How to Host a Successful Party

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How to Host a Successful Party. Everyone loves a party but when you're the host, making sure the event goes as planned can be stressful. Before the big day, take some time to double-check the details and you'll have a better chance of throwing a successful party.

Pick a theme for your party. It doesn't have to be anything elaborate but it should be the reason friends are gathering to celebrate. A loved one's homecoming, an engagement announcement, or a block party to meet the neighbors are only a few examples of party themes; decide upon yours and plan the rest of the party around the theme.

Send out the invitations. Optimally, guests should receive their invitations 2 weeks before the party. This gives them time to schedule the event into their time frame, arrange for babysitters or make travel arrangements. If a guest will be traveling a long ways, the earlier they get the invitation, the better.

Create the proper atmosphere. Parties should be fun. If you're hosting the party at home, look at your surroundings with a critical eye. Put knickknacks away for a clean look and add a banner or decorations to make the room more festive. Provide adequate seating for your guests.

Schedule the party events. Allow enough time for guest arrival before serving a meal or showing a film. If your party centers around a televised sports event, plan for guests to arrive at least 30 minutes before the event starts. Allow time for latecomers if you're planning a sit-down meal.

Plan your food list and shop a few days ahead of time. Dishes that can be prepared in advance and frozen will save you much-needed time on the day of the party. If you're hiring a caterer, she will need lots of advance notice of your menu and the number of guests you are expecting. Popular caterers are often booked months in advance.

Double-check the details the night before the party by doing a quick walkthrough, starting at your front door, as if you were a guest, and proceeding through your home. Make sure there is an area for guest's coats, extra soap and clean hand towels in the bathroom. Count your serving plates and glasses to make sure there are enough.

Dress early for the party to prevent last minute dashing. Some guests may arrive early and you'll need to be ready. Preparation is the key to a successful party.

Greet all your guests in person, if possible, and welcome them to your home. Follow your schedule, excusing yourself to tend to party needs and relax. Even in the best-planned events, something inevitably goes awry. Smile and focus on having fun.

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