How to be the host with the most
First and foremost, take some time to curate your guest list. Bear in mind how many people can comfortably fit into your home, or around your dinner table. When inviting friends consider if there are any clashes of personality, and remember to ask them about any specific dietary requirements.
Wow your guests by picking a theme for the evening. A clear theme will help you to choose the music, food, drinks, decorations and even your outfit. Whether it’s a murder mystery, a taste of India, board games or a casino night, there are hundreds to choose from!
Use your space
Perhaps you have a stunning London skyline view that’s can be seen from the dinner table, or a spacious outside seating area that’s just perfect for a BBQ. Try to let your home’s best features shape the type of gathering you have.
Dress to impress
Throw on your glad rags! As host, what you wear will set the tone of the evening, so if you’re going for a casual affair, keep your outfit laid back. If you’re after a more formal evening, or even fancy dress, be sure to inform your guests of the dress code.
The right music can influence guests’ mood – so think about whether you want sophisticated background soundtrack to encourage conversation, or something more lively that will keep the energy high. You could create a playlist to match the theme of the night, or simply choose a series of crowd-pleasers; before you know it, you’ll have karaoke on the cards!
For a smooth start to your party, plan your evening from beginning to end, starting with arrival drinks. Stock plentifully with a range of thirst quenchers for everyone - there’s nothing worse than the bar running dry! Ideally, you should have red and white wine, lager and soft drinks available. It’s a good idea to stock up on ice, especially if you’re storing drinks out of the fridge. Depending on how many guests you’re inviting, you may need to hire glasses for the evening. Many supermarkets offer this as a complementary service.
Mix it up
If you’re sitting guests around a table to eat, consider creating dinner table name cards so that you can mix up the group. Avoid sitting best friends next to each other as this may create a natural divide between guests.
Feeding the massesOne pot dishes such as lasagnes and chilli are ideal when cooking for large groups of people. Although it may be tempting, this is not the time to flex your creative cooking skills or try adventurous new dishes. Stick with tried and tested recipes that will be fool-proof on the night. Preparing most of the food beforehand is a sensible idea. Remember, your guests have come to spend time with you, so you don’t want to be stuck in the kitchen the whole evening.
The art of conversation
To keep the conversation flowing it’s a good idea to have some discussion starters up your sleeve; sometimes lively conversations need a spark to set them alight. Other ideas for entertainment could include charades, board games, poker, or even a fireworks display.
Candles and flowers can make a room party-ready in the blink of an eye, and it doesn’t need to cost the earth. DIY jam jars filled with flowers and simple tea lights are a cheaper alternative than ordering from a florist. If you have a theme for the night, chose colours and foliage that match.
Time to say goodbye
Often your evening will naturally come to a close, but if some party guests are in a boisterous mood they may overstay their welcome. Offering teas and coffees is a great way to politely signify the end of the night.
Above all, enjoy yourself. With the correct planning and preparation your evening should go without a hitch. Remember, your mood is likely to rub off on your guests – if you’re having fun, everyone else will too!