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This Handy Party Checklist Will Remove the Guesswork from Hosting
This Handy Party Checklist Will Remove the Guesswork from Hosting

This Handy Party Checklist Will Remove the Guesswork from Hosting

The first party that I ever hosted was a game night, and it was barely a party. I had no idea how to host a party, so I just brought out some games, chips and dip, and wine. We had fun, but it was not my best entertaining — I didn’t know how to entertain guests at a party other than making sure they were fed, maybe dancing, and seemed to be having a good time. But over time, I’ve picked up tips for entertaining and throw lively bashes a few times a year, whether at my home or out at a karaoke bar in New York City.

I’ve figured out how to host a good party with a checklist of what to do before, during, and after. You should by no means walk around with a notepad checking off when you put out a meat and cheese platter or when the ice needs refilling, but these entertaining tips will help you keep on track and stay organized so everything runs smoothly.

Before the Party

❏ Get RSVPs at least two weeks in advance.

❏ Shop for ingredients for recipes at least three days ahead in case you forget something.

❏ Make any food that can be prepared in advance a day or two ahead, like putting together Make-Ahead Spinach Phyllo Roll-Ups or prepping vegetables for a fajita bar.

❏ Ask your most-trusted friends to bring anything you need the day before, like bags of ice or a dessert from a local bakery.

❏ Set the table the night before if having a traditional dinner party.

❏ Have garbage bags ready for trash at the party, or make sure people know where garbage cans and recycling bins are.

❏ Put away anything breakable if kids are coming to the party.

During the Party

❏ If a seated dinner party, seat people next to those they don’t know for more lively and interesting conversation.

❏ If it is more casual and you are serving wine and beer, set up a cooler the morning of the party to keep everything cold and easy to find.

❏ Put out a pitcher of water next to cocktails to encourage people to hydrate.

❏ Set up buffet-style food so people can serve themselves whenever possible.

❏ Mingle among different groups of people throughout the party, but don’t feel obligated to talk to absolutely everyone there.

❏ Keep an eye on food that needs to be refilled or reheated, but don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends to get more chips or make a cocktail for someone.

❏ Clean as you go, but don’t get bogged down by it.

❏ Have fun!

After the Party

❏ Any stragglers at the end of the party can help take out the trash or assist with cleaning.

❏ Send thank-you notes to anyone who went above and beyond to help — even just a text.

❏ Take a deep breath because you hosted a great party! And then start thinking up your next party idea.

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