Being the perfect hostess starts before the actual party day. Mail or email out invitations well in advance so your guests can plan their schedules accordingly. For a casual affair, two to three weeks is acceptable, but for a formal occasion, six to eight weeks is appropriate.
Make your home a welcoming and comfortable space by doing a thorough cleaning of all your entertaining areas. For instance, clean out a closet for coats, supply all your washrooms with paper products and make sure your serving ware and glasses sparkle.
No matter how busy you are, take the time to welcome each guest to your home. Don't rely on others to take up this task; it's your party, and the partygoers will be looking forward to seeing your smiling face at the door! This will help set a warm, festive mood for the get-together. Be sure to hang up their coats and stash personal belongings if necessary.
Unless this is a family-only Christmas party, for example, it's likely you will have guests who have never met before! Take a few minutes to introduce your friends to one another, and then get the conversation started by referencing something they have in common. Good jumping-off points to mention include work, sports, hobbies or kids.
It's your party, and your guests will want to talk to you. Make your rounds, and ensure you make time to chat with everyone. You don't have to become the life of the party if that's not your personality. Just remember that a little small talk will go a long way to making your guests feel welcome, and it helps keep the flow of conversation going.
While you are busy working the room and engaging your guests in conversation, be sure to keep a watchful eye for what needs to be done. Do any glasses need to be refilled? Are there enough napkins? Should more food be brought out? Keep your guests happy by attending to their needs.
Keep the festive mood of the party going by having plenty of tasty food and refreshing drinks. Set up bite-sized party foods around the room for guests to munch on. Plan ahead for any guests with dietary restrictions, and in addition to your alcoholic beverages, offer several non-alcoholic choices for teetotallers and designated drivers.
Just as you personally welcomed everyone to your home, you should personally thank them for coming at the end of party. While you offered your designated drivers non-alcoholic drinks during your party, part of your responsiblity as a host is ensuring your guests have a safe ride home, so speak up, and call a taxi if necessary.
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