Whether you are hosting a birthday party, dinner party, casual gathering with friends, here’s 17 ways how to be the best host for a party!
My husband and I love to host parties at home. I can’t even count the parties we have hosted over the years.
Hopefully these hosting tips will help you as you plan your next party!
How To Host A Great Party
- Just do it!– There’s always tons of reasons why you may talk yourself out of hosting a house party. Maybe you have unfinished projects, don’t want a huge mess, or don’t feel like feeding an army. No matter the excuse, don’t let those stop you from inviting people over! There is always a way around the obstacle. If you don’t feel like cooking, order take out. If you don’t want a big mess, use paper goods or eat outside. Just start hosting and it will become easier and more fun!
- Eat before the party starts. Really? Yes! When you’re hosting a party, you’re going to have a lot going on. You may have children to feed, food to finish preparing, chatting with your guests and making sure everyone gets food! Hopefully you’ll have a chance to sit down and enjoy the food, too. But I always like to eat at least a little beforehand so that if I don’t get to sit down, I’m not starving the entire party!
- Use paper products. I’m all about saving the planet, but when it comes to throwing parties, I need to save my sanity! Unless it’s our fancy Christmas Eve candlelight dinner, we use paper plates 90% of the time. You’ll have enough cleaning up to do once everyone has left, so make it easy by eating on paper plates and bowls. Everyone can toss their dirty plates in the garbage, making it one less thing for you to do have to do!
- Drinks. No matter if you are having people over for just desserts you can make at home, a play date or hosting a birthday party, or game night, be sure to have drinks! Everyone will get thirsty at some point! Have a large pitcher of ice water and cups set out so that guests know they can help themselves. Or fill a large cooler with ice and canned or bottled drinks for them to grab. No matter what drinks you serve, be sure to have water!
- Put the food in a place that you want people to be. The food table is a natural gathering spot, so be sure to place the food where you want people to hang out. For example, we have a formal dining room that I used to set up the party spread in. But, it was a pain for everyone to go into that room to grab more food instead of having it in the kitchen next to the living room where we were hanging out.
- Set expectations. How to do a party with kids and not go crazy? Set expectations. If you have a favorite rug or couch that you don’t want food on, be sure to tell your guests before you eat where they can sit. Be specific with kids like, “Kids, you can sit on the blanket on the floor or outside. Adults, you an sit on the couch.” It’s a bonus if you can keep everything outside, but for inside parties, make sure to set rules so you aren’t mad later. Do you want people to remove their shoes? Or just walk in? Leave a sign at the door that says, “Welcome, kick off your shoes and make yourself at home.”
- Let people help. Usually your guests will offer to bring something. So say YES! Don’t assign them to bring something that you are really picky about. For example, if you have a specific dessert in mind, don’t have them bring it because chances are you’ll be disappointed that they didn’t read your mind. Assign them to bring fruit, drinks, or cookies–something that is easy for them and one less thing you have to do.
- Clean the bathroom guests will use. Do a quick tidy-up of the bathroom that guests will use at the house party. No worries if you don’t have time to mop the floor. Wipe down the sink, toilet and handles and replace the towel with a fresh one. Be sure there is plenty of toilet paper and you’ll be good to go!
- Prepare as much as you can ahead of time. To avoid last minute stress, prepare what you can early. Chop vegetables, make desserts, and gather decorations together beforehand so it’s less to do right before the party begins.
- Food is a must! Everyone loves good food at a party. You don’t have to serve a full dinner to be a good host. Simplify where you can. Start the party later if you don’t want to serve dinner. Whip up one of these yummy appetizers, or party desserts, or just grab some ice cream.
- Have one surprise element to wow your guests. Create fun memories for your guests by having something out of the ordinary that they aren’t expecting. Maybe it’s a pinata for the kids, or homemade welcome sign on the front door. Play music or string some twinkle lights. You don’t have to go overboard, but adding a little detail will make everyone remember the fun time they had!
- Pick ONE thing to focus on. There’s no need to feel pressure to have ALL the things perfect. Choose one focus of the party and make that amazing. For example, when making 400 donuts at our annual donut party is our focus, we don’t decorate a ton. But when I’m hosting a girl’s night out dinner en blanc and want the ambience to be magical, I buy pre-made food. If you’re hosting a kid’s birthday party and want activities to main thing, keep snacks simple. You can’t do it all, so don’t put that pressure on yourself.
- Keep it simple. One of the best hosting tips: keep it super simple. Unless you’re throwing a party to be featured on Martha Stewart, remember to keep things as simple as you can. I like to ask myself, “how can I simplify?” Let go of extra decorations that men or kids won’t appreciate, get some of the food catered, or serve popsicles instead of feeling like you need to make homemade dessert.
- Relax and have fun. As the host of a party, it’s sometimes hard to relax and have fun, but try. The dishes can wait. Sit down when you can to visit and at least say hi to everyone that comes.
- People will remember how they felt. Your guests may not remember every single detail of the party, but they will remember how they felt when they were at your house party. Try to make the event enjoyable by letting go of things that aren’t going to matter in the long run. Examples: don’t stress if people leave the door open for 10 seconds. It’s just one night. Did someone back a giant mess? Clean what is necessary, but don’t be the cleaning crew during the party.
- Clean-up. Speaking of cleaning up when you’re hosting a party, if guests offer to help clean up at the end, let them! They can set down tables, return chairs or toss garbage away. Most people are willing to help, so let them if they offer.
- It’s all about the memories! People love being together (especially after a world-wide pandemic when gathering in person wasn’t possible.) Do your best to keep things simple, but in the end, just enjoy it. Chances are your guests are going to love being around others, so allow plenty of time for guests to chat and socialize with each other.
Favorite Hosting Items
How to set up for party: have a few neutral colored party supplie like a utensil caddy and drink dispenser. These are both from Target and for the price, you can go wrong!
So tell me, do you feel confident now to host a birthday party? I hope these party hosting tips are super helpful! Tag us @sofestive on Instagram so we can see your awesome gatherings!