Ten Tips to Make Your Party a Success!

I am delighted to share my secrets in hosting a party for 10 to 200 people that will bring effortless ease and success to any occasion! This year we greeted 200 guests through our front door for our Annual Holiday Party. It is a lovely tradition that welcomes both young and old to toast the Season of Light. The following suggestions will allow you to enjoy your gathering and move with grace and elegance through the affair.

1: Make a List
Staying organized, focused and on task will help relieve stress and pressure that can be associated with having a party. Allow enough time to get everything done because it is better to have too much time than ‘burning the midnight oil’ trying to get it all accomplished. This will leave you drained and exhausted for your own party. Instead, plan ahead and map out your to-dos which will help you to gracefully flow with ease through your party planning process.

Your list may include:
Food: Plan what types of food you want to serve whether it is heavy appetizers and petits fours or you plan to serve dinner.
Utensils: Planning the menu will help determine not only the food you will need to have but the types of plates, utensils and serving pieces necessary to make the party a success.
Drinks: Determine the types of drinks you are going to serve and plan for appropriate mixers and cups. Are you going to serve coffee or tea and are you going to need mugs and cream?
Decoration: Decide on the theme of the party and how you are going to enhance the event with decorations. This can be as simple as adding extra candles for ambience.

Make a list of all the items that you are going to need, the things you will need to purchase and the things you plan on making or decorating. Put a time line together of what things you are going to accomplish on which days. This will help you to stay organized, focused and on schedule to alleviate the pressure of hosting a gathering.

2: Mood Music
The music selection is a key element to any party. Be music-ready and have your playlist picked and ready ahead of time. Take into account the type of feeling you want to set. The music is one of the key elements in creating the atmosphere which has a direct impact on peoples’ mood.

3: Food Stations
Set up different ‘stations’ or areas of food. This will allow the party to have a flow and help people circulate from one area to another. Place the ‘bar’ area in a spot that will help people mingle away from a central location that might be more congested.

4: Prepare Serving Pieces Ahead
Know what serving pieces you are going to use for each dish being served so that there isn’t any frantic guessing during the party. Take out the serving utensils for each food item. Set the table or finish all the decorating the day before.

5: Plan Timing of Food
Make a list of food items that need to go into the oven and plan out the timing. For example put the Baked Brie in the oven with the Artichoke Dip because they cook at the same temperature. Know that you are going to do that 30 minutes before the guest arrive so that it comes out piping hot. Plan the timing of when the dessert items are coming out and where they will be placed. If it is all scheduled out ahead of time you won’t stress about the timing and flow of the food.

6: Coats
Make a plan for coats. Where are you going to put them, who will put them there and how will guests be able to retrieve them after the party? This year I had my 12 year old and a few of her friends in charge of coats when the guests arrived. They were instructed to place a group of coats from the same family on the same hanger if possible. This makes it easier for guests to retrieve their items at the end of the night. It also makes it less likely that there will be a mixup of coats on the way out.

7: Conversation Areas
Don’t be afraid to move the furniture. Arrange seating so that it is conducive to conversations of larger and smaller groups and in areas that are more crowded and less congested. This allows guests to find the spot that they are most comfortable in depending on whether they like to be in the mix or have a quiet conversation.

8: Signature Something
Taking the time to put your special touch on the party will make your event a party to remember. Think of your ‘signature something’ that you want people to remember for years to come. At our Annual Holiday Party we serve our signature Gingerbread Martini that gets rave reviews. Everyone always wants the recipe and talks about it until the following year!

9: Favor to Remember
Find a little something that you can give your guests on their departure. Something that will help them remember the event whether big or small. It can be as simple as homemade fudge or it can be as elaborate as hand designed ornaments. It is a thoughtful way of showing your gratitude for their participation in your event!

10: Take a Deep Breath
Plan to take a few minutes before your guests arrive to take a deep breath and enjoy the atmosphere and delicious aromas that you have created. My husband and I always take 20 minutes before the party starts to set the mood lighting, dance to the music and toast to another great party.

Preparing ahead allows you to relax and enjoy yourself at your own party whether you receive 10 guests or 200. Move with stylish grace by following a few simple suggestions that relieve the stress and strain that can be associated with entertaining. Greet guest with a smile and celebrate your soiree!

Stayed tuned for more helpful tips on decorating, entertaining, recipes, stress relief and Inspired Living.

If you have any entertaining tips that you would like to share, we would love to hear from you! Post here, on HomeinHarmony FB or on twitter at HarmonyDesigner!

Happy Entertaining!

Christa O’Leary

Author's Bio: 

Christa O'Leary is a motivational speaker, author and expert educating clients on how to Design Inspired Living. Her focus is to help people live to their fullest potential by creating an Inspired Home, Healthy Body, Calm & Clear Mind and connecting to their Inner Light.

Her specialties for the home include Interior Design, Green Living, Feng Shui and Creating A Healthy Non-Toxic Home. For the body she advocates holistic health through nutrition and an awareness of the foods we eat, ability to read and decipher labels and choose non-toxic Superfoods. Her programs include educating people on how to create a healthy body through Wellness Seminars and Detox Programs. For the Mind she focuses on teaching people about Meditation and Affirmations to create peace and stillness in our fast-paced world. Christa also helps individuals connect to their Soul Purpose & Inner Light to create inspired lives full of joy, vitality and abundance.