Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Evolution of a Good Hostess

This past Saturday was our housewarming party (Sorry about the delay, we still don't have internet.) and, after finally realizing that I throw horrible parties that are always flops, this one was actually a huge success. At the time, I was in complete awe as to how one of my parties actually became a hit (No, seriously, my parties are notoriously BAD. I had a Halloween party a couple of years ago and only 2 people showed up). After some post-game analysis, here's what I've found for having a sure-fire hit on your hands:
  • You don't have to be the life of the party to have a good party. I am not the life of the party. I get anxious in conversations and I don't like making small talk with new people. However, just because I'm not a good party guest doesn't mean I can't be a good hostess. The key is to make sure that there are at least 2 or 3 people at the party who are good party guests to keep things going. 
  • Location, location, location. Our new house is amazing for parties. It's got such a good flow for conversation and enough elements to keep conversations going, like the view and the backyard. If your house/apartment doesn't have good flow and traps people on the sofa (like the last two places I lived), you can always have a party somewhere else, like a friend's house, a restaurant, or a ramada at a local park.
  • Use your strengths and know your weaknesses. We don't throw good parties at night because we don't drink and what's a party after dark if there's no alcohol involved? No one wants to go to that! Instead, our housewarming party was in the afternoon and no one expected to be drunk by the end of it. People were much more willing to show up to my party if they had time to go to alcohol-induced parties later. Also, you know how I mentioned that I'm not a good party guest? Well, my husband is usually a really good guest, but at most of his parties, he's busy fussing over the grill, leaving me to play hostess all by myself. At this party, there were only appetizers and I made them all in advance so I could fully utilize my hubs.
  • Let your guests in on the timeline. If you plan on having a sit down dinner or are having a party based on a specific activity, let your guests know when the event plan on starting. A lot of times people turn down invites because they can't make it to the whole thing and don't want to show up late or leave early. If you don't plan on serving dinner until an hour or two into the party, let them know so they can be late. Also, on busy, holiday type weekends, a lot of people double or triple book and it's not cool to trap them with a party from 12 to 4 when lunch isn't served until 3 so they can't leave until 3:45. 
  • Invite people you've never invited before. There's two reasons for this. 1) Once you've throw a bad party, it's really hard to get those people to come to one of your parties again. Unless they absolutely have nothing better to do, they will find a way to get out of it. 2) You never can tell who will be an amazing guest. I invited some of my coworkers and, although I'm not particularly close to them, they came and we had a great time. I'd even consider them friends now. You just never know.
The best part is I finally feel like the bad-party curse is broken.The pressure is off. I know it can be done. Whew. And exhale.

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