2. Keep the menu simple. Now is probably not the time to try out foods you haven’t made before. Avoid foods that require complex preparation so that you are more likely to be ready on time and enjoy a stress-free evening. It’s a good idea to serve things that are crowd-pleasing and basic. A variety of tried-and-true favorites at the table ensures that every guest will find at least one dish to enjoy.
3. Set the mood with music, lighting, and comfortable, cozy spaces. A personalized playlist vibrating softly in the background gives people permission to use their voices rather than keep a thoughtful silence. Low light and candles tend to make people more comfortable too. Cozy groupings of chairs and cushions ensure that your guests aren’t too far apart to start socializing.
4. Provide a fun appetizer and a drink. Rather than leaving your guests to entertain themselves while you finish up with the meal preparation, give them something to put in their mouth and get them talking. For some great ideas, try one or two of these fun finger foods from Chocolate, Chocolate and More.
5. Set the table. You are the host/hostess, and it’s your job to choose the theme and the formality. Paper plates and plastic utensils can be great for casual gatherings and barbecues, but if you’re looking for something a bit more organized, take a look at these 5 tips for a great tablescape at Remodelaholic. A classy centerpiece can also add to the conversation and mood of the party. Candles and a bit of greenery are all you need to get started, but you can take it to the next level with these super-simple ideas for centerpieces.
6. Enjoy your own party. Nothing can dampen the spirit of a party like having the host or hostess running to and fro throughout the night and never stopping to socialize. Remember, you invited them, and as much as your guests may seem to be enjoying each other’s company, they came to see you. Besides, after all your hard work, you deserve to put your feet up and enjoy the food and the friendship.
7. Send your guests home with something. A simple party favor puts the finishing touches on your evening together. A ceramic dip bowl with a recipe for your favorite dip attached, a mini-dessert to enjoy the next day, or a small piece of jewelry for female friends is a great way to send them off. Go here for more great ideas!
Kayla Lilly is a photographer, writer, wife, and mama making a house a home in eastern Idaho. She met her mister while working at an amusement park and married him a year later after deciding there was no way to live without him. The amusement has continued as they’ve added three kids and a passel of pets to their lives while finishing college and starting a photography business. Drawing inspiration from the whirlwinds of marriage, parenthood, and the media, Kayla blogs at www.utterlyinexperienced.blogspot.com, and spends the rest of her time chasing chickens, organizing junk drawers, diapering toddlers, and photographing everyone willing to step in front of her lens.
Featured image courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens.