Sunday, March 24, 2013

Getting your House Ready to Party – Five Easy Steps to Entertain at Home

You’ve chosen a theme and you are ready to set the date and send out the e-vites. Whoo-hoo, you're on your way to a fun party! If you haven’t had a big party since ordering a keg and opening up your doors to all your college buddies and their friends, or if this is the biggest party since you’ve had four of your best friends over for dinner, a little extra planning can go a long way in making sure your house is ready, your guests feel comfortable, and everyone will have a great time - including yourself!

1. The best tip is to allow plenty of time for preparations. Spend some time weeks before the party getting things ready, so you’re not trying to clean the house, cook the food and get yourself read the day of your event. has a wonderful party countdown checklist starting three weeks out! Besides choosing the theme and sending out invitations, the earliest tasks include cleaning your house so you just have to do a quick pick up a day or two before the party, and planning the menu and drink list. This allows plenty of time to shop, prepare, and adjust your plans if things are not available or ask for help.

2. Go through your home as if you were an arriving guest. Clean off a bed for coats. Make sure your bathroom is spotless and well stocked with towels and extra toilet paper. Have a spot for people to set gifts or wine they’ve brought.

On the day of the party, do a last sweep with a laundry basket, clearing away the magazines, stacks of mail, extra clutter, dirty clothing, etc., and hide the basket in an out-of-the-way place. And make sure you remove your jewelry and medicines from the bathroom and hide any valuables if you don’t know all of your guests well.

3. Finalize the furniture arrangement. Fewer chairs make it easier for people to wander and mingle. Set up a few conversational areas that seat four to six. Have lots of small tables next to the chairs so people can set down their drinks.

Avoid setting up a ring of folding chairs around the perimeter of the room, this does not promote conversation or mingling because people are too far away from one another. It’s awkward looking when the chairs are empty, and uncomfortable if you actually sit down. If you’ve ever been to a party where the chairs have been set up this way, or at a wedding or other well-attended event, often chairs get moved around into smaller groups of four to six, with an extra chair or two used as a cocktail table!

4. Allow for last minute adjustments on the day of the party. Oprah’swebsite has a very helpful article called “The 30 Minute Guide to Getting Your Home Ready for Guests.” Oprah and her staff make wonderful suggestions on how to adjust the thermostat (cooler is better), setting the volume of music to promote conversation and using scented candles to help set the stage.

5. Have last-minute supplies and items handy. If you have a land line, write your address on the phone or on a message board in the kitchen in case someone needs to make an emergency call. Have spare bottle openers, serving utensils, corkscrews, and paper towels handy in the kitchen and bar area if that’s separate. Pull out your kitchen garbage can so no one has to hunt for it. Have a few more waste cans around in other areas, as well.
Don’t neglect yourself - a little extra preparation will help you relax on the day of your party. If you are comfortable, your guests will be too. Not everything has to be perfect! Make sure you have a snack prior, so you won’t be starving as your guests arrive. Stay well hydrated with water, too. Chances are it will be difficult to eat since you’ll be having so much fun.

Have fun, and send in your favorite party tips. We'd love to hear your ideas!

Photos courtesy of the website of the quintessential party planner, Martha Stewart.  Check out her section on Entertaining 101!

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posted by Jennifer Adams Design Group Blog @ 12:00 AM 


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