How To Be The Perfect Hostess

With fall right around the corner and the holidays creeping in shortly after, we cannot help but day dream about the parties and get-togethers that will be taking place. Everyone loves a good party, but how do you throw an event that is a blast for the guests who attend and will leave them wondering when they can come back to your next party?
The elements of the celebration may change, but I think that there are five key steps to being the perfect hostess and throwing a memorable shindig!
People will draw conclusions about the party from the moment they step in the door. First impressions are not only important when it comes to people, but also with places. I am not saying that you should turn your apartment or home into an elaborate party throwing haven, but there are key elements to making a guest feel welcomed, even if they are the first to arrive.
Creating the first impression for the perfect party can be broken up into three main areas: music, activities, and atmosphere.
Kick up the tunes before anyone arrives to make the party feel alive. If you are throwing a classy dinner party, put on some jazz music. If you are looking for an upbeat atmosphere, put on your favorite hits. Tailor the music that is playing to fit the vibe you are looking to create for the party.
Have something for people to do right when they walk in the door. People want to feel like they can walk in and become a part of something, and as the perfect hostess you can help create this for them. You can incorporate this into the theme of your event, or it could simply be to help you finish creating the last of the baked goods.
As the hostess, you can use your creativity to allow for any atmosphere that you would like. If the party is a simple get together at your house, the music and lighting can be used to create the perfect atmosphere you desire. It does not take much to make it look like you put extra thought into the feel of the party. You can make the atmosphere as simple or elaborate as you would like. If it is a fall party, get a few mini pumpkins to set around the appetizers. If you are throwing a Christmas event, play Christmas music and light candles with a holiday fragrance!
Give your guests a few things to look at around the party that make it feel festive. If your get together doesn’t have a theme naturally, you can create one! I think not having a theme [for example a baby shower] can be the most fun type of party to theme. Pinterest is full of ideas, so let your imagination wander, and don’t put yourself in a box. If your theme is natural [for example, Christmas], you can easily elaborate on this and give your party a few key elements. This will make your party feel intentional, and that you put time into thinking through the atmosphere.
So you have the atmosphere set, and the food ready. But what are people going to do besides eating and chatting? It always helps me to imagine myself at the event, all the way to the end. Does it feel like there will be lag time in there? Sure, you hope people are having such a great time chatting that you don’t need any planned “activities”, but I have found that it’s usually helpful to have activities as options, then let the guests decide based upon the feel on the party itself.
If it is a casual event, have a few yard games outside that people can mingle around. If the celebration is a children’s birthday party, have a craft center that the children can play with, and the adults can help. If it is a casual party with friends, have a few indoor games ready for people to pick up and play.
Thinking through the feel of the whole party will ensure that there are no “awkward” lapses in time, and that the entire party is seamless.
If you are going through all the trouble of throwing a beautiful party, you need to enjoy it! Choose to not be the hostess who is running around the entire time and doesn’t spend time with the people who are at the party. Plan the best you can to have everything set before people arrive, but once they do, let it be. Your guests won’t know the difference if one appetizer is not making it out on the table, or a decoration is not looking the way it should. Once people start to arrive, leave all of the small details behind and just enjoy the evening.

Nothing is worse than a party without clear direction from the hostess. Part of the perfect hostess job is to let the guests know what to expect. Is dinner going to be served at 7? Make sure the guests arrive by 6:30 p.m. and are aware when dinner will be served. Will it be outdoor? Let them know so they can dress accordingly. Are people bringing dishes? Tell your guests so that they don’t come feeling unprepared.
As the hostess, you want people to feel prepared, which will put them at ease. By being clear in your direction, it allows for them to escape from their normal day-to-day routine, and have a blast at your party.