Thursday, April 14, 2011

Party Hosting Tips for Everyone

With Easter right around the corner, I thought I'd round up some party hosting tips so your event is a success. From a casual get together with a few close friends or a big bash with people spilling out of your house and into the yard, there are a few tricks that are important to keep your guests comfy and feeling at home (at least I hope our guests feel that way!).

Since I've moved past the days of buying a keg, red solo cups and a couple bags of ice, I am now constantly trying to figure out what I can do to keep my guests happy (and my husband is constantly telling me to relax).

This may just cover the basics, but some of us out there are a little dense when it comes to being a hostess with the mostess (or even a hostess with a little bit). In college, I had to run down the street in a panic to buy toilet paper because we ran out while my poor mom was visiting. Really? Mom comes to town and I don't even remember to get some TP? I had a lot to learn.

I just really like this little guy (Source)

Most of my tips are based around making a guest feel comfortable. I'm not here to tell you to cook gourmet meals, make fancy martinis, or have an immaculate house (but if you can do these three things I'll come over any time). These ideas are best for casual get togethers rather than fancy sit-down dinners.

Disclaimer: While I stand by all these tips as great ways to make guests feel right at home, I don't claim to always remember to do them :) I stress a little when people come over and sometimes forget!

1. Tell you guests how to find the bathroom.

Seriously. If someone is visiting your house for the first time, after the usual greetings offer them a drink, a place to put their coat/purse, and casually let them know where to find the loo. It sounds simple but its important. This lets your guests quietly sneak away to do their business without having to announce to the party that they gotta go.

Also, don't forget to make sure the extra rolls of TP are easy to find and that you have soap and a clean towel set out.

The bathroom at my parents old house. More on their crazy DIY skills later.

2. Greet your guests at the door

Have you ever had that ‘I knocked but no one came, do I let myself in’ awkward moment? We’ve all been there. If you (or your partner/roommate/friend) answer the door, your guests will avoid that uneasiness (is that a word?) and feel welcome and comfortable. With a cheerful greeting, you set the party mood right away. If you’re busy cooking or hosting, ask a friend to keep an eye on the door for a bit.

3. Presentation matters (even with a bag of chips).

When my husband and I are hosting, he usually throws a bag of chips on the table and calls it good.

Isn't this much more inviting?


I find nothing wrong with the main course being doritos (who doesn't love doritos?), but its all about the presentation. Simply throwing the chips in a bowl makes them easier to grab and is more inviting to people who want a bite.

4. Put everything out so guests can help themselves.


Our kitchen is generally a disaster area, so I like to have everything the guests need out in plain view: plates, cups, napkins, etc. This way they don't have to rummage through my still-haven't-organized-anything kitchen drawers. A good strategy is to get the first drink for everyone, but then show them where to find refills and food and ask each guest to help themselves.

And while I almost always prefer wine/beer/white russians, its good to have water, juice, or pop available for the guests who don't want to imbibe.

5. Relax.

This is actually a tip from my husband but he's right (just don't tell him!). Remember to relax. Right before people come over, I usually run around like a mad woman vacuuming up pet hair, emptying the dishwasher, and trying to make the house look presentable. Matt says this makes people feel like they can't touch anything. Stop worrying about how the house looks or the fact that there are a couple faucets in the entry way and focus on relaxing with your friends! The faucets will remind people (mostly yourself), that you are in fact human.

6. Eat!

You know you wanna. If your guests see you diving into the guacamole, they'll feel more comfortable to eat too. If you're too busy running around playing hostess, grab a close friend and ask her to grab a bite to start it off.

6. Create a traffic flow in your house/yard.

If you're having a big party, its good to put the food in one place and drinks in another. This will avoid a traffic jam and provide a natural flow for people to move around and not be stuck in one seat all night. If you're having a really small gathering, I like to put the food and drinks close to where people are sitting so they won't miss out on the conversation. Same concept applies with seating arrangements.


1. Tell everyone where to hang their coats, grab a drink, and most importantly, find the bathroom
2. Greet your guests at the door

3. Make sure food is out of its packaging and easy to eat
4. Have glasses, utensils, etc out for guests to help themselves
5. Have some fun! It will show and relax your guests
6. Don’t forget to eat (Do you see a recurring theme in my priorities?)
7. Create a good traffic flow for conversation
8. When all else fails: wine and chocolate

So those are a few tips to host a successful get together. Do you have anything else to add to the list?

Linked up over at House of Hepworths, Serenity Now, My Repurposed Life, and Be Different Act Normal. Pin It


  1. haha-i laughed at your picture of the bag of chips and container of salsa-that's my husband's idea of snacks too-too funny! he's also the one telling me to relax when we have company over :) good tips to remember-thanks!

  2. I think so too that presentation is essential when hosting a dinner. Even just for doritos!!
    Visiting from Amanda's party,

  3. Hi, Katie! I think this is such a great, informative post. I featured it today. :) You really covered all the bases, and made it look pretty too. (Fyi, the comment above mine "liquid rubber" is spam--anything questionable like that which also leads to a website should be deleted. People troll through blogs looking to make comments like that)

    Thanks so much for joining my Weekend Bloggy Reading party. Hope you'll visit me at Serenity Now again soon! :)

  4. hey girl! Love your post and was happy to find your blog! Just became a new follower! :)

  5. Great tips! I have to remember these because I find it hard to relax when I'm the hostess. And the bag of chips on the table...that's not me. I always have to present everything in its own dish. My 17 year old daughter tells me I go overboard. Oh well. :)

  6. You'd be proud....Lindsay and Nick came over this weekend. I put out 4 rolls of toilet paper and showed them where all of the bathrooms are in the house. Tee hee.

  7. There are so many tasty foods and drinks to enjoy right there! I suddenly felt the urge to join an awesome party like that. Oh, and that dog is also included? Nice. Judging by the preparation itself, a party like that will definitely draw in a lot of visitors.


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