When it comes to hosting, whether it’s a grand holiday bash for Christmas or New Year’s Eve or an intimate dinner party any time of year, ensuring you have enough food and drinks is only part of the deal. The real art lies in mastering essential etiquette rules that will not only create a memorable experience for your guests but allow you to be part of the fun as well.
According to Valerie Sokolosky, author of Do It Right – an etiquette guide – hosting is about delighting your guests with things you enjoy. So here’s what you need to know before planning your next party. From who to invite and what dishes will steal the show, we also explore aspects you should leave out in order not to overburden yourself with unnecessary tasks.
Sokolosky suggests that deciding why you’re hosting allows for more effective planning as well as serving from the heart.
Whether it’s “BBQ birthday,” “home for Christmas,” or “family game night,” having a theme makes choosing invitations, decor, and menus easier and more efficient.
Invitations are key to setting the tone for what’s ahead. Including specifics like date, time, and location, along with RSVP instructions, gives your guests all they need while enticing them at the same time.
In this age where many people fail to respond promptly due largely to digital distractions, knowing headcount helps tremendously with planning.
A friendly follow-up on missed RSVPs can help get an accurate count.
When catering, consider allergies and food intolerances when planning your menu. This ensures everyone enjoys their meal without worries about health concerns.
Ensure each guest feels welcomed and included by making proper introductions. Offer name tags or name cards at each place setting to make it easier for guests to interact with each other.
Don’t forget your guests are there because they want to spend time with you. So, choose meaningful interactions over menial tasks like removing empty plates.
With your restroom seeing a surge in use during parties, ensure it’s clean and inviting. Fresh towels, scented candles, and seasonal soap can add a touch of class.
Sokolosky emphasizes that napkins, whether festive patterned paper ones for casual events or artfully folded cloth ones for formal dinners, add color and fun to the decor.
While home-cooked meals can be delicious, it’s also perfectly acceptable (and less stressful) to buy prepared food from stores or restaurants.
If not all decorations made it up on time, or if a dish gets burned – don’t worry!
Parker advises hosts not to let perfection become their enemy.
A common mistake many hosts make is assuming they must do everything themselves.
Learn how to delegate tasks – especially when help has been offered.
Although paper invitations have their charm, Sokolosky suggests digital invites as an eco-friendly alternative that is less stressful and more efficient.
With these tips in mind, you’re well on your way to transforming from just a host into a party pro!