By Ellen Gefen
Whether it’s for a birthday, graduation, job promotion, or a just-because, having a party in your home can be a lot of fun. It can also be a lot of stress when you start calculating everything that you’ll need to do in order to pull off the party. That shouldn’t deter you from having a get-together for you and your guests, though. It is possible to keep your home party ready without worrying or being totally stressed out about the situation.
When it comes to your menu, think simple with food and don’t be afraid to bring in reinforcements. I have a few go-to places that have excellent catering menus for when I’m in a pinch. I gave up on the idea that I had to be a super host and do everything myself years ago. Instead, I let others help in the workload and I end up enjoying the party that much more!
Get Guests Involved
You don’t have to serve a five-course seated meal for your party. In fact, getting your guests involved with the food prep and serving can make your party that much better. Make-your-own pizzas or quesadillas, a baked potato “bar,” or even ice cream sundaes are just a few options that will get guests moving and interacting with one another.
DIY Your Decor
If you thought you needed to spend a lot of your dollars on decor, think again. Look around you for everyday inspiration: Fall foliage from your yard and a few beautiful candles make a great centerpiece. Put pinecones and citrus fruits in large glass bowls or vases and surround them with evergreen boughs. It’s beautiful–and budget-friendly, too.
Prep Your Materials
For a no-fuss fiesta, have party essentials ready for use. That might mean ironing your linens ahead of time, polishing the silver, or cleaning the china. It could also be springing for some new candles, or even just organizing your utensils drawer so you can grab serving items when you need them.
If you can afford it, there’s nothing wrong with hiring a cleaning service to help out. Not only can they do a deep cleaning of your home pre-party, but they can also arrive for some much-needed post-party clean up, too. Arrange for a cleaning service to come to your home twice a month during November and December, and/or the day before your party. It will take the stress off of you and ensure your home is ship-shape for guests.
Bring on The Baskets
Baskets can be beautiful accent pieces in your room, but they can also do double-duty by offering storage solutions as well. So, keep attractive storage baskets, boxes, and benches in every room for last-minute house pickups. You’ll be surprised at how quickly they fill up with miscellaneous items!
Prep Your Pet
You might be totally in love with your dog, but your guests might not share the same sentiment. So, show them some respect by keeping your pooch or cat temporarily away from the party. If you have indoor pets, consider boarding them the day/night of your party. If you can’t bear the thought of them being away from you, you can consider confining them to a space in your home where they’ll be comfortable and safe.
Get Your Guest Room Ready
The sign of a great party is when no one wants to leave. That said, you might find that a guest wants (or needs) to spend the night at your home. In case of an unexpected crash, be sure to have your guest room ready. It should be neat and clean (and uncluttered) so that you can accommodate their overnight stay.
Have Dress Options
Picking your outfit might be one of the hardest parts of the party planning! After all, you never know how you’re going to feel right before the party, and you want your outfit to match your mood. So be sure to have a few party-appropriate outfits selected and set aside to choose from. That way, you won’t be in a last-minute “what do I wear” panic.
Forget the food and the drinks. Making sure that your home is party-ready starts (and ends) with you. In order to have a great party, you need to relax. After all, your guests will take their cues from you – if you’re tense, they’ll be tense. Ensure that your guests have all been introduced and are comfortable, and your party will be perfect.
Give yourself permission to enjoy your own party! Keeping essential supplies on hand and maintaining a positive attitude will go a long way toward a successful party that’s fun for everyone.