We all want to be the best host or hostess. As we send out our party invitations, we imagine ourselves stress free, floating around the room making sure all our guests are happy and having fun. In reality, we typically find ourselves running into the kitchen cursing the ice maker for jamming up or realizing that you just ran out of cups! We, at Harter House Supermarkets, have put together 10 tips to help you prepare yourself and your house for an event so you really can be the ultimate host(ess) with the most(ess).
1. Make Time Work For You - Let time work for you, not against you. This means allowing adequate time to plan for the time of party or even you are throwing. Don’t try to throw a baby shower tomorrow. Give yourself time to shop for supplies, create any party favors or activities, and time to clean your house! Also, don’t try to plan too many things in a short time span. You can’t be everywhere or everything to everyone all the time. You’ll find that there is so much you can do ahead of time (food prep, decorating etc.) that there is no need to be stressing once the party begins.
2. Delegate, Delegate, Delegate - Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Your friends and family keep telling you they are always here for you, so call in a favor! Get your kids to help with household chores, send your spouse to the store for last minute items so you can continue cooking. Ask your artistic, creative friends to help with decorations. Think about who you know and what their strengths are and as them to lend their expertise. They’ll be touched that you think so highly of them and will enjoy helping you create a fabulous party experience!
3. Choose Food Wisely - If you aren’t a really whiz in the kitchen, pick easy, make ahead recipes. Even if you are a french trained chef. it’s still a good idea to select menu items that can be prepped ahead of time. That way all you’re doing the day off are finishing touches, not creating something from start to finish. Let our experienced personnel at Harter House and World Flavors help with delicious ideas.
4. Set The Mood - People’s moods are very affected by their environment. Choose appropriate lighting (low light for a cocktail party, ample lighting for kid’s party with arts and crafts etc.) Use music to help you out too. If you want the tone to be soft and mellow, playing the new Metallica album probably isn’t a good idea.
5. Have An Emergency Supply - Keep snacks that you would serve to guests in the pantry in case you run low on food or burn one of your dishes! Things like gourmet cookies, biscotti, muffins, nuts, even popcorn could do in a pinch. Also keep plenty of beverages on hand in case you run low.
6. Circulate - Once you’ve set the last dish out, circulate the room. Be sure you introduce people so they feel more comfortable. Think of it like wedding, you want to talk to everyone that made an effort to show up!
7. The Glass Half Full - Keep an eye on people’s beverages. Offer to fill them up before they are completely drained. It keeps people from having to leave conversations or activities the might be enjoying at your party! Be sure to offer a place to “rest” before guest’s who may have over indulged head home. It also helps to keep a local cab company’s number handy.
8. Strategic Seating - You don’t have to have a seat for everyone that attends (unless an activity you are doing requires it). It’s better if you don’t so people are constantly shifting around and mingling.
9. Separate Food And Drinks - Don’t set the drink station right by the food. Otherwise, everyone will stay in the same spot so they can graze. If you put the drinks across the room, they have to move around!
10. Cool As A Cucumber - Your demeanor will greatly affect the tone of the party. So if someone spills red wine, even if you are flaming on the inside, handle it with grace. There are very few things that could happen that are really worth worrying about so relax and enjoy. If you come off as being stressed, you may create a tense environment and that’s not fun for anyone.