I love hosting events. Planning and prepping, executing and enjoying. All of it. I always have. To a degree I think we are either wired that way or not, but I believe we can all enjoy being a hostess if we approach the task prepared. These are just a few tips I have gathered over the years that have helped me enjoy throwing a fun event. I hope they encourage you to invite a few friends over or throw an all out bash! I’ve sprinkled in some hosting ideas for extra motivation…click on the pictures for more info!
1. Make a to do list – this helps so much! This way, five hours after the party you don’t find the cheese tray you forgot to put out left behind in the extra fridge. I like to list the menu, all prep needed and any day of items that need to be taken care of. This list is extra helpful if it’s broken down into days leading up to an event.
2.Go with a theme- This seems like a kid’s birthday party tip (and it really does help there), but it works for grown ups too. Having a dinner party? Have a theme. I don’t mean everyone dress up in Hawaiian shirts and roast a pig. (Although coordinating from invites down to music choice is a personal favorite of mine.) Do you want the evening to be a casual backyard burger flip kind of night or a romantic night in Italy feel. You don’t have to decorate out loud for the theme you choose. You don’t even have to tell anyone about the theme. Just use it as a guide to keep everything flowing cohesively. This keeps your menu in line and drink choices coordinated. Decorations and table settings will stay on course and let your guests have an extra special experience they can’t really put their finger on. You may keep it as simple as a color theme or a feeling you wish to evoke. Be creative…look around and use a flower from your yard or serving piece you haven’t touched in a while to spark your inspiration.
3. Set yourself up for success- By this I mean don’t overcommit yourself by going overboard. Plan a menu that you are comfortable with. Plan a menu that has a good mix of store bought plus homemade items to lighten the load. Plan a menu that doesn’t require cooking while guests are there. Know when to say when on planning. This leads to number 3…
4. Think about what you have- I know Pinterest rocks. Really I do. But don’t get caught up thinking your event has to be exactly like what you saw on social media. Think about the things you have on hand and improvise. It’s fun for your creative brain and it’s easier on the pocketbook. You will be surprised how inventive you can be if you just put your mind to it. Remember no one but you will know about any missing element you where hoping to incorporate into your event! I promise your friends aren’t going to compare you to Pinterest. We only torture ourselves that way. 😉
5. Let people help you- Let people bring an item, let them pick up something for you. People like to feel useful, so let them. Follow up by being prepared for what they bring. If you asked them to bring a cake have a serving piece and utensils in place when it arrives. Feel free to let your guests know you have a serving piece for them to help keep your theme in line and ease their stress of presentation.
6. Do as much as you can beforehand- By before I mean a day or more before. Not day of. Things always take longer than you think. Planning ahead is key to less stress. Use the list you made to help with this tip!
7. Get all serving bowls, utensils, napkins, etc. out the day before– I place bits of paper in each serving piece saying what it will hold. This way you can be sure you aren’t forgetting anything, have all the proper utensils on hand, wash any serving pieces that may need it and start laying out where things will go.
8. Get the party ready then go get yourself ready- Give yourself a few minutes to decompress, calm down and freshen up before guests arrive. This break in between setting up and mingling allows you to shift gears and ENJOY the gathering instead of working to the bone until guests walk in the door.
9. Consider yourself a guest- Once the other guests arrive you should be able to enjoy the time just like they do. Sit and talk, mingle and have fun. Yes, you are there to get things people need, but a gracious host enjoys her company more than perfection. Don’t be Martha when you need to be Mary.
10. At some point during your event be sure to stand back, look around and enjoy the fruits of your labor- Notice how much fun everyone is having, soak in the events and lock that picture in your brain. So often when we host the night breezes by and we never really take the time to step back and take it all in. The festivities die down and we are left tired, wondering why we did all that running around. Savoring the good moments will remind you what it’s all about, gathering friends and loved ones. It’s not about the table setting or tasty recipes, yes those set the stage, but we foster community to share life.
11. Don’t do cleanup while guests are still there- You are hosting and that means you signed up for dish duty. (family Christmas, holidays, etc. are a totally different ballgame though!) When you start to clean up others feel like they need to clean up or sometimes even leave. So unless you are trying to get a lingering guest out the door save those dishes for later! If you are like me and can’t stand a messy kitchen, resolving to this tip beforehand will ease the stress you feel as dishes pie up. Turn a blind eye and tackle the mess when the last guest leaves, or be a real rebel and wait ’till the next day!
I hope this list gives you some new insight into how to ease the stress of hosting an event! Be sure to pin the tips for the next time you feel the urge to send out invites!
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