Tips for a successful party

-- by Royane Real

If you have never hosted a party before, you may be very nervous the first few times you do it. Here are some party hints to give you the courage to begin.

Pick a date, time, and location, and draw up a list of people you wish to invite. Depending on the custom in your social circle, you can issue formal written invitations, invite your guests by telephone, or ask them in person. Whatever method you choose, itís a good idea to issue your party invitations at least two or three weeks in advance.

One of the most important aspects of throwing a party is to make sure that all your guests understand exactly what kind of party it will be, and what is expected of them. Be very clear about the exact time, date, and location of the party. Here is a checklist to help you make sure your guests know what to expect:

- Is the party formal or informal?

- Is it a costume party?

- Does the party have a theme? Is any special dress required?

- Are you supplying food? Will you provide a full meal, or just snacks and appetizers? At what time will the food be served? Will it be a formal, sit down meal? Or buffet style?

- Are you supplying alcoholic beverages? Do you want people to bring their own beverages?

- Do you want the guests to bring anything, such as food, appetizers, party favors, or liquor?

- If you have any unique requests, make them very explicit. For example you may not want anyone to consume alcohol or smoke on the premises.

- Do you want people to bring their children, or leave them at home?

- Does the party start exactly at a certain time, or is the starting time approximate?

- Is attendance "come and go"?

It's very important that your guests are very clear on exactly what to expect. For example, if you will be providing a full course, sit down meal, and you don't tell your guests in advance, they will probably eat at home before they come to your party. If you want everyone to be wearing casual clothing, those guests who decided to get very dressed up will be embarrassed.

Relationships have occasionally been ruined because a party guest did not understand exactly what would be happening at a party, so be very clear in your communications.

A few days before your party, telephone everyone on your list to remind them again about the party, and have them confirm definitely whether or not they will be attending.

Many parties are very simple and largely unplanned. The host merely invites an assortment of people and supplies a lot of food and liquor. But parties can also be quite elaborate affairs.

You might want to host a party that is a step or two more sophisticated than simply getting lots of people together with lots of noise and lots of food and wine. With some creativity, you can create a memorable splash without spending a lot of money.

Use your imagination to turn your party into a unique event. You can get lots of great creative ideas from magazines, television programs and books to help you plan interesting activities, food, and dťcor.

Don't get too carried away--your focus should always be on creating a warm, enjoyable experience for your guests. You are not creating a theme park.

One of the easiest kinds of parties to host is a potluck party. In this type of party, you are not saddled with the overwhelming task of preparing all the food yourself.

You simply ask each person or couple to bring some food for all to share. You can be very organized in your requests, giving each person specific instructions as to what they should bring. Or you can simply let people bring anything they want, and hope that you donít end up with ten jellied salads.

To be sure that there will be a substantial main dish, prepare it yourself. You can also ask one or two people to bring dishes you think would be especially popular.

Even if you are a very good cook, and prefer to do all the food preparation yourself, you will probably still benefit by asking a friend to help you get everything ready. You may want to start all your preparations one or two days in advance.

Before the party starts, be sure that the house is reasonably clean and that you have enough chairs, plates, cups and glasses for everyone. Be sure to have enough containers available for trash. Pick out some music selections that your guests will enjoy.

If you have never hosted a party before, you may feel quite nervous and worried about whether the party will be successful.

You will have much more fun at your own party if you let go of the idea that everything has to be perfect. Parties are not about perfection, they are about fun. Things that go wrong may seem disastrous at the time, but they may seem very funny later.

Try to be at the door to greet each of your guests as they arrive, and thank them for coming. Let them know where to put their coats. Tell them when and where the food will be served and show them the location of the bathroom. Introduce any new arrivals to the people who are already present.

When you introduce people to each other, briefly mention some points of interest about each person so they have something to begin talking about. For example you can say, "Fred, this is Ron Stevens, who is my boss at the bank where I work. Ron, I'd like to introduce my neighbor, Fred Lahrmann. Fred has just completed building an ultra-light plane in his back yard."

If any of the people at your party seem to be especially shy, be sure to introduce them to others who will talk to them. If you notice someone who seems to be alone a lot throughout the evening, you can ask that person if they have been introduced to everyone at the party.

Sometimes people who are socially awkward will leap at the chance to help you with some party chores. You can ask them politely if they would be willing to take around a tray of appetizers to the guests, or help pick up empty glasses. Donít force these duties on them. Give people a choice.

Try to get to each guest several times throughout the evening, and donít play favorites, ignoring some, and monopolizing the time of others. If at all possible, try to speak to your guests as they are leaving and thank them for coming.

Who knows, you may enjoy hosting a party so much that you will do it again and again!

This article is taken from the new book by Royane Real titled "How You Can Have All the Friends You Want - Your Complete Guide to Finding Friends, Making Friends, and Keeping Friends" To boost your social life, download it today at



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