest.
- Lighting – this can make a real impact on the energy of a gathering. For example, for an intimate gathering you may like low lighting and candles – just ensure the dinner table is well-lit enough for everyone to see their food!
- Music – will also be relevant to the type of event and whether you want the conversation flowing or the dancefloor pumping. Ideally your playlist would take your guests through a journey for the evening – this is where a DJ can come in really handy (we happen to know some excellent DJs).
- Don’t wait for late guests to arrive before serving food – if you’re concerned they’ll miss out, keep some aside for them. Better to keep all your guests happy, fed and entertained than have thirty people resenting Gary and Shane when they arrive. You don’t know what sausage roll desperation can do to a person. We’ve seen it. It’s not pretty.
- Always introduce guests to each other to get the mingling happening. It’s helpful to provide them with a connector that will help them start a flowing convo:
- “Sally, this is Jane – Jane is also a midwife/Game of Thrones fan/loves iguanas”.
- If a guest is having trouble mingling (where my introverts at?) they’ll often be grateful for a job to do so they don’t feel awkward – find them a job that gives them a reason to meet people (eg. handing out canapes, mixing drinks etc.).
- Enjoy yourself! Spend time with your guests, have a laugh, savour the food, dance the night away. Fact: guests have more fun at parties where the host is mingling and having fun (let’s be honest – it’s a bit uncomfortable when Harry Host is stalking around the party sweating and moaning about his hors d’oeuvres).
All too hard?
Remember – Mask Events can help you host a fun and stress-free party – you just choose how much you want to do and what you’d like to leave to us! You can DIY hire anything you need via Mask if you want to do your own styling, or we can design the entire look. We’ll even set it up and take it away. We can organise entertainment, catering, band, even a cleaning crew to come in and make your house look like no party was ever held! Alternatively, we can be there to keep the food and drink flowing and the house tidy throughout the night. Like magical party elves.
Get in touch to have a chat with your own personal party elf about your options – we’d love to help you host Best. Party. Ever.