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How to organize for a large party

The holidays are quickly approaching and, for many of us who like to entertain, it’s time to open our doors to family and friends. We all love hosting those small and intimate get-togethers, but it’s another beast when the RSVPs crawl into the dozens. The secrets to planning for a large party are in the details, preparation and readiness of your home. Here is how to get your home ready and organized for your next large party, so it appears effortlessly fabulous.

hostess drinking punch at party

Premeditate the cleaning

The cleanup isn’t just post-party. Two weeks before your event, prepare a list of every possible place your guests will go (what your brain comes up with will surprise you). Take that list and detail-clean and add a special touch to each location that stays true to your party’s theme or the current season. If the whole family is coming over for a Christmas party, perhaps this is a good time to put some decorative pinecones in a bowl by your bathroom sink. If you’re hosting sooner than that, there are plenty of ways to incorporate fall-inspired decor into your home — use Pinterest for ideas. Have a mental picture of how you want each place to look. This way, you aren’t left to frantically clean and decorate everything the night before, leaving you more breathing room for final details or arising emergencies.

Cook efficiently

If you are going to be a regular entertainer, we recommend preparing your kitchen for a lifetime of parties. Cooking 50 cupcakes or 15 pizzas the day-of will take hours in a normal-sized oven (not to mention all the stress). Then storing pounds of prepared food in your fridge will require you to rearrange everything last minute. Party-proof your kitchen once and for all and your entertaining days will be ones to enjoy. This Frigidaire Double Oven is magic — it allows you to cook multiple dishes at the same time at different temperatures. An oven of this capacity will alleviate the stress of parties, holiday cooking and beyond.

Present practically

We’ve all been to that party (most parties) where all the food is confined in one place . Thus, it soon becomes cramped chaos where people congregate as if they are seeing food for the first time. A watering hole of holiday diet cheating, essentially. Don’t be that party. Sit down and think of various places and ways to display your food and drinks. Planning for stations is always a hit. The main courses can be served on a large and beautifully set up dining room table while the desserts, drinks and apps have separate places and times.

Expert tip: be sure to set up little tables around each sitting area so guests don’t awkwardly have to hold everything at once — the best parties are where everyone is relaxed.

Drink appropriately

A kitchen counter with 20 different bottles of self-serve hangover isn’t the classy way to offer drinks to your guests. Come up with three season or party appropriate drinks that your guests can easily make themselves from a displayed recipe (it’s always fun to have an interactive party). Guidelines for picking drinks? One non-alcoholic, one cocktail and something for those who want something strong. It’s always necessary to have a few good bottles of wine at hand as well — keep your menu and the season in mind when picking these. Create a separate decorated and candlelit table for drink pouring with seating nearby.

Sit and enjoy

Don’t make guests awkwardly crowd or stand anywhere. When weather permitting, it’s always lovely to invest in a few old couches and vintage-inspired slipcovers (like this antique floral one from Sure Fit) for outdoor entertaining. Place them outside in the grass or under a tree with a string of delicate white lights. If it’s too cold, bring them inside. Everyone loves seating options and will admire your variety and uniqueness. Before the party even starts, rearrange the furniture already inside your house to create more walking space and encourage mingling in different areas.

More SheKnows planning tips for your fall parties

Expert tips on planning a perfect holiday party
Fall cocktails
Easy Thanksgiving decorating tips

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