There will come a time in your life when you are either drawn to throw a dinner party, or forced to do so against your will. Let’s be prepared with some time saving tricks that will allow you to be the superwoman hostess, but simultaneously remain a guest at your own party (yes, it’s possible).
Pick a Standout Item
We aren’t asking you to host Thanksgiving just yet. Save that for a few years down the road, when you have a a few parties under your apron. For the novice, start slow and choose one part of the meal to be the standout and focus your energy there. If you slaved away making a homemade macaroon display there is no shame in lining up a DIY taco line in the kitchen. Even if it is Christmas. People love to have control over their food anyway.
Set Up a DIY Bar Cart
Sticking with the DIY theme, set up a user-friendly bar station. You can still offer to make drinks when you have the time but this eliminates the need to conquer 20 very different drink orders at once. Plus, people don’t like to be judged for not drinking or for drinking way too much, so this removes any potential tally marking or social pressure. Just make sure your drinkers are not also the drivers.
A Theme Makes People Feel at Home
If having a theme is appropriate, it can add an element of “play time” that gets people excited yet relaxed at the same time. Even your most antisocial neighbor can surely engage some chatter about her first pumpkin spice cocktail at your “fall equinox” party. This is also a good way to ensure that every guest doesn’t show up with the same bag of tortilla chips. Even a simple “exotic dip” theme will get the wheels turning and the creativity flowing. Another decent idea—request that all guests bring a bottle of wine that represents their cultural or ethnic backgrounds. It forces others to ask questions and engage with people they don’t know so well yet.
Get Out of the Kitchen
Really don’t worry about cleanup time, it’ll happen. The mind of a hostess wants to keep things organized and impressive, but if you’re running around clearing dishes all night and throwing coasters around like tiny Frisbees your guests risk feeling rushed and unwelcome in your pristine palace. Oh they are? Maybe skip hosting the game night party next time.
Stock Up and Chill Out
A good hostess is a well prepared one, and like everyone always says, a little stockpile of necessities can ensure a more relaxed evening. Keep an abundance of napkins on hand, disposable containers to send extra food home with your friends, geared up playlists, and unexpected plus ones. And candles. Always candles.