Whether its just friends getting together for drinks or a big soiree full of people you want to impress, the trick to throwing a truly perfect party is to plan out the details in advance so you can relax and have fun at the event. The mood of the host or hostess sets the tone for the whole party, so being stressed and uncomfortable around the guests is not an option. In order to create the perfect atmosphere here a few good rules of thumb
appropriate for any party.
- Don't sweat the small stuff. Plan and prepare the little details till your heart's content (they can really make a party) but if something goes wrong or doesn't turn out just right don't panic. If you stay relaxed and happy your guests will be that much more comfortable (and a few imperfections can be endearing).
- Know your guests If you're serving food find out ahead of time if there are any special guest requirements (vegetarian diet, allergies, etc). Also make sure the music is appropriate for everyone, and plan ahead for special guest groups like the elderly (plenty of seating) and children (places to play). You don't want to be scrambling for extra chairs as the guests arrive.
- Set the mood. Make sure the lighting fits the type of party you're throwing (a game night will need brighter lights than a couples event) and set food and drinks out in places that will encourage mingling without interrupting flow. If most of your guests don't already know each other serving buffet-style is a good way to keep things moving and encourage talking.
- Don't make people wait. If it's a dinner party you should be ready to serve no later than 30-45 minutes after the guests arrive.
- Don't micro-manage. Introduce people as appropriate but also try to let things flow -- if you have a crowd that's comfortable then let things take care of themselves.