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Tips for Hosting in Your Home
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Whether hosting a tailgate for your favorite team, a back to school dinner party with friends, or the upcoming holiday season has entertaining on your mind, we’ve got you covered. September brings some of our favorite weather, but the slight chill in the air is enough to send our recent outdoor parties back inside. So dust off the dining room table and pick out your favorite linens, we’ve got some tips to help you get ready for hosting in your home.
 
According to Martha Stewart, there are six questions that get you started when hosting a party: What is the date? How many guests will there be? What is the location? What type of party will it be? What is your budget? And, will there be music or entertainment? She believes that, “once you have the answers to these questions, the framework for your party is in place.” The fact that you wanted to host a party in the first place typically means you already have most of those questions answered. It can be as simple as spreading the invite via word of mouth, preparing some chicken wings and rooting for your favorite college teams. Or, it could be an upscale invite-only, formal dinner with a cocktail hour and live entertainment. I like to imagine what type of party I am looking to host, then work backwards and figure out the necessary steps to getting there.
 
Especially when hosting in your home, it’s important not to put too much pressure on yourself. A full course dinner creates additional stress and requires you to master timing and a schedule. Unless you have a caterer, dinner parties are best kept small and intimate. For larger parties, it may be tempting to pull in others to help prep, but hosting a potluck requires coordination and as Bon Appetit points out, it can get tricky when counting on your guests to complete your party. As they noted, “people have been known to forget things at home or be late. If it’s an essential item, like ice for the cocktails, you don’t want to be left in the lurch.” To satisfy your guest’s hunger and make things easy on you, we suggest doing small bites. It allows guests to create plates that appeal to their personal preferences and many of the items can go straight from the store onto a plate. HGTV suggests not choosing foods that need to be heated right before serving or else you’ll be in the kitchen all night.
 
As always, do a little prep beforehand. PopSugar suggests doing a little pre-emptive damage control by taking a careful look at the items around your house – “love that antique walnut coffee table? Make sure nobody accidentally ruins it with drink rings by arranging coasters on the table before guests arrive. Consider temporarily removing that bright-white sheepskin rug from the living room in case somebody spills a bit of wine.”
 
Once guests start arriving include them in the day. Martha Stewart emphasizes that it’s important for you to enjoy the party that you’re throwing stating, “a great hostess doesn’t have to do it all on her own.” Enlist the help of family members or guests to plate food items, set up the bar, or check on guests drinks. HGTV says that giving guests an assignment it’s a “sure-fire way to get people mingling.”
 
Know how to end a party gracefully if there are stragglers. PopSugar suggests the best way is to lower the music gradually, begin collecting cups and dishes, and brighten the lights if need be. And even though you’ll likely be exhausted, Bon Appetit  says it’s a must to start the cleanup before bed. It will make for a much more enjoyable morning.
 
Happy hosting!

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Courtney Itami

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