How to be the Hostess with the Mostest {Guest Post}

By Carrie P. 

I've been following Simply Sarah Style for about a year now and I love getting wonderful decorating and entertaining ideas from her so I was thrilled to oblige when she asked me to write a guest column. 

party image via Apartment Therapy

How many times have you planned an absolutely flawless event - only to realize that you didn't really get to speak with your guests? You didn't mix. You didn't mingle. And you didn't even get a sip of that special cocktail you concocted. To really make the most of your events and to become the "hostess with the mostest," follow these simple tips:

Prep ahead
The more prep you can do ahead, the more time you have the day of your event.
  •  A clean plate - clean all of your platters, iron the tablecloth and map out your food table a few days ahead of time. I plan the serving dish I will use at the same time I plan the menu. I then use Post-It notes to denote what will go where.
  • Cut to the quick - cut up all veggies, cheese and fruits ahead of time and store in clear plastic containers for easy refill during your soiree.

Take the easy way out
While being the hostess with the mostess involves putting on a good "show," sometimes you can sacrifice "the best" for "ok" in order to spend time with guests. If using your fine china puts  you in the kitchen all night doing dishes, consider some festive paper products instead. Your guests really won't care and it will greatly free up your time.

Be willing to sacrifice "homemade." Sometimes store-bought dips taste just as good as the kind you mix up from scratch. The same holds true for cookies, sandwich trays and appetizers by the bite. Spend time with guests, not your kitchen.

If you have the means, hire some help. There are so many catering options now and some will even include a staffer or two. If you can swing a bartender, so much the better. This does not diminish your role as hostess - it just makes you more accessible during the event.

If your budget does not allow, consider hiring a neighborhood teenager to help take coats, clear plates (NOT drinks) and be your right-hand helper. 

Plan activities 
To make your event memorable, plan some activities. And make sure you free up your time so you too can participate in those activities. If you have a group of people that don't all know each other, an icebreaker game (and nametags) are a must. This ensures that everyone intermingles and you don't leave anyone out.

Party games, games on the Wii, trivia contests and even raffles can be easy to execute and create a lot of enthusiasm. Scratch off lottery tickets make for great prizes and the scratching off leads to even more excitement.

Fine tune the details
Tunes are very important - the soundtrack to your party will set the tone for your event. Digital programs like iTunes make it easy with their pre-made party mixes (80s mix, cocktail mix, disco, country and more).

With inspiration from Simply Sarah Style, great recipes and smart planning, you too can be the hostess with the mostess!

Carrie Phillippi has been told on more than one occasion that she is the hostess with the mostess and even planned a flash mob for her family Christmas dinner party. A party by Carrie is always a PARTAY!

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