Good hosting extends beyond the perfect guest bedroom set up – it’s also about how you conduct yourself when it comes time to party. The only thing worse than going to a bad dinner party is throwing one. Watching your friends yawn – especially after slogging in the kitchen all day – is enough to make any party host want to throw in the towel. But don’t! We have some easy tips to keep your bash bumping into the night. Here are 10 things great party hosts do:
They have fun.
A stressed out host does not a fun party make.
They don't force games.
Not everyone enjoys “going around the table and saying what we’re thankful for,” and a good host knows that. Go with what feels natural.
They embrace basic desserts.
The brownie recipe from the outside of the box is better than experimenting with a newfangled salted-caramel situation. Don’t add any extra stress to your plate by complicating the menu– you’ll feel more comfortable sticking to your famous chocolate chip cookies. We bet they’ll be gone before they even hit the table.
They keep the wine glasses full.
Some guests will be too shy to reach for the Cabernet themselves, but few will stop you if you top them off.
They know lighting matters.
You don’t need the lighting technician from Cats to design your apartment or anything; just remember that bright lights make people self-conscious and soft lights loosen them up. (And for the advanced party host: A candle or two pays off in spades. Just make sure they’re subtly and naturally scented).
They play fun music.
If you want to keep your guests awake and engaged, good music works like a charm. Pick something classic, upbeat and easy, like Johnny Cash. (And when you’re ready for your guests to hit the road, something depressing like Daniel Johnston or Nick Cave never fails to get them out).
They know when to tuck their kids in.
Pre-establish a bed time with your kids to allow them to participate in some of the festivities; when that time comes, it’s off to bed (or excuse yourself as you tuck them in for the night). This allows the children to enjoy the party while preserving an adult-only time where your guests – and you – can relax. If your guests have to censor themselves for eight-year-old ears, your party will be fighting an uphill battle. (Pro tip: If your children are very young or you’re afraid of an untimely tantrum, book a sitter or ask Grandma to have the littles over for the night).
They don’t freak out if everything isn’t perfect.
Remember what happened when Bridget Jones accidentally fed her friends blue soup with a string in it? They laughed and made omelettes instead. So if your metaphorical soup turns blue, just roll with the punches. Your party won’t be ruined if it’s not perfect – it will be better.
They use place cards on a case by case basis.
Be mindful if your guest list will love the thought behind having personalized place cards (Instagram handles are fun) OR if they’re a bunch who feels forcing adults to sit in specific seats is cruel and unusual punishment. These are your friends; you’ll know their vibe.
They remove buzzkills from the guest list.
Don’t invite people to your party out of obligation, to fill the table or as an easy way to avoid hanging out with them one-on-one. It’s better to have a small party of fun, positive people than a medium-sized party with a few downers.