Susan Mac­tavish Best, known as The Party Whis­perer, shares tips for stress-free soirées ( liv­ing­mac­

ELLE Decoration (UK) - - Entertaining -

Cre­ate the guest list like a recipe – con­sider what will pro­duce in­ter­est­ing re­sults. A party filled with the same type of per­son is as­ton­ish­ingly dull.

A large gath­er­ing is not the time to ex­per­i­ment with new recipes. Save that for sup­pers with close friends.

Write down the menu – I like to use a chalk­board. No guest wants the food on their plate to be a mys­tery.

Es­chew place set­tings. Let­ting peo­ple sit where they’d like adds an el­e­ment of kismet. You can still gen­tly guide your guests to sit in cer­tain spots.

Keep the styling re­laxed. I al­ways have some flow­ers spread around.

Avoid over­head light­ing and stick to can­dles or gen­tle side light­ing – your guests will thank you.

The role of the host is sim­ple: to make sure your guests feel com­fort­able. This in­cludes in­tro­duc­ing them to any­one they don’t al­ready know and mak­ing sure they don’t get hun­gry or thirsty.

Din­ner par­ties are not about per­fec­tion. It’s okay to ask peo­ple to bring things or help you out, es­pe­cially if you’re throw­ing an oc­ca­sion solo.

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