Being the host of a get together does not preclude your time for relaxing and enjoying your guests. Hosting is not a synonym for server. A quick scanning of your environment will allow for areas of self service. A casual gathering should be fun and rejuvenating for all.
Making yourself comfortable and happy will in turn, create an atmosphere of serene enjoyment. Keep everything casual and informal to set the stage for an outstanding time. Concentrate on what you would enjoy most if you were attending an impromptu soiree.
Invite compatible people and be sure not to over invite. We tend to want more than is really needed. These guests will mesh and actually create their own merriment.
Younger children attending your event will require just a little more time. Setting an area aside strictly for them will not only make them feel special that you thought of them, but the games and toys will keep them busy and content.
Choose your area by weighing the size, flow of traffic capabilities, and seating. Look to the outskirts of this setting for places to have a drink station and food station.
Offer an ice bucket, hi ball sized glasses, and your variety choice of beverage. Include a small area for coffee or hot tea to the side. If you take a survey of the drink station and provide ample cups, glasses, and sugar, cream, sweetener, spoons, and ice; you will not need to rush about refilling the section.
Your food table should include warming plates to prevent any extra work for you during the party. Cold items on one side, warmers on the other. Using good quality paper plates will leave your guests feeling much more comfortable. It relieves the awkwardness of where to put your plate when you are through. Use real silver for your utensils. They always add a touch of elegance to an informal setting. Prepare more food than you really think you will use and have a small supply of plastic containers for your visitors who really appreciate your recipes. Keep your recipe choices simple and delicious, something you have fixed before. Controlling your time spent in the kitchen beforehand will greatly reduce any rushed feelings later.
Well placed trays and coffee tables will give your guests a rest from holding their plates and drinks. Coasters and table covers make the area festive and will protect your furniture from rings.
Don't spend all day sanitizing your home. Fluff up the areas with a vacuum and light dusting, light a scented candle, spend a bit more time on your restroom being sure to set out extra essentials, and then close the doors to your bedrooms and get ready for an enjoyable time.
Having a pre-set departure time will allow you and your guests an added sense of ease, as there is now a beginning, middle, and end. All great stories include these elements, so let's not reinvent the wheel. The expectations of the rise and fall of the gathering are predisposed and including a set departure time will gauge the events in a systematic order.
Inviting a helper for after party cleanup will not only assist in straightening out your living space, it will help you unwind and recall the moments of your perfect social celebration.
Stephanie Haile aka Wavecritter