Advice from the Hostess: How to Plan the Perfect Party

OKAY all you ‘Hostess with the Mostess’ types, I am about to let you in on a few of my own secrets on how to plan and host that perfect party! Whether you already have a way that works for you or are new to the game of entertaining, these ‘cheat-sheet’ ideas are perfect to incorporate into any party planning.In everyday settings, I would without a doubt actually label myself as an introvert. Yeah, I get it, comes at a shock. But I do! 9 out of 10 times, I totally rather sit at home, by myself with my dog Summer and just enjoy a glass of wine and some trash

–  She looks so enthused –

reality TV (Southern Charm or The Challenge). Even though this may be the case, I actually LOVE having company over for dinner or some sort of mini gathering… Well, as long as I have time to plan that is! Unexpected guests still throws me into a panic.

Being able to entertain and being on par with those ‘master hostess’ takes a lot of time and work I won’t lie (especially when you have a Type-A personality). While some may be able to ‘just wing it’, I like to plan everything down to an exact science. From the cleaning, preparing the menu to figuring out the entertainment, everything must have a plan and checklist!

Yes, this may be a bit crazy, but over the years, I have come up with my own system to make these events much easier than when I first started hosting. Check out my guide to being a savvy hostess for any event!

Dinner Party Dos and Don’ts for a Host or Hostess

Prep Like the Boss You Truly Are

Every aspect of the event should have a plan! From the menu (me) & food preparation (Steve) to your outfit (make sure you are comfortable and it is practical as you will most likely be on your feet most of the night) and theme, planning ahead will minimize any pre-party stress day of (ha well for most people at least). Do as many things that can be done in advance as possible. This is my pre event checklist:

o   Determine the date & theme of your event

o    Determine the guest list and ‘schedule of events’. Invite a few VIPs – I feel like I am always running behind, these guests get to arrive a little bit early and can help with decanting wine, mingling with early arrival guests, etc.

o    Plan out your menu. Make sure it incorporates your theme – while you may enjoy (like Steve) experimenting with exotic foods and drinks, be aware of your guest list and what they will enjoy. Also, make sure your menu is manageable; you don’t want to have 5 things that need an oven all at the same time if you don’t have the set up for that!

o    Make a shopping list – decorations, menu items, games, etc. then research where to get everything at the best price

o    Meal Prep – it makes a world of difference if you prep everything possible the days leading up to the event – preparing salads, chopping or peelings ingredients, baking the desserts, decorating the room/setting the tables, etc.


Enjoy the Moment

We sometimes get lost in the chaos of making sure things go smoothly. While it is important to make sure you remember the details you painstakingly planned, just remember you are the only one who knows if something is off – get out there and mingle your guests came to see you remember!

o   Create a Welcoming Atmosphere – Greet your guests at the door. This is my hardest task to accomplish as I feel I am always still running around as the party enters, but it a nice touch to say the least! Make sure to have the music on *and it is tunes that everyone will appreciate* with ample seating areas. Everyone has a different definition of what’s comfortable and as the host you should be aware of this and cater to those needs.

o   Spend Time with your Guests – This is key and I can’t reiterate it enough! Many of us become so preoccupied with cooking the perfect meal, topping off glasses and keep the mess at bay we forget to spend time with our guests on a social level throughout the event.

o   Dishes – Guests generally insist on trying to help keep dishes and trash at bay so you aren’t responsible for everything at the end of the night, but lets be honest we always say no just relax! One trick that I ABSOLUTELY love utilizes different tubs. I prepare them the night before and put little notecards in them with instructions in case I need someone to help and have a tub for each task (i.e. add dishes from hors d’ouvres with warm water and 2 drops of soap, place in laundry room onto of washer to soak). This way everything is soaking as we go, at the end of the night, I just need to quickly clean and rinse off to dry!

Don’t get overwhelmed by all of the blog and Pinterest ideas out there! yes, we all want to have the best and do the best, but these picture perfect soirees can be overwhelming. Just channel your inner Martha Stewart and you will be on the road to success in no time!






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