As we are in the season of entertaining, there are a few things to keep in mind as you open your home to friends and family. These major party-hosting faux pas can easily be avoided so you look like the seasoned host that you are. I have committed all of these party crimes at one point or another and now can share them with you!
The quickest way to kill a party is to run out of food or beverage. You want your guests to leave your house feeling 100% satisfied, especially if you are hosting a dinner party. When hosting a cocktail party or general social gathering, don't forget to serve enough hors d'oeuvres to keep your guests from getting hungry, which means you need more than just cupcakes! I learned this lesson the hard way when one guests said "I don't eat sweets." Nevermind that they are crazy...just serve more than sugar.
RELY ON GUESTS FOR PARTY ESSENTIALS.
Your guests will volunteer to bring something to your gathering (as they should!), but be strategic in what you request from them. A late arrival, or worse, a cancellation could leave you without a main dish, ice, or other necessary item. If I need something important, I always ask a close friend to help with that item or ask if someone could drop the item off before the party if I'm in a pinch. Make sure you're not lacking any essentials needed to start your party on time.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, don't try to do it all yourself! Guests love to contribute to parties, so let them! Take advantage of this if you're not a great cook and you want to host a dinner party- make it a potluck style party where guests each bring a dish. I recently helped host a Friendsgiving Potluck and it was a wonderful array of family recipes and special treats from each guest! (Read my post about how to host a Friendsgiving, which can easily translate to hosting any meal).
Who cares if your chicken is a tad overcooked or your spare bedroom mattress is too firm?! Don't apologize to guests and call attention to something that they may have overlooked. Apologizing can often come across as fishing for compliments, and nobody enjoys that! If you do make a mistake, try to laugh it off with your guests and move right along. Dessert, anyone?
TRY SOMETHING NEW.
In the event of a dinner party, now is not the time to attempt a 12 course meal or prepare a main dish that you have never even tasted before! You might want to try something new, but you would do best to serve a tried and true dish- your specialty! Hello, lasagna! If you absolutely must try something new, do a test run a week prior to your event to make sure your feel confident with your new recipe. Your best bet is to keep things simple - including drinks and appetizers... nobody wants to wait 10 minutes while you prepare a specialty cocktail for them!
A few years ago, I hosted a brunch "waffle party," which would have been awesome if I had ever used a waffle iron before! I'm a pancake person, so I should have made pancakes, not waffles! This incident is fondly remembered as the soggy waffle party of 2012. Oops.
As the host, you set the mood for your event. If you're stressed, your guests will feel it! Put your phone down, breathe, and your guests will follow suit and enjoy themselves. Nobody likes a host who is scarce, so be present at your event and try to enjoy spending time with your guests. Remember, the moment the host starts cleaning up, the party is over; resist the urge to start doing dishes until the very last guest is gone!