Hosting a party is always a great idea – all you need is food, drinks, good music, and a guest list, right? While these are the main (and vital components) of a great party, there are still some hosting considerations that are often forgotten. And so, we give you part one in our series, “Hosting 101”.
What’s on the Menu?
When sending out invitations, be clear about what your guests can expect when it comes to food. Provide a brief description in the body of the invite about what is going to be served so guests can have an idea of how hungry they should be when they arrive. The menu is completely up to you – serve food, don’t serve food, have a pot luck, ask everyone to chip in for pizza – all of those options are totally fine. BUT guess what? People will leave your party in awkward waves if you start your party at noon (lunch time!) and only offer them snacks. Chips and dip do not
always make a meal. And, an added benefit of describing the menu on the invite is that your vegetarian guests can have an opportunity to remind you that they are vegetarian (which they will)…or an opportunity to make other plans to avoid you carnivores all together.
If there is one unnatural phenomenon we lament about the most here at Paper & Cake is the chair-less party. Giving little or no thought to where your guests will sit is comparable to forcing your guests to play twister. Everyone ends up on the floor and feeling awkward or standing around, feeling awkward. Make people feel welcome by offering them a seat. Beach chair, kitchen chair, piano bench, rent-a-chair, ottoman, bean bag chair ANYTHING.
You can even encourage your guests to talk to each other and perhaps meet new friends by creating welcoming “pods” of chairs to socialize in. We know not everyone has a big old pile of spare chairs, so just plan ahead by borrowing, renting or asking family members to bring their folding chairs. What if you don’t have access to 20 extra chairs? What if you thought there were enough but you’ve run out? Offer big beach towels or cozy blankets to sit on, picnic-style. There is only one reason why you wouldn’t want people sit down—you want them to leave as soon as possible. Art gallery openings are notorious chair-less affairs because they want the flow of people to be constant so as to sell art. Unless you are trying to sell a few priceless Picasso’s at your child’s fifth birthday, make sure people have a place to sit… and preferably a chair not covered in dog hair!
Which brings us to our next party consideration– your family pet. No one is doubting your love, appreciation, and undying affection for Fido. Your dog is AWESOME! Your dog also sheds enough fur in one day to outfit Donald Trump with a new toupee. Please mop, sweep, vacuum, and wipe most of your dog’s fur before your guests arrive. While your guests might love your dog (or other fur-bearing pets) as much as you do, they don’t want to leave your party covered in their fur.
Now we know this next request will be controversial, especially for those pet owners that describe their pets as their “four legged children,” but maybe there should be a consideration made to putting your dog or cat in a comfortable place away from the party. Some of your guests might be allergic to pet dander. Or some of your guests might have a horrible phobia of dogs. Either way, put the comfort of guest before your pet for a couple hours. After the party you can return to spoiling the slobber out of that pooch!
Parties should be FUN. Remember these considerations and people will “remember” to RSVP. Speaking of RSVPs, (see how I did that?) stay tuned for part 2 of Hosting 101 that will cover all kinds of priceless info for you and your party guests!