Relax…you really can handle this! Hosting an event can be quite stressful, especially if it is not something that you do on a regular basis. The details of the event can be overwhelming. That’s why we, at Events By Epic, wanted to offer you a few tips to minimize your anxiety when preparing to host your holiday party!
#1 – Remember WHY you are hosting the Party! Being too consumed by the details of the day can cause you to forget why you are having it to begin with…to connect with family and friends. This approach could cause conflict and/or hinder a relationship with a family member. Although important, the time shared and memories created is matters more than compliments received about how beautifully decorated and well coordinated the holiday party was.
If you find this to be too difficult for you, consider hiring an event planner who can focus on the details of the event while you connect with family and friends.
#2 – How Much will this Cost? Determining how much you have to spend is always the best place to start. Married couples should be sure to discuss this step together. Holiday parties often bring up other unexpected expenses that are not technically associated with the event itself. However, you do not want a leaky toilet, broken hand rail or porch step, when you have guest coming over. Considering all cost will help you determine how many people and who you invite.
Tip: To share the cost burden of the event, ask others to contribute. Have a potluck! It will take a bit more coordination, but it prevents you from scaling back the event.
#3 – Who’s on the Guest List? I know that you would prefer to have one epic event (no pun intended…well sorta), but you may have to consider having 2-3 smaller ones if you do not think your guest will mesh well. When those who attend the event simply appreciate the fact that you invited them, they often make the event better and enjoyable for all.
Tip: Consider having smaller gatherings; one for family, one for friends, and another for co-workers. Perhaps meet your co-workers at a restaurant and everyone pays for themselves.
#4 – Make a List and Check it Twice! The details and “to-do’s” are typically not what causes you to go from 0 to 60 on the anxiety charts. It’s the unknown that is stressful. “What or Who am I forgetting?” Before doing anything, take some time to make a list of your “to-do’s”.
Tip: There are many cool apps that you can add to your phone or tablet so that you can add to the list while on the go. Evernote, Trello, and Podio are a few apps that we use to to stay on task.
#5 – Decor & Space Planning You know how many people your home will hold for dinner. Need more space? A well decorated folding table is an inexpensive way to extend the dinning room table. Minimize decor on the tables to allow room for food. Rearrange furniture to improve the flow.
Tip: Be sure to consider space for entertaining before and after dinner. In a smaller space? Its ok. If you are planning to play games or need room for dancing, remember to ask a few people to help you turn the room, prior to the party. This ensures that they are prepared to do this quickly without much interruption.
#6 – Set The Mood! The right music and lighting is always a pleasant addition to any event. Spend some time creating a playlist prior to the day. Think about the amount of time people will be over and add enough music to last the entire time. To change the mood, you may need multiple playlist to use before and after dinner. Manage the volume so that it allows for conversation.
Tips: Pandora and Spotify are great apps to use if you do not have time to create playlist. Consider turning off the overhead lights and infuse lamps with varying color bulbs. Hours prior, open windows to allow fresh air in. Be sure to reset the temperature prior to guest arriving.
#7 – Prepare Ahead of Time. Prepare and cook as much as possible before hand. Prepare plenty of snacks, drinks, and appetizers in a different room (if possible) from where you will have dinner. This will allow your guest to snack just in case something takes longer than anticipated. When you are organized and prepared, this allows for you to spend more time with your guest.
Tips: Assign someone to restock the goodie bar (an older son or daughter, niece, nephew, etc.) so that you do not have to stop preparing dinner or welcoming and connecting with guest.
#8 – Dinner is Served! A buffet is the most efficient way to serve lots of people. Oven-to-table servingware is a great option to increase efficiency. They help keep the food warm and present much better. Consider labeling where you will place each dish. This ensures that those who are assisting you place items where you intended.
Tip: Be sure that they table is away from the wall to allow access to all sides of the table. This will keep the line moving and prevent longer wait times. Consider making the plates and serving those who are “wiser” (some may call then older) prior to opening the buffet. This allows them to get their plate and get a seat before the rush begins.
#9 – Make it Memorable! Traditions are cherished and remembered. Add a special touch to your day by incorporating a tradition that your family has held onto for years. If you do no have any, there is no greater time than the present! Create one!
Tips: Do a family craft, such as making personalized ornaments, Sing songs together, tell favorite stories, play your favorite game, no matter what you decide, the experience of it is what matters most.
#10 – Prepare for Guest From the time your doorbell rings the first time, your role is to welcome them and make them feel comfortable and at home. Make essential items accessible so that they do not have to ask or search for them, such as extra toliet paper, plunger, paper towel, socks, etc.
Tip: Consider renting a coat rack for about $20. They usually come with hangers. It beats piling coats on a bed and allows for access if they need to run out or leave early.
Bonus: “You don’t have to go home, but its time for you to leave here.” It’s has been a GREAT, but long day and you are getting sleepy. You don’t want to be rude and ask your guest to leave. There are subtle things you can do to signal that the party is over. First, put an end time on the invite (You did send invites, right?). Lower the music or turn up a main light, mood changes in the room can send the appropriate signal.
Tip: Purchase ‘to-go’ containers and put them out at the end of the party.
Tidy Up a Bit: Leave the heavy cleaning for the morning. However, you can do a few things to minimize your workload. 1) Create a tub of soapy water and place dishes inside of the tub, 2) check floor and furniture for stains so that you can treat them immediately, 3) Take of the trash and recycle to minimize those smells consuming the house.
See…YOU DID IT!!!
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