Whether we realize it or not, as guests, we all seem to follow the same rules to ensure the host of a party will welcome us back with open arms. For example, criticizing the choice of food and wine is a mortal sin at the dinner table, and arriving unannounced or with an unexpected companion is a definite no-go. But how about playing the part of a perfect party host?

While it’s wonderful to have a house full of guests enjoying great conversation and delicious food,the host no doubt feels the pressure of making the event as delightful as possible. Those craftsy Pinterest posts and Martha Stewart-spawned TV shows and magazines could even make hosting a party for the first time seem like a daunting task.

The good news is that great party giving is not as complicated or difficult as you may think. It starts with observing the right host etiquette, which is as important as your friends and family following the unwritten rules of being an appreciative guest. Aside from sharpening your pencil early and planning ahead, here are other ways you can be the host that (positively) unforgettable events are made of:

1. Consider your guests when creating the menu

You may be the savviest wine connoisseur or go-to for exotic dishes in your circle, but it is your guests’ preferences that will ultimately dictate the menu. If they prefer hamburgers and beer, base the menu around that, with some unique touches on the side, e.g. rocking the summer grill with a selection of gourmet sliders and artisan pickles.

2. Delegate if necessary

You are fabulous, but you do not have superpowers. If you are planning a huge party, consider the services of a party planner. If you are expecting a large crowd, it may be better to hire servers and bartenders. Even if it is a small get-together, get help from family members or friends to avoid spreading yourself too thin.

3.Set a gorgeous table for a beautiful party venue

Start with a great tablecloth, and choose centerpieces that go beyond flowers. Candlelight often works, and we recommend going for dripless candles to save on cleanup time. Consistency is key when it comes to décor, so having a consistent theme throughout your home will tie the whole look together.r

4. Plan entertainment

A party cannot survive solely on guests making small talk. Plan some entertainment, such as games for the children. If it is an all-adult affair, it may help to seat each guest with someone they know or with whom they share similar interests. It is just as crucial to establish your presence – get out of the kitchen and mingle with the guests you invited!

5. Look and feel good

You are the host, after all, and you are a reflection of what the party is all about. Dress appropriately, and above all, make sure you feel comfortable and confident. Before you open the door to your first guest, take a deep breath and relax. That is fun knocking on your door.

Go ahead be bold and creative in your party planning and hosting. For tips on holiday party themes, check out our post on How to Host a Christmas Party at Home. If you have other party planning and hosting tips, leave us a note in the comments!

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