Hosting a Party Is a Skill! Here Are 15 Things to Know if You Want to Be a Master Host.
Hello Aluxers. ‘Tis the season to become a host… who throws the best parties on the block, and as an Aluxer you’ll be expected to pull out all the stops.
We’ve created the perfect list of ways to be the perfect host with the most.
Welcome to Alux.com – the place where future billionaires come to get inspired. If you’re not subscribed yet, you’re missing out.
If you like your parties loud, a boring article might not be your thing. Here’s a fun YouTube upload for this topic:
With that hosted, let the fun begin!
Take the Party Outside
Nothing says ‘classy’ like outdoor dining! If the weather’s great or you are lucky enough to live where there’s a predictable climate, then plan your soiree for a still night in the garden or on your balcony. Outdoor events have so many advantages because you don’t have to do much with the décor generally. Whether you live in a concrete jungle or have a green garden, a simple table set up and some string lights above, bring the ultimate elegance no matter the backdrop.
When the sun goes down and the lights of the city or suburbs come up, it’s always so much prettier and dreamier than indoors. And nothing feels more refreshing than a night spent outdoors, plus the fresh air is meant to reduce the hangover. So win-win!
Bring People Together
People enjoy themselves more when they get to know someone new and don’t feel spare grabbing for conversation. As the host, help people find their common ground by introducing your guests with a starter conversation topic. It also takes the pressure off you to have to juggle a million conversations all night long.
Use informative introductions to get conversations flowing… example: “Hey Doug, have you met Letitia? She recently hiked in South America, aren’t you into hiking too?” Or “Claire meet Imran. Claire’s just come back from working a year in Germany, did you also live there for a while, Imran?
Giving people common ground to start a conversation makes it so much easier and puts everyone at ease.
If you’re looking for a light “read” while you get ready for your next party, why not listen to:
Brunch Is Hell: How to Save the World by Throwing a Dinner Party by Brendan Francis Newnam and Rico Gagliano. Free on audible if you use our link: alux.com/freebook
Create Ambiance With Lighting
No one needs to sit in bright white office lighting all night long, so consider the lighting when you’re hosting an event. Lower light, but not too low, makes people feel more relaxed and sets a good vibe.
If you only have bright overhead lights then bring some lamps into the corners of your room, and then use candles on the dinner table. If you’re hosting a more mingling cocktail evening, then place dot candles around thoughtfully so that people can see where the drinks and snacks are.
It’s always great to light your bathroom with candles when you host a party. It just brings the atmosphere through and is classy AF.
Invest in Great Dinner Wear
You’re probably not going to buy the “Good China” and silverware you want in one fowl swoop. If you choose a classic range you know they will keep making, then there is no rush. Over time you can slowly invest in a classic dinner set that will serve you your whole life. Plus, the bonus of going classic is that if you break a few pieces you can easily top up the set again without having to start all over.
If you aim to impress with keeping these kinds of things standard, then host smaller parties at first. Dinner for 2, or just 4, whatever you can afford. Once you have 4 of everything you can start to aim to have 6 of everything and so on.
Most towns and cities have rental companies who rent out dinnerware and it’s affordable. And if you aren’t hosting people more than once a month it might be better to just hire as you go. This way you get what you need, and you don’t have to wait to host big numbers.
Keep It Simple
Now for the catering: if you want to be the perfect host, start by checking if your guests have any special dietary needs. From there you can plan. Rather than making them a whole separate meal try to find recipes that can work for everyone. Unless you are serving soup, or something cold, then doing a 3 course meal can really be hard to juggle. Plan according to the space and the appliances you have. Don’t get ahead of yourself with a 27-step main meal that you saw on MasterChef, keep it simple and it will turn out to be delicious.
Sometimes finger snacks on arrival serve you better than a starter because you and the guests can mingle. Or set out a lush harvest table of fruits, bread and cheese. Let your guests build their own plates and graze, this also means you don’t have to worry too much about dietary requirements because generally there is something for everyone.
If you’re serving dinner hot, then warm your plates to make it way easier to keep the food warm as you dish. Rope in a friend to help you plate everything. Serving everyone their plate at the same time is always a nice way to create a relaxed social meal, plus you can sit down and enjoy the moment.
If it’s an evening of drinking then don’t put too much emphasis on dessert. Coffee and a chocolate is usually enough. Even then you might not have many takers.
If you do go with a plated dessert then don’t be offended if the party winds down soon after, as the sweet ending usually sends everyone into a dozy food coma and ready for home, which isn’t always a bad thing when you’re a tired host.
Be Thoughtful in the Mix
Planning a party often starts with realizing you haven’t seen so and so in ages and you extend an invite to have them around to kick off a meet-up. Then you might suddenly recall another friend who you wanted to see, and then some lonely guy at work who you promised you would invite around. Before you know it you’re hosting a table of a motley crew of misfits and a staggered conversation that everyone wants to get away from. More on that next.
Consider the friends you invite. While it might be nice to extend an olive branch to an awkward guy at the office, it might be a stretch for them to meet a whole group of friends for a sit down evening. A casual drink after work is probably less threatening for them. In the same way if you know one friend tends to get really wasted and want to party, while others are less inclined and prefer rigorous discussions, then don’t pair them together for an evening of intimate dining.
Plan Your Seating
This might seem over the top, but a seating plan puts everyone at ease. Simple name cards at places are perfect to guide everyone where to sit. Not only does it let guests avoid the awkward where-to-sit-moment, and then shuffling up to fit a couple next to each other, and avoid two exes from being seated next to each other and all those avoidable hiccups. It also allows you to seat people together with like-interests and spark more pleasant and interesting conversations for your guests.
If you don’t you might be halfway through the meal when you realize by way of a screaming match, that two people seated next to each other have very vocal and opposite opinions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And that’s when things get awkward.
While we don’t shy away from the tough topics as Aluxers, there is a time and place for a heated debate, and addressing these issues with people you just met, can get fiery quickly and you might lose friends.
Great parties can just happen, but mostly they are well curated by the host, and that starts with the guest list.
Don’t Underestimate the Entertainment
If you’re going all out and hosting a big party, then some live entertainment can be a huge hit. We don’t mean live goldfish in vases; please don’t do that, it’s kitsch and they die.
If you were thinking of hiring a sound system and just playing some tunes off your phone, you might want to call around and see how much music entertainers actually cost. Most of them come with their own music system, so it isn’t such a major price difference to hire them instead.
Still consider the playlist you will put on after their shift ends, and check that they will wait until after the party to clear their gear. Music maketh the meal, or party, so don’t leave it as an afterthought. More on that later.
Know Thy Wine
If you plan on playing perfect host, you should brush up a little on your sommelier skills. We don’t expect you to be able to open a bottle of bubbly with a sword, but that’s really cool if you do.
Have a little read about the wine you are serving your guests. Or if it’s BYOB (bring your own booze) then a welcome cocktail or a nice night cap or something special you can introduce to your guests is a touch of class in a glass.
Ever wondered how costly a bottle of wine could be? Check out the Top 10 Most Expensive Bottles of Wine in the World.
Get Your Table Settings Straight
Having a great guest list, table plan and a delicious meal is all good, but to add perfection, the devil is in the details. Add absolute class by having the right cutlery and glassware on the table to serve your guests. This also means less jumping up and down to get a water glass, and a napkin and a side plate etc.
When you plan your meal, plan what dinnerware you need. Then hire, borrow, or buy it beforehand. A common mistake is forgetting you need two sets of cutlery for a starter and main meal. If your guests need to use the same pair for both, make sure they have a side plate to rest them on between courses.
If you’re serving wine or a specific drink try to have the right glassware, it’s easy enough to Google the right glass and then rent it locally. Some liquor stores offer free glass rental if you buy from them.
Dress Like the Host With the Most
The perfect host shouldn’t look frazzled and have gravy dripping down their shirt. Whatever you plan to do, make sure you give yourself enough time to get food and venue ready and to get yourself ready.
That means enough time to glam up for the occasion and have a minute of downtime to calm the nerves so that you can shine like the perfect host you are.
If you need some tips on always looking dapper as hell, check out our video: 15 Ways to Put Together A Proper Wardrobe.
If Music Be the Food of Love Play On!
Music is powerful and sets the tone. Don’t leave creating playlists to the last minute. Use your daily commute or waiting in line to start crafting the perfect play list, song by song. Decide what the soundtrack of your party sounds like. Is it jazz or classical music, modern pop or house? Do you want to rev up the night to end up dancing, or do you want to wind down to happy sighs and comfortable silence among close friends?
Whatever picture you have in your mind, have the music to match the perfect evening.
Paper or Fabric?
Napkin, serviette, napery, handkerchief, towelette, or doily. No matter what you call them, your party will need them. One thing is for sure, in the case of classy dining and napkins: always go fabric. The heavier the fabric the classier.
Reserve paper napkins for informal cocktail parties and backyard barbecues.
When you’re planning your menu and cocktails that require fruit of veg, always stay seasonal.
Unless you’re a sucker for a scavenger hunt across the city trying to find some obscure ingredient, it is better to stay with what you know is in season. This will also ensure you don’t pay obscene amounts for something that usually is cheap as chips.
When it comes to seasonal, also play to the strengths of the season. Don’t serve cold food in winter, keep it cosy with soups, roasts and baked pudding recipes. In summer, keep it light and fresh like salads, Gazpacho and homemade sorbet.
The best way to be the perfect host, is to be yourself. When your guests see you being relaxed and enjoying yourself, they will also be relaxed and comfortable to be themselves. This is what really leads to a great occasion with tons of laughter and plenty of fun.
So, equipped with this knowledge go out there Aluxers and be the perfect host, the host with the most, the hostess ninja you were born to be.
What is the worst host fail you have ever experienced?
What is the most stand out quality you appreciate in a host?