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The How-To Lounge: Being a Good Hostess

It requires a lot of experience and some serious patience to become a graceful hostess. A good girlfriend of mine currently gives us all a run for our money, and I admire her talent and her skills. Let's review a few helpful tips for throwing a great dinner or cocktail party and enjoying it, too.

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  • Be prepared for early guests!
  • When hosting a party, ambiance counts. I like soft lighting, candles, and it's best if the music serves to accent conversation, not overwhelm everyone
  • Flowers are always a nice tough to make your home look fresh and cozy
  • Being a hostess takes a lot of work. Catering to your guests, and taking care of the food and the drinks gets overwhelming here and there. Stay calm and collected. Take a 5-minute break in the bathroom if you need to center and ground yourself
  • Provide an assortment of beverages for your guests, including enough water and non-alcoholic choices, and stock up. When the drinks disappear, so do the guests
  • Introduce guests to each other. If you're secretly playing matchmaker, be very sly but do help spark their conversation
  • Set aside a place for coats. You don't want the couch turned into an eyesore in the middle of the room
  • Assign little jobs to your partner or good friend. This way you can concentrate on your guests' needs, facilitate introductions and not become overwhelmed. Delegate. Delegate. Delegate
  • Provide appetizers, no matter the occasion. A simple cheese plate on the coffee table will suffice
  • If you're hosting a dinner party, keep the cocktail hour short and sensible. Disasters follow excessive drinking before a meal
  • Parties should be fun for everyone, including you. Let the little things go and delight in the company of your friends and family

Enjoy your weekend, ladies!


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Darky-Locs Darky-Locs 9 years
Good advice for hostess newbies like me! Thanks for posting
andaman andaman 10 years
If i want a plush meal i go to restaurants with my friends!
andaman andaman 10 years
I think 99% of dinner parties where you have to sit down with strangers at a long table are hard work and no fun! I am not a big fan of it at all! I prefer buffet parties. You can chill with people. Instead of forcing yourself to be clever or trying to be polite. Even if the host is doing her/his best to make you feel welcome i think most people don't feel comfortable. Man I prefer to eat homemade pizza than foie gras!
partysugar partysugar 10 years
I'm always suggesting ideas and tips over on YumSugar about how to be the ultimate hostess with the mostess. Being a great hostess is so much more than having enough food and drink for everyone it's about making your guests feel special, loved, and like they belong.
andaman andaman 10 years
Canapes are pretentious!
andaman andaman 10 years
NEVER NEVER run out of drinks! If don't want to worry about food too much I suggest you do a braising dish with mash and salad. You can keep your mash and the braised warm in the oven, keep the salad in the fridge, take them out when the guests are ready. It looks good, taste good and so easy to make. I wouldn't bother about having canapes. Unless you want to impress someone important!
Marci Marci 10 years
I have the best times at parties given by hosts who are relaxed. I have a friend who loves to entertain but she's so busy and nervous the whole time that it makes everyone uneasy and her parties end the earliest. My boyfriend and I are relaxed hosts and our parties usually run very late!
StefaPie StefaPie 10 years
I'm throwing a birthday party for my boyfriend tonight, and I was worried about being a good hostess. Great timing, Dear!
andaman andaman 10 years
employ a private chef if you can afford one.
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