Pro party tips for novice hosts
Got guests with an infant? Set up a crèche. Take host-withthe-most to the next level by hiring a babysitter to keep an eye on their wee one and give them an hour or two off duty.
1 The first rule of hosting? It couldn’t be simpler: be a good host! Above all, your guests want to spend time with you, so make sure you’re ready at least 20 minutes before they’re due to arrive and keep yourself available throughout the event. If you have fun, they will too. 2 Speaking of guests — aim to invite a variety. Spice up the night with people who are younger and older, from different walks of life and who work in different fields. Include a few good conversationalists in the mix to help you break the ice. 4 Tealight candles in sand-filled paper bags are hard to beat for ease, cost-effectiveness and impact. Use them to set the mood at your soirée by lining them up along garden paths, staircases and hallways. 5 Whether you’re the type to prepare a digital playlist or break out the vinyl, you’ll also want to create ambience with music before your guests arrive. Begin the evening with tunes that are fairly unobtrusive, then pump up the jam as the night progresses. Being footloose and fancy free on the night requires forward planning to get all your ducks in a row. Give yourself plenty of time — the entire afternoon, at least. Start by setting the table first. Most people leave this step until last, but this way, if you do end up a bit behind schedule with the food prep, your place settings will still look sharp. 7 Don’t neglect your bathroom. Upgrade your bog-standard toilet to a water-closet wonderland with dim lighting, chic soap and flickering candles. 8 Pre-mix a few drinks so you don’t end up juggling bartending duties with greeting guests. Create upscale ready-to-drink cocktails by preparing ingredients, sealing them in smart-looking singleserve jars (amber, clear, tall, short) and placing them in the fridge. To serve, simply drop in some ice, shake and garnish.