Entertaining, Everyday Entertaining

8 Ways to Get Your Home Party-Ready

I’m always throwing a party of some kind, but let’s face it, entertaining can be stressful, if we let it be, that is. Whether you’re hosting a holiday party or a gathering any time of the year, here’s some down-to-earth entertaining advice on how to get your house party ready (and to avoid panic attacks).

Set a Scene

1. First, don’t think too big. 

I know, a little different approach, but you’re not going to redecorate your great room every time you throw a party, so instead, think about a focal point that sets the scene for the evening. A vignette on the coffee table for game night, a little gold or brass glam on the dinner table for New Year’s Eve, or the holiday décor that fills your house for the season will do it.

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Photo: Chris Patey

2. Set the Bar

Every good host should have a bar, and it should be fully stocked with everything you love. A bar cart is most definitely the décor accessory of the century, but if you’re tight on space or just not into them (WHAAAT?), set up spirits on a counter, bookshelves or even a console table. Corral some pretty bottles, decanters and glassware, an ice bucket, bar tools, a bar book; add fresh flowers and you’re ready to serve. Wherever the bar is set, it’s a great dedicated space for guests to mix, mingle and help themselves.

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Janae Hardy for A Beautiful Mess

3. Add flowers

Honestly, fresh flowers are the only decoration you really need and probably one of the easiest DIY’s. Keep it simple with 1-2 colors, spread vases on the table, in the guest bath and wherever guests might hang out. Nothing beats a table or room filled with candles and loads of fresh flowers.

4. Light it up

Candles add a glow and warmth to the atmosphere and make any party instantly festive. Dim the lights, light the candles and, don’t underestimate the power of scented candles. Guests actually notice those good smells as much as the décor.

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Photo: Pinterest

5. About the Food

When it comes to food, make something you’re comfortable with to avoid getting caught up with a recipe rather than your guests. Have plenty of ice, salty snacks and cold bubbly on hand. Stay stocked with nuts; have cheeses and meats in the fridge, your favorite crackers in the pantry and a great charcuterie board ready to serve in case of an impromptu Saturday night get together. 

6. Setting the Table

Set the table the night before any party, or sooner if you have the time. This gives you a chance to fine-tune the details and spend time doing items that can only be done the day of your party.

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Photo: EST

7. Check the Bathroom

Before your guests arrive, be sure bathroom counters are clear and clean, the room is stocked with fresh towels and extra toilet paper. Light a candle, add flowers and you’re set.

8. Clear Clutter

Last, but certainly not least, tidy up and clear any clutter you’ve been meaning to get around to. You know, like that pile of mail, those shoes in the entryway or items that haven’t quite made it to their designated space.

Here’s the REAL tip: Leave yourself time to get dressed, do your makeup and hair, put on your favorite play list, light the candles and pour yourself a French 75 before guests start to arrive. You’ll have an unforgettable night.

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