I must also add that it was supposed to storm all day, so I was hesitant to set up outdoor decor out of fear it will get ruined in a down pour. The rain held off, and one hour prior to party time, I decided to go for it and set up outside.
As the party wound down, I swore to myself I was going to jot down my lessons learned so our next house party is not so chaotic. Below are the lessons I'm documenting for myself. Hopefully, you find them helpful too.
- With a large group, catering may be the way to go. Having to feed so many people is hard with just grill out food and potluck-style side dishes.
- If people are bringing a side-dish, ensure they commit to a certain dish a head of time to prevent repeats and ensure meal balance.
- Try making your signature cocktail recipe prior the party. Our strawberry-basil bourbon lemonade ended up tasting amazing, but the batch size was far too small to keep up with for the size of our crowd...especially when the hostess is also playing bartender. Plus, the prep ended up being labor intensive.
- When serving a big group, go with water bottles (water bottles wrapped in decorative duct tape, of course). Filling up a drink dispenser periodically throughout the night with fruit-infused water will take way too much of your precious time. You won't be able to refill it quick enough.
- Assign photo duty to someone, because you can't do it yourself. You'll be far too busy.
- Arrange to have assistant (or back up) tour guides, because you and your husband cannot keep the party rolling while giving a new tour every five minutes.
- Have activities to keep the kids occupied. Think coloring books, bubbles or other games.
- Add a firm RSVP deadline to your invitation.
While I felt like these things went less than stellar in my book, everyone told me they had a great time.
I even had the honor or serving the most talked about cookies. I ordered them from Katy at Spoonful of Sugar Cookies.
The cookies were the most precious I've seen. I mean, how cute is the door with a wreath and our initial?!?
Katy blows me away with her attention to detail.
I also love the fact that each dozen of cookies comes with several shapes and designs, not just one which is what most bakeries offer.
Have you also experienced a similar experience when entertaining?
If so, what are your best lessons for hosting a house party?