So you’re looking to throw a party, in this article, we will discuss how to prepare your home to receive guests, and we will address not only the entrance to your party space but all the house preparations. Follow these guidelines to prep your home for your next gathering.
- Before your guests arrive, walk through the entire party space, taking note of the placement of furniture. There should be at least 18″ of clearance for pathways between furniture.
- If you are creating dead-end rooms (i.e. those where the entrance and exit are via the same path), you may want to remove some furniture to allow for better flow.
- In rooms where there is just a little clearance around the perimeter of the furniture, you may want to push the furniture to the walls, to create more clearance and mingling space in front of the furniture.
- Don’t forget to create conversational groupings, (seating for 2 or 3 in fairly close proximity to one another), to allow for your guests to talk.
- When you are reviewing your furniture placement, it’s a good opportunity to assess your “clutter.” View your decor as a newcomer would see it.
- Does the dÈcor (I’m talking about the smaller items in a room — pillows, pictures, collectables) project the image that you want? Is there the potential for a party mishap based on the clutter (i.e. a grouping tabletop mirrors that take up valuable F&B space and could fall or break with the slightest jostle)?
- If either of these situations exists, now is the time to remove the extraneous items. You can always replace these items post-party, but for now, you are protecting your collectables and creating a more guest-friendly space.
Create a Beverage Centre
- The first area that you’ll bring your incoming guests to
- Set up the beverage center in a transitional area (i.e. between the entrance and the main party space). I usually set up my beverage center in the dining room, which is the first room off of our foyer.
- Stock the beverage center: in addition to the beverages, include glasses, a bucket of ice, tongs, whatever implements you need for your service (corkscrew, bottle opener, can opener, straws), any accompaniments you desire (cherries, lime twists, olives, lemon wedges), and a couple of bar towels to take care of spills.
- Make sure that there is a clearly defined receptacle for trash (even if it’s just a small bowl on the bar setup).
Set Up a Food Centre
- Create your food area in one of two manners. Either create a station-based setup where you would have your appetizers in one area, your main meal in another, and your desserts in a third area. Conversely, you could set out your food in one larger area, and perhaps scatter bowls of snack foods (chips, nuts, candies) throughout the party space.
- Select your style of food center based upon the floor plan of the party space, your menu and the timing of the event.
- Remember to take your guests’ needs into consideration, in addition to your own needs.
- Your choice of location for the rubbish bins is just as important as your choice of food items.
- Use one bin per room, and make sure that the bin is lined with a plastic bag. I usually store additional plastic liners in the bottom of each can to eliminate any frantic searches for fresh liners as I empty the bins during the party.
- Use a taller bin with a small footprint, so that there is a lot of volume for the garbage without stealing too much room from the guests.
- Inevitably, every party has some sort of minor disaster. The best defence is a strong offence — in other words, accept that there may be a spill or similar, and prepare for it.
- Have 5 or 6 clean, towels on hand, just in case a guest has a mishap.
- Buy some new small towels and only use them at your social gatherings. This ensures that you don’t offer your guest a stained shred of fabric instead of a clean, crisp, professional-looking towel!
Finally, enjoy yourself, whilst you may be playing host for the majority of it. Remember why you are having the party and the make the most of it before you miss out on all the fun.