10 Tips to Help You Be a Great Hostess ...

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love a great party. The key of course is the hostess. As spring approaches and the temperature climbs, I expect to start throwing a few shindigs of my own. Here are 10 tips you can use to be a great hostess and make your dinner parties fun and memorable!

1. Prepare Ahead of Time

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Photo Credit: brandi666

Preparation is the key to success in almost every endeavor. Entertaining is no different. Having things done the day before or even a few days before you plan to open the door for your first guest makes all the difference. Knowing that everything is already done helps you remain calm and ready for a good time.

2. Be Present

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Photo Credit: Graham Ballantyne

This might seem obvious but I can’t begin to tell you how many parties I’ve been to and I only ever saw the host in fleeting moments. If it’s your party why wouldn’t you be present? Slaving in the kitchen is usually to blame. It’s okay to go in every now and then to check on things but spending all of your time away from your friends defeats the purpose of your get together.

3. Interact and Introduce

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Photo Credit: nommie_nom

When you have a gathering and invite people from different circles it’s your responsibility as the host to introduce them and help conversations start. Sometimes it’s easy, other times it might be a little more difficult. Introduce people based on similar hobbies, taste in music or because they both have cats.

4. Be Gracious

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Sometimes things go wrong. The food burns on the grill, you’re out of ice again and your brother brings his annoying girlfriend when his invitation clearly was NOT plus one. The quickest way to alienate guests is to get upset over these things. Remember that these are your friends, they don’t expect things to be perfect and even if everything falls apart, they’ll still love you.

5. Have Ample Food and Drink

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Photo Credit: Megan E. Mitchell

Always have more than enough food and drink. Especially drinks! Having more than you expect covers any guests you didn’t have on the RSVP list and assures that everyone has enough. Don’t worry about having too much. If push comes to shove I promise that guests won’t be annoyed if you send them home with delicious extras!

6. Refill

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Every now and then pull yourself away from the amazing conversation you’re having about fashion and make the rounds asking your guests if they’d care for refills. This gives you a chance to check on everyone and make adjustments if anyone seems uncomfortable...

7. Have a Great Playlist

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Who needs a DJ when you’ve got an iPod and speakers? Keep the mood you’re trying to go for in mind when you get your music together. Beethoven composed beautiful music but he might not be the perfect choice for a backyard barbeque. If you don’t know how to use it, grab anyone under 16 or head over to ehow.com for a quick tutorial on creating playlists.

8. Nice Ambiance

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Spending a lot of time and money on decorations is not necessary unless you plan on entertaining a diplomat. Paper lanterns, candles and twinkle lights help create a nice atmosphere. Don’t feel like you need to splurge on the expensive items at specialty décor stores. The white lights from last Christmas and the Bath & Body Works candles under the bathroom cupboard will do just fine.

9. Keep It Simple

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Photo Credit: Mr. T in DC

You aren’t Martha Stewart. Your food, décor and entertainment don’t need to be extravagant and hard. If you can get away with cheese and crackers then by all means go with cheese and crackers! Everything doesn’t need to be homemade. All of the fancy stuff might look nice but if it takes you away from your party it isn’t worth it.

10. Have Fun!

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If you aren’t having fun, your guests aren’t either. Maybe it’s time to bring out the Pictionary. Perhaps you should change the playlist or maybe you need to liven up a bit yourself. It’s a party after all. Drink in the company, the atmosphere and have some fun!

Being a great hostess can be easy as long as you remember to use tips like these. Are there any rules you like to go by to ensure that you’re the best hostess you can be? Please share!

Top Photo Credit: theladymargaret

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