In case you couldn't tell already, Gabe and I love to host. We ALWAYS host Thanksgiving, and we rotate Christmas and Hanukkah with our families. In between, we always do at least 2-3 dinner parties per year, and 1 big party.
We've picked up some essential tips along the way. We've also had many arguments and have learned how to work with each other along the way. Here are our top tips for hosting an epic soiree.
1. Start Early
The earlier you begin making lists and organizing everything that needs to be done for the event, the easier it will be on you come party time. Set the table, set out glasses, and arrange everything just the way you want it the night before. Do as much prep for your food as you can the night before as well - as long as something tastes just as good cold as it does hot, make it the day before!
2. Recruit Help
DO NOT BE SHY. I repeat... DO NOT BE SHY.
Recruit the help of friends or family (preferably those that have hosted in the past, because they know what needs to be done without being asked) during the event. Ask a certain person to assist in bringing out food dishes, making sure the drinks are flowing, and generally assisting in the merriment.
You'll be in the typical "where the heck are my oven mitts" mindset the majority of the evening, so make sure that you have a spare set of hands helping you so you can also enjoy the festivities.
3. Don't Sweat the Small Stuff
Seriously though, don't worry if someone's glass has a smudge or if the risotto needs extra salt - guests will understand and even offer to salt their own risotto!
4. If you are relaxed, they're relaxed
People are like dogs - they smell fear. They also smell stress and anxiety. If you're stressed and anxious when hosting, your guests will feed off that and also be stressed and not enjoy their time with you. Just let the little things go, and carve out time to enjoy the event alongside your guests.
5. Let Me Entertain You
If we're hosting a group of close friends, or a small dinner party, we usually don't need to break out some crazy entertainment or games to make sure everyone has a good time. The conversation and drinks will be easy and flowing. If we're hosting a variety of people, where breaking the ice might be challenging, then we'll bring out some games for everyone to enjoy and laugh with. Some of our favorites are Cards Against Humanity, Pictionary, and good old Charades.