To Host or Not to Host

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There are many occasions throughout the year where you will have the opportunity to party. But, to host or not to host, that is the question.  Right now, we are one-step away from the busiest celebration season of the year: Summer and all the fun and events it brings. After all, we have Memorial Day BBQs, Graduation parties, 4th of July and with all the great weather, there is always a good excuse for a Friday night BBQ. For some, hosting a party is an impulsive decision, for others, a mental struggle. There are several things to consider and many others to plan, if you go ahead. Therefore, I recommend asking yourself these three main questions before deciding whether to host:

1. Do I have the time to pull everything together before the event?
2. Do I have the space to comfortably fit the number of people I will invite?
3. Do I have the money to spend on this event?

If the answer to any one of the above questions is no, then do not host. You can stop reading here and go ahead with your day.

If you are still reading, then you must have decided to host. YAY, party time!  Now, it is time to start planning and organizing. This is the only way to minimize unforeseen situations, provide the best time for your guests and make sure you have fun too.

1. Plan the menu. In the case of a small gathering, you may want to ask your guests about food allergies or dietary preferences, so that you can avoid conflicts. On the other hand, in a large gathering, you will want a variety to cover all tastes and preferences (like having meat and veggies options).

You can do the main dishes and ask your guests to bring sides and dessert. Be thoughtful in your assignments to set the party up for success. Don’t assign appetizers to your family member that is always late. Don’t ask your friend that can’t cook to make something challenging. Most importantly, keep your menu simple enough or to things that can be made ahead of time so that you can enjoy your party and not spend the whole time in the kitchen.

2. Sit down vs. buffet. This should be decided based on the number of people attending being able to sit at a table and by the formality of the event.

3. Real dishes vs. paper/plastic. It all depends on the type of event you are hosting. Using paper/plastic dishes minimize the risk of breaking something (something to consider especially when you have kids around) and also make the cleaning much easier, which is something to think about it when you have a large number of guests. If you have a more intimate party with a small number of guests, the real dishes will save you some money, but will also add to clean up time. Real is always more elegant, but you will need to weigh elegant vs. easy clean up.

4. Beverages. Do you plan to serve alcohol? If so, the first thing to consider is what you are going to serve (wine and beer or full bar) and consider the number of guests and the duration of the event. When you think of a full bar, the general rule is: 50% will prefer wine, 30% beer and 20% mixed drinks. If it is just wine and beer, consider that 60% will prefer wine and the rest, beer. Usually, a person will consume 2 drinks in the first hour and 1 drink/hour in the following.
For non-alcoholic events (or as options for children and non-drinkers): soda, water, juice or sparkling water. You could even create a punch or mocktail that both kids and adults can enjoy like an Arnold Palmer (ice tea and lemonade) or a large dispenser with flavored water (water with cut limes, lemons, cucumbers or oranges)


5. Background noise. If there is an important sporting event or the Preakness, you may have the TV on. Or, are you going to have music? If so, what type? Make sure that everything is working, your stereo is set up and that important game is part of your TV package.
Not sure what kind of music you want, check out Pandora or download the app. You can search genres and you can find a pre-built station that will suit your tastes. Pandora has stations for Dinner Party, Classic Rock BBQ or Laid Back Brunch and many more that continuously play a variety of artists that fit that theme.

6. Stock your house. Fully stock your bathroom with extra toilet paper, wipes, feminine products and air freshener. Put extra trash bags in the bottom of the trash can so that the bag can be easily changed when it is full. Have extra napkins, paper towels, dish towels handy. Guests will want to help and if you make it easy for them, you will get extra help!

7. Entertainment.  If you are having an outdoor party, you may want to have a few games to keep people busy.  Corn hole, croquet, frisbees, volleyball or even just some footballs to toss around can keep fidgety guests and kids entertained for hours.  If it is a night party, kids would love some glow sticks, flashlights or a few jars to catch lightening bugs.

Planning before will allow you to fully enjoy your party without having to keep checking every moment if everything is ok!

If you liked today’s post, you’re welcome to use it in your own newsletter or blog as long as you include the following blurb: Tara Rudo, Life Strategist, helps working moms and families focus on what’s important. Get our FREE weekly tips and advice at  Image courtesy of tiverylucky at

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