The 12 Basics of Planning a House Party

I recently attended two house parties hosted by bachelors and I noticed how panicked they were as their guests arrived and how they were unable to fully relax and enjoy their own party. Why was that? Well, they were unprepared and not organized prior to the start of their house party.

With a little thought and preparation ahead of time, hosts can let go and mingle with their guests with ease. Below are things you can do to ensure that you, your friends (and/or family members) have an enjoyable, stress free afternoon or evening.

So whether you are hosting your first party or your twentieth, you’ll love the powerful planning tips I am about to share.

Let’s dive right in.

Tip #1 – Declutter your entertaining space whether it is inside or outside.

Most people hang out in the kitchen area at parties. The reason being is that it has easy access to the food and drinks, it is usually the hub of the house and there is a counter that is the perfect height to place cups and plates while conversing with people.

Kitchen counters or islands are also ideal in giving guests some personal space, a place to put their hands or to lean on when chatting. So clear them up! Put away appliances such as your toaster, your kettle, instant pot, coffee maker, vitamix etc. Make as much room as you can. Leftover food should be thrown away, or put in the refrigerator. No one should know what you had for dinner the night before. Wipe your counter tops clean leaving only a small basket of fruit for decoration if that is what you have already.

Clear up your coffee table, only leaving decorations. Any books, magazines, remote controls, should be stowed away, blankets folded and pillows/throws placed neatly on the sofas and chairs to allow guests a place to sit.

Tip #2 – Empty your trash, recycling, dishwasher and clean and put away any dishes in the sink.

You want to start the event with all your dishes in cupboards and drawers. Have a fresh dishtowel or two hanging off of the stove or fridge handles. Paper towels should be on the counter somewhere visible. There is bound to be a spill or two where your friends might need a cloth or paper towel to use. In that case they won’t come looking for you while you are in the middle of a conversation and then you’d have to step away from whatever you are doing to find a cloth. Also make sure you have extra garbage and recycling bags in case you need to switch those out in the middle of your party.

Tip #3 – Have a new roll of toilet paper in all of your restrooms and place extra rolls on the bathroom counter or toilet top.

Ensure that there is a clean hand towel or two available and that the counters are cleared up. Put away your toothbrush, toothpaste, razors, hairbrushes, etc. The only thing on the counter should be soap, hand towels and any decorations you may have. Ensure your trash bin is empty and readily available and your toilet is clean.

Tip #4 – Make sure you have a working music player of some sort and test it out prior to the event.

Have your playlist ready and run it through once before your guests arrive. You don’t want to be fiddling with any machines when your company comes just to realize something is malfunctioning.

Tip #5 – Have a space whether it is a closet, or a bedroom where guests can leave their jackets, shoes and handbags.

This has to be close to the front door as you would want them to be able to find them again on their own when exiting. People usually leave at various times of the night and it is frustrating if you must be interrupted over the course of the evening to help your guests find their belongings as they say good-bye.

Tip #6 – Lock up all your guns and put all your valuables somewhere safe and away from the party area.

Most guests are your friends or family members, but when you extend the invitation for them to bring a guest, you have no idea who will be in your house. You would hope that everyone in your home is honest, but you never know that one person you did not invite could be desperate for cash and do the unthinkable.

Tip #7 – Have plates, plastic cups, cutlery and napkins readily available on a table or counter and visible to your guests.

A sharpie or two close by is a good idea so that guests can write their names in case they forget where they place their drinks over the course of the evening. They should not need to look in your cupboards and drawers for anything.

Tip #8 – If you are ordering food, call them ahead and set a time for delivery.

You want to maximize your time with your friends and family so choose take-out restaurants you have tried before and who can deliver on time. If possible, prepay with the tip included so anyone close to the door can open it and grab the food when they buzz.

Try to avoid sending one of your guests to pick up food or ice for you. This interferes with their down time and interrupts the flow of your party. Food items you are providing should be out with the serving tool close by.

Tip #9 – Have backup food.

Most people these days bring a dish to share when attending parties. I would highly recommend you have extra food available in your fridge/freezer in case there is not enough selection. Have the dishes you are serving heated and platted before your guests arrive. Labels with the names of the dish and the ingredients are always helpful for those who have food allergies and sensitivities. Keep a stack of small note cards and a pen close by so that your guests can write the names of their dishes and some of the key ingredients. Also cut and place the ingredient labels for store-bought foods near the food item. I always have Benadryl and an epi-pen in my cupboard for emergencies . You never know, cross- contamination can happen anytime especially when you are asking guests to bring food items. Most people with serious allergies carry their own epi-pens but when they are intoxicated it may be hard for them to remember where they placed it last.

Tip #10 – Have plenty of drinks available.

The good thing about drinks is that you can keep the extras in your garage or pantry for your next event if you purchase too much. I highly recommend buying the small cans of soda (rather than the 2L jugs), boxed or canned drinks and bottled water beer and wine. Have these readily available, chilling in a cooler or a large bucket of ice. I would have the alcoholic beverages in a separate tub. Having drinks in individual containers make it easier for guests to help themselves when they are thirsty. Place the recycling bin, beer and wine openers within close proximity to the beverages.

Tip #11 – Place small bowls of nuts, candies or themed treats in different parts of your entertaining space.

This allows your guests to nibble on snacks throughout the evening without having to constantly go to the kitchen looking for food.

Tip #12 – Ask one of your closest friends who is attending the party to help you monitor the flow of your party during the evening.

You cannot be everywhere all the time. Ask him/her to change the toilet paper roll if need be or refill the ice bucket or change out the garbage bags when it is full. Obviously try and do it yourself as the host of the party, but having an extra set of eyes and hands can be helpful.

If you prepare and organize yourself prior to your house party, you will be able to relax, have fun and spend more time mingling with your friends and family.

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