Monday, December 12, 2011

My Secret of Successful Party Hosting

On Friday night, my husband and I hosted a party for the cast of the Christmas show we’ve been performing in. We had probably 40 or so guests. A number of people asked how I could manage to get ready for a big party while both performing in a show and managing two small children. I am about to share my secret of just exactly how I do it: invite the right people.

Seriously, the success of our parties is NOT dependant on us as the host and hostess. Yes, we provide the venue, and yes, we provide some food, and yes, we’re pretty fun people to talk to. (And yes, my husband makes a mean sidecar.) But what makes our parties a great success every single time is the awesomeness of the people that come to them. Last Friday, as soon as the first person walked in the door, I had more offers to help than I had chores to be done. People were helping each other find places for the platters of food they had brought, directing each other to the bar in the kitchen, taking coats upstairs to the bedroom. Every time I checked to see if the trash can was full, someone had just taken the full bag out to the porch and put a fresh one in the can. If I went into the dining room to refill platters or clear empty ones, someone else was already taking care of it. Whenever I did a sweep of the house to clear abandoned cups and plates, either someone had beat me to it or the guests had cleared their own trash.

We don’t even need to provide any entertainment: with musical friends, they provide their own. At one point during the evening there were not one, not two, but FOUR guitars strumming away in the living room. Someone sat at the piano and took requests for Billy Joel songs. Guests joined in the singing, suggesting tunes, working together to remember which verse came next, scrambling to recall lyrics of songs from long ago, laughing about who could remember (and who had forgotten) various songs.

And at the end of the night, people washed out their own dishes before I could do it, helped clear any remaining cups and plates, put the empties from the bar into the recycling bin, and pretty much cleaned up for us. All that was left for us to do was to put a few dishes in the dishwasher, sweep the floor, and call it a night.

So the next time you think about planning a party and you want to be sure it’s a great success, all you need to do is be sure you have as wonderful, gracious, helpful, and fun friends as I do!

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