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13 Things Most Hostesses Forget

Updated: Apr 22

In the hustle and bustle of last-minute preparations before an event it is easy to forget the small things that make a big difference. Here is a list of 13 actions to take before guests arrive to ensure your party will be a hit!

1. Lower Your AC

As soon as you wake up on the day of your party, turn your AC down low. This tip may be more for my southern friends, but if you are hosting a party on a day the weather is warm, this step is a must. I have attended too many events where the hostess forgot this until an hour before the gathering. This is not enough time to cool down a house. Once those warm bodies are in a room, you will not get the temperature to drop to a comfortable level. The area will heat up as guests arrive, so I cannot overstate the importance of this one small action. Along those same lines, close all curtains to manage the heat and keep them closed until minutes before guests arrive. If it is an exceptionally hot day, I keep drapes closed throughout the party. It is better for people to be comfortable than to meet your own desire of having window coverings open. They will not remember if the blinds were drawn. They will remember if they sweat through their shirt!

2. Double Check Bathroom Essentials

Check the powder room. Is the trash empty? Is the toilet clean? Are the hand towels out? Is there extra toilet paper? Do you have plenty of hand cleaner? I prefer liquid soap in a hand pump bottle.

3. Ice

ICE! I always forget this. Do you have plenty? Purchase a couple of bags and keep them in a cooler in the garage if you think you might run low.

4. Light the Candles

Light all candles. Too many times I have sat down to a table at one of my own dinner parties to realize I forgot to light the candles…again! About 30 minutes before guests arrive light candles around the house so the scent will fill the air. Light candles on the dining table about 5 minutes before you sit down. (If it is winter, do not forget the fireplace!)

5. Turn on the Music

Turn on the music. This is one of the 5 senses you do not want to forget. I have several playlists for different party themes. Creating my own personal list takes the stress out of finding that “perfect” grouping. Set aside time a week before your event to pull together your inventory of favorites. I will send you a list of my personal Spotify choices in a later post.

6. Set the Mood

Set the mood of your home. I turn every lamp or sconce on, but my overhead lights remain off or are dimmed. The key with lighting is to create an ambiance. Keeping overhead lights off also helps with heat control!

7. Chill the Wine

Make sure the wine is chilled and ready to go. This usually tops the list as an item people forget. White wine is chilled and red wine is served room temperature, but this means a room that is approximately 60-68 degrees. If your normal room temperature is above this, place the red wine in the refrigerator. Use your judgment on length of time.

8. A Place for Trash

If it is a “help yourself” party, have plenty of trash bags available so guests can clean up after themselves.

9. Capture the Moment

Assign a friend to be the official photographer to capture the evening. You will not have time!

10. Designate the Drop Zone

Do you have a designated place for purses, coats, and umbrellas? If you do not have a closet, use a spare room or a nearby chair and basket.

11. Name Tags

Name tags! This will depend on the type of event. If it is a business gathering for an organization, I always use name tags. I even provide name tags for our bible study parties. Remember to set out pens and put out a small bowl for people to put the trash from the nametag.

12. Plan for Spills

Be prepared for red wine spills. Remember white wine neutralizes red, so if someone spills red on the rug, do not fear! Pour a little white wine over the red and it will draw out the color.

13. Place the Sendoff

Everyone loves receiving a little something to remember the night, so remember to set the party favors by the door.

A Bonus Tip: I want to make one comment about delegating. I find that my parties are less stressful when I have helping hands. There are many jobs you can give to others. Depending on the size of my party, I enlist the help of family members, or I hire a couple of high school students to work for the evening. If a caterer has been engaged, then they can handle your delegated tasks. Items I delegate: lighting candles at a designated time; greeting guests at the door; taking purses and coats; setting party favors by the door; taking photos throughout the evening; accepting the hostess gift; retrieving items for guests when they leave. For every item you have listed on your party action list, ask yourself, “Can someone else do this for me?” If so, give it away!

Together with you,

Lisa Lou


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