Get ready for your next party with these top tips and essential items.
‘Tis the season for parties, get-togethers and more parties.
The annual gatherings of friends and family and fabulous New Year’s Eve functions mean you may be prepping your home for guests.
There’s a lot to get ready, including putting the shine on your home, decorating, sending out the invitations and, of course, prepping the delicious food.
Whether it’s your first time hosting a big gathering or you’re a party pro, there’s always something to learn from those who have come before you.
We talked to local ladies who have prepped for their share of soirees.
“Always be prepared for the unexpected and gracious when the unexpected happens. For example, plan for a few extra people in case someone forgot to RSVP. When someone unexpectedly shows up without responding you can be gracious and welcoming because you know you are prepared.
This actually happened to me. I filled out the RSVP card and thought I mailed it. Shortly after the party, I was cleaning out my car and found the envelope. It had slipped between the seats. I was mortified. When I reflected back to the evening of the party, I remembered the hostess was so kind and never said a word about not responding. I had a seat at the table and I never would have known had I not found the card weeks later.”
– Tammy Karp
“I absolutely love to host. When hosting, the more the merrier – I love a full home. I try to remind myself to relax. When hosting there is a lot to do to prepare and a lot to think about, but when it comes time for the party, enjoy your guests and the fellowship together. Serve a fun party drink — I usually love something seasonally inspired, and play games. I always love when our guests can laugh together and bond over sometimes silly games.”
– Diana Buchanan
“Don’t wait until the last minute to put on your party clothes. I learned this lesson with the very first big party I threw in Sarasota. It was a Hanukkah dinner for about 50, called for 7 p.m. Around 6:50 p.m. or so, my husband said, ‘Aren’t you going to get dressed?’ to which I replied, ‘The party is at 7 ... I should have until about 7:10.’ At which point, the doorbell rang.”
– Molly Schechter
“My best tip as a hostess is to be prepared for the party in advance. Prep, prep, prep so that you can enjoy your guests as soon as they start arriving. (Wine) breaks the ice with a good cheers, and getting offered a drink of any kind makes you feel welcome and relaxed.”
– Tina Granthon
“As the host or hostess of a home party, prepare as much as possible in advance to ensure you can have fun and enjoy visiting with your guests. Light background music and candlelight in the evening are musts and will always add to the ambiance. If you choose to theme your party, have fun with it and pair food and beverages with decor. There are so many great ideas online if you need inspiration.
Be thoughtful of your guests and make sure they are comfortable in your space. Offer food and beverages that suit their needs, and always offer a vegetarian and gluten-free option. If you are on a budget, offer beer and wine, or even make a batch of sangria or a specialty drink. If you are doing potluck, keep it simple so your guests can easily pick up something on their way if they have a busy day.”
– Jennifer Simms