Planning a party can be fun, but do you know the best way to ensure everything runs smoothly? Have a rehearsal for your party. Yes, you heard correctly. You have spent a great deal of time planning your theme, creating your guestlist, and delivering your invitations. Now is the time to do a mock rehearsal which will allow you to create an action list of outstanding items around your home that might need attention. It also helps solidify any last-minute details. If time allows, I recommend doing this as soon as you know you are hosting an event, and again the week of your party. This gives you time to make necessary adjustments in advance as well as catch last minute items the week of.
When I do a rehearsal for my parties, I pretend I am a guest that is just arriving to my home. Walk up to your front door, ring the doorbell, walk inside, hang up your coat, etc. Be detailed in this process. Doing a walk-through for your event is no different than a rehearsal for a wedding. You will not catch everything that needs attention unless you physically go through this exercise.
The other day I performed these steps for an upcoming gathering in my home. What happened? I realized how dirty the doorbell looked. I noticed one of the porch lights was burned out. The time of year I was hosting increased the odds for rain, so during my rehearsal I pretended I was a guest arriving with my umbrella in hand. I suddenly realized I had no place to store wet items. I remedied this by placing a lined basket by the front door. There will inevitably be things you miss, but if you perform this exercise, you will be surprised how much you catch, and it will give you confidence on the day of your event knowing you were thorough.
As you create an action list of items that need to be corrected or repaired, make notes of things you need to plan or execute during your party. Will you have decorations? What will the menu be? Will you have any type of entertainment? Write down everything as you do your rehearsal.
Things to ask yorself:
1. Where will my guests park?
2. Is there a place for them to hang their coats and put their purse?
3. Upon arriving at the party, who will be stationed at the door to greet them?
4. Once inside, will a server be there to hand them a drink, or will I have a bar set up?
5. Will hors d’oeuvres be passed around or will there be a designated station for food?
6. How long will cocktails last and what time will I serve dinner (if it is a dinner party)?
7. Do I want decorations or just a few floral arrangements?
8. What type of music will play in the background?
Do not let the work involved in entertaining take the joy out of showing hospitality. If you get to the point you yell at your family before every event because you are stressed, you need to take a step back and ask yourself, “Why am I hosting this party? Where is this pressure coming from?”
Maybe you had visions of creating the 5-star dish you saw in a cookbook you purchased, but the reality hit you do not have the expertise to pull it off. If so, let the dish go. Find something easier you are comfortable making. Your friends, and your family, will have a better experience if you do not spend the entire party in an anxious state. When a hostess acts uptight, it makes her guests feel they have become a burden. If we dump our negative feelings onto those we invite into our home, we have done the opposite of what we intended. We are no longer displaying hospitality. We are displaying bad manners.
I used to stress over parties to the point my husband told me the entire family wanted to check into a hotel the night before our events, just to get away from me! I had to do a reality check and change my focus, because I had let entertaining override my desire for hospitality. We are to behave with excellence, but excellence is different than perfection. No one achieves perfection. Once I give my best, I need to let it go and enjoy what life gives me. Learn to entertain with confidence by being organized, having a plan, and simplifying your events. When you do this, you will be able to focus on what is important, and that is hospitality!
Together with you,