A party hostess is responsible for more than the cute plates, decorations and food. She’s responsible for the guests whole party experience!
Does that scare you? Because it scares 95% of us! The other 5% are professional party planners. Here’s what you need to know.
1. Get the cute party plates.
Setup the party with all the details just the way you want it – cute plates, glass drinkware, streamers galore and all the trimmings. Finalize the menu and prep the venue. All the things general party planning guides tell you. But don’t kick up your feet just yet…there’s more to it than what everyone else tells you…
2. Set beverage stations strategically for mingling.
Not too close to the kitchen, not necessarily next to the food, either. Forcing guests to move around the room to get drinks, then move again to find the appetizers is something that is done with purpose. It creates movement around the room so guests don’t get comfortable just chatting with one or two people and ignoring others.
3. Plan an icebreaker.
Really? Yes. Your parents played parlor games, too – and not just because it’s an old-timer tradition that you were hoping to skip.
Pick carefully – icebreakers are not necessarily the same as generic party games. A good icebreaker makes you move around the room and talk to other people. We suggest Do You Know Her, Conversation Starters, Changing Places.
4. If they enjoyed the game, play another. If not, bring out the food and commence socializing.
Here’s where it starts to get tricky, and you have to think on your feet. Judging on the guests’ reaction you’ll have to choose what to do next. Be prepared with another icebreaker, but also be prepared to NOT play, and move along to the next part of the party. If this is a Christmas party, you could bring out the food. If it’s a baby shower, you could decorate onesies before eating. If it’s a birthday party, bring out another activity or move the party outdoors for a game of volleyball.
5. Another game.
If your guests just hate games, and you know them well enough to know this before the party starts….don’t torture them. Skip this step. But if you’re hosting a party of guests you know but not well, it’s game time.
This time pull out a party game. Trivia, word games, or minute-to-win-it style games. The most popular party game by far is still – you guessed it – bingo. Make sure you have a prize for the winner. Just in case you find out too late they don’t like party games, this could encourage them to play and enjoy themselves.
6. If they enjoyed the game, play another. If not, bring out the desserts and commence socializing.
Again, you get to think on your feet. Did they enjoy the last game? Think they would enjoy another? Be prepared with another game, but also be prepared to NOT play, and move along to the next part of the party. If it’s a birthday party or a gift giving occasion, now would be the time for cake and gifts. If not, it might still be time for dessert. Or maybe you commence socializing and enjoying the evening.
7. Ending the party.
Sometimes guests dart out at the stroke of midnight if it’s a New Year’s Eve party, or right after you cut the cake and sing Happy Birthday. Other times you think they will never leave. Be prepared for both.
Guests who want to cut out early will need a reason to stay…like cutting the birthday cake, or ‘you can’t leave until we do one more activity’ when you play the last game. Make sure you have a reason for them to stay!
On the other hand, be prepared for guests who stay until every drop of alcohol is gone and you wish they had left hours ago. In this case, you’ll need a reason to ask them to leave. Unless you want to hang out, and that’s a different story.
8. Recovery after the party.
Sounds silly, but every professional party planner knows there is a recovery time to recoup after each party! A highly guarded secret, but I can tell you – it will take as many days to recover from your party planning & party hosting exhaustion as it took to plan. If you spent 2 solid days prior to the party setting up – you’ll need to relax for 2. Etc. So don’t feel like you’re terrible at this hosting thing just because your fabulous party wore you out. It’s just a party ‘hangover’.
Best of luck with your party, and if you’d like additional advice, or help picking out games, give us a ring!