There’s a lot to learn from expert advice and even more from the mistakes of others. That extends to party planning too.
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Improve your own hosting skills by learning from these common party planning mistakes.
Mistake #1: Ignoring guests’ diet restrictions
Would you like an irritable, uncomfortable starving guest in your party? You need to be considerate of other people’s preferences and restrictions when you’re the host/hostess of the party. The whole party does not have to conform to the minority that has food restrictions. Some fish and chips for the pescetarian, hummus and whole wheat pita for vegans, and cold cuts for carnivores! The guests will be satisfied as long as there are options for everyone.
Mistake #2: Gourmet food overload
No matter how much excitement new dishes create, it helps to include comfort food on the menu during the party planning. New dishes are a gamble. If half of your crowd ends up not liking it, at least there are familiar dishes on standby. The adventurous tummies might be down for some beet tartare but the conservative taste buds will stick with a plate of standard cold cuts.
Mistake #3: Lack of foresight
Planning and flow matter a lot in big parties. If the parking lot is x meters away from the venue and it rains, how will the guests get from point a to point b? Is there a covered walkway?
How can you improve flow in intimate parties when you’re party planning? Avoid putting your food setup near doors and entryways were people walk through. Round tables look more visually appealing than square or rectangle tables but you’ll accommodate more people in a smaller setting with the latter.
Mistake #4: Not preparing a playlist
There’s no need to hire a DJ or a band, but background music really helps people feel comfortable in the first hour or two of the party.
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Don’t overthink this part during the party planning. Whatever playlist you have will do, or just hook up your Spotify to a speaker and you’re good to go. You can also ask a musically-inclined guest to entertain everyone with a set of songs.
Mistake #5: Forgetting to introduce guests to one other
A glass of cocktail is not a good enough welcome when your guests don’t know one other. If you have different crowds at home, introduce them to each other and start the conversation about something they may have in common to get the energy running. When you think they’re comfortable enough, leave them to talk on their own and move on to the next crowd.
Mistake #6: Assuming all guests will get along
It’s normal for people to have several circles and networks. It’s actually a mark of an interesting person, but if you know that a single invitee won’t mesh with the majority group, be considerate and don’t invite them to the same party. When you’re planning the party, think about the chemistry of your crowd before you put them on the guest lists. Some connections take longer to establish and a party may not be the best starting point.
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One or two strangers will feel more at ease if you let them help out with you in the kitchen or engage them in an activity. Bonding and talking will feel more natural that way.
Mistake #7: Not asking for help
Even if you’re the lone host/hostess of the party, it shouldn’t stop you from enlisting the help of your friends. Hosting is a hectic activity, even if you prepare way ahead of time. You only have two hands and there may be five things to do at the same time.
The host/hostess sets the mood of the party. Your guests will be agitated if you run around frazzled. Your guests will relax and have a good time if you do. Let the little things go and remember why you hosted a party in the first place.