Tips and Tricks for Being the Hostess with the “Mostess”

Hosting guest is always a fun way to unwind from the busy week. There is something satisfying about giving your friends and family an extra special visit at the place you call home, and as any party planner knows, you need to be prepared to be a successful host. If this is your first-time having guests over, it is important to know your limits. Do not invite more than you or your house can handle at first. Your goal is to make your guest feel at home and never have to ask for anything. With great hosting skills and etiquette, your company will feel welcomed and invited into your atmosphere; however, you still should have plans for entertainment. Here are the top ways to entertain your guests and become the hostess with the “mostess”:

Food and Drink

Everybody loves food; therefore, having a dinner party can be a great idea for first-time hostesses. You have time to socialize before and after eating. You can also prepare drinks to keep the entertainment going throughout the night. Just make sure that all your guests are accounted for and served throughout the evening. You may also want to have different options available. Food allergies and intolerances are becoming more common, so check with your guests beforehand to make sure your food options will suffice.


Movies are great as well for entertaining guests. They can help keep everyone entertained for a couple of hours. Try to find a genre of movie everyone agrees will work. This comes down to knowing your guest beforehand. You may not want to do a movie if you have a very diverse crowd with different movie preferences. That being said, comedies are always crowd-pleasers. It can be beneficial to watch the movie beforehand to make sure it will be a hit.

Board Games

Board games are very interactive; they allow people to socialize while adding some fun competition. Have several board games available so you can find one that everyone will enjoy. Team board games are great ways to let individuals not feel out of the loop. Try to introduce everyone at the beginning of the night to make sure no one feels excluded or awkward.

Remember not to force anything. If you notice a guest feels hesitant or uncomfortable participating in activities you have planned, you should be adaptable. It is good to have several suggestions and work with the group. You are the host so your suggestions will be very important. You may even want to inform your guest of activities prior to the invite — this way your company knows what to expect.

If your company consists of different age groups, consider tailoring different activities for them. You may want to check-in on all groups throughout the night, and consider making kids games or other areas of entertainment for all ages.

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Host a Movie Party

media room 2Just because the holidays are over, that doesn’t mean that you can’t host a fun party. Consider one built around a movie theme, with the film showing as part of the event. Here are a few suggestions to make the evening special.

Choose an iconic film to set the tone. “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” is a great film for a girl’s night in. “Field of Dreams” might be fun to bring in the baseball season. Or for your sci-fi fans, consider a “Star Wars” marathon. Or you could feature an evening of award-winning short films. Think about the tastes and interests of your friends when choosing the film or films you will be showing.

270Match the theme with your snacks and décor. Popcorn is a must, but how about a selection of junior-size candy bars to reflect the movie snack scene? Or you could choose appetizers to match your film, such as serving 1950’s appetizers for “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” with a tablecloth in Tiffany blue. Of course, movie nights would be extra fun in a room such as this media room from the Fulton model at Legacy.

Plan before-and-after moments. Hand out index cards so that people can jot down their favorite quotes or scenes to talk about after the film. Pre-screen any additional interviews or information provided on the film from the DVD or online, and share the ones that are the most interesting.

media room 3Remember to provide plenty of seating. You may want to bring comfortable chairs into your viewing area, and maybe some floor pillows for those people who like to lounge during a movie.

With just a little planning, you can create an unusual and fun evening for friends and add a spark to the after-holiday season. And who knows? You may want to make movie night a regular event!


Planning a Special Party for your Friends

11791624_MLAnyone who throws a party wants it to be special and memorable. In those few minutes before the guests arrive, most people worry about a party’s potential for success. Here are a few suggestions to help ensure that everyone, including the host and/or hostess, has a good time.

Mix it up: Don’t hesitate to invite a mix of different people to your party. Friends from work, neighbors, single, married, young and old can all find enough in common to enjoy each other during a party. Inviting a variety of people helps create interesting conversations and keep your party lively.

Plan for groupings: Use small tables, appetizers, chairs and lighting to create different spaces for people to congregate. Some may feel comfortable chatting with one or two people while others gather in a group of six to eight or more. If your seating arrangements are versatile, people will develop their own conversational groups.

Watch for wallflowers: If someone is feeling shy, it’s up to you to bring them into the group. Start with a one-on-one conversation then introduce them to someone else who is friendly and approachable.

Time the appetizers: If everything is out at the start of the party, some things will run out quickly while others may get inappropriately cold or hot. On the other hand, if you find yourself spending the entire party in the kitchen with last-minute food prep, you won’t be able to enjoy your own party. Plan and prep all the appetizers before the guests arrive, but pace the food so that it comes out fresh throughout the party. If there is a special event such as a birthday, plan the cake and singing for the middle of the evening when the most people will be there.

Let people help: Some people would rather hang in the kitchen fixing drinks or food rather than mingle with the others. Plan some simple jobs for people who want to pitch in.

Remember that everyone comes to a party planning to have a good time. Your job is to set the stage and let your guests relax and enjoy themselves. And make sure you have fun too!

Planning a special children’s party

5760630_SYou don’t have to spend a fortune to organize a special party for children. Planning and creativity can make any party something to remember. Here are a few suggestions:

Choose a theme: Current children’s movies often offer a full selection of paper products such as plates, cups and centerpieces, but don’t limit yourself to these options. For example, a “Toy Story” theme could feature actual character dolls – smaller ones to decorate a cake, and larger ones to serve as a centerpiece.

Plan activities: To keep the energy going, set up a series of games and activities. Here in the Southwest, a piñata provides a great way to get every child involved. Be sure to make it harder to hit the piñata at first, so that every child has a chance to take a hit. Other games could include relay races and, for older children, a treasure hunt. You may want to mix active games with quieter ones. Be prepared to explain the rules and process for each activity, and encourage your little host or hostess to give everyone the opportunity to play.

Stick with finger foods: Pizza fingers are easier to manage than full slices, and sandwiches are tidier than fried chicken. Offer a variety of kid-friendly options. For dessert, consider cupcakes or cookies.

Plan for parents: If you are inviting the parents to stay have an assortment of drinks and appetizers ready for them. You may want to encourage them to bring cameras to document the party, with photos that can be shared later. Clearly define a time for the party to end, for the benefit of parents who drop their child off at your home.

Prizes for everyone: Children who aren’t as good at games should leave with prizes and treats also. Goody bags filled with small packages of candy and an assortment of inexpensive toys are a nice way to wrap up the day.

Above all, remember that children may come prepared to have fun, but could still be shy and unsure in a social setting. Pay attention to the wallflowers and encourage them to get involved in the games and play. With this approach and your careful planning, everyone will have a terrific time!