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13 hacks to be the best party host on the block

Whitney Coy is a freelance writer and editor based in Columbus, OH, where she lives with her husband and two daughters. She writes frequently for SheKnows, as well as several other websites. She writes on topics including parenting, pets...

Impress your guests with your party-throwing skills when you use these tips

Hosting a party is a lot of fun, but it can also be pretty stressful. Between planning, prepping and then managing the actual event, you've got your hands full. A great host, however, can pull off the perfect night for her guests and make it look like a piece of cake (and sometimes, it actually is). Use these tips the next time you host a party, and you'll end up with a night you — and your guests — won't soon forget.

1. Bring the party outdoors

If you've got good weather, take full advantage by moving the party outdoors. Your guests will appreciate the fresh air and extra room to move around, and you'll love the easier cleanup that comes from having fewer people inside. Make sure you have plenty of outdoor seating and place for your guests to find shade if your party is during the day.

2. Have fun with the lighting

Add a fun ambiance to the evening by using string lights and balloons filled with glow sticks to help your guests see in the dark.

More: How to cook a big meal in one oven — without ruining dinner

3. Keep the bugs at bay

You don't want bugs to eat your guests alive, but you also don't want to ruin the classy vibe you've got going by filling the space with unsightly bug zappers. Instead, use citronella candles and torches to keep the pests away and add to the fun party mood.

4. Encourage mingling

There's nothing worse than a party where everyone sticks to the wall and babies their drink without making any eye contact. Plan a way to make people mingle, like throwing in a game or an activity to get things moving.

5. Give guests something to do

If your guests are still reluctant to socialize, it's your job to make them. Find one of your shy friends, and ask her to check on guests' drinks, pass out appetizers or take music requests. It's an easy way for her to start conversation.

6. Let everyone know when the food is ready

No one wants to be the first person to snag one of those delicious appetizers off the counter. Dig in yourself, and offer them up to the guests standing nearby. Hungry guests will swarm the food and drinks in minutes once they see other people eating.

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7. Practice new recipes

It's a ton of fun to peruse Pinterest for fun food ideas for your party, but try out any new recipes you find long before your event. We all know new recipes have a chance of utter failure, and that's always easier to deal with when you don't have an audience.

8. Serve fruit-infused ice

Freeze fruit into your ice cubes to add extra flavor to your guests' drinks and to add an easy wow factor.

9. Have a dessert bar

Food stations are a ton of fun, and dessert is the perfect course to put it to use. Lay out a table with ice cream, toppings, cookies, brownies and more to let your guests create the dessert of their dreams and have a good time doing it.

10. Turn on some tunes

No matter what kind of party you're having, make sure to provide some background music to set the mood and fill the quiet moments. Just don't make it too loud — that's a quick way to shut down conversations.

11. Plan your playlist ahead of time

There's nothing worse than the wrong person getting a hold of the iPod during a party. Plan out your playlist ahead of time, set it up on your device, and then put it in your pocket or somewhere out of reach. It's one less thing you'll have to worry about during the event, and you won't have to worry about any offensive, inappropriate or super-boring tunes ruining the mood.

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12. Have an array of snacks

Where there's alcohol, there should be plenty of food, right? Even if you're having a sit-down dinner, make sure to have plenty of snack-type foods around to quiet the munchies before the meal is served.

13. Enjoy your party!

This is your party, so enjoy it! Do as much food prep as you can before the party, and save the cleanup for after the guests have gone home (or enlist a good friend to help you get it done quickly). As the host, you set the mood for the night, so don't spend the whole evening feeling frazzled and uptight. Relax and have fun, and your guests will too.

This post was sponsored by Simply Beverages™.

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