Monday, January 26, 2015

Hosting a House Party, Part Two: Food and Fun

Last week I mentioned that I'm hosting a house party soon. I decided to run a blog series on how to host a party, partly because I thought it would be interesting and helpful for someone else, but also partly because it would help me to be accountable!  If you missed it, you should go check out the first part:

Hosting a House Party, Part One: Deciding to go for It

Today we discuss what to do once you've decided to have a party. At my house, the first thing you do is panic! "What have I done!??!" Now I have sufficient motivation to get started on the rest of the list. 

First and foremost you have decide how this party is going to play out. You need to

Cover the 5 W's

When making a plan I like to cover the 5 W's: Who, What, Where, When, and Why
  • Who is coming to your party? Family? Friends? Co-workers? Kids? This makes a difference in the rest of the plans. I'll assume you don't serve wine and cheese at a 5-year old's birthday party or plan fun foam craft projects for your girl friends.
  • What kind of party is this? Kid's birthday party? Family get together? Girls' Night? Tupperware demo?
  • Where will the party be? You've got to think about how many people are coming and what you'll be doing. More space is always better when kids are involved. If you're having tea with a few close friends, your living room should suffice.
  • When is your party? What time of day? How long will is last? As a side note, I always like to be very clear when I tell people times that I also tell them about food. I've been to a 3:00 party that had a meal served and I wasn't expecting it. I've also been to a 12:30 party that only served cake, and my kids were hungry because I thought there would be food there.
  • Why are you having a get together? Is it a birthday? People should know whether presents are welcome or not. Is it a pool party? People might like to bring swimsuits. If it's a home show party people will want to be prepared to possibly spend money. In my opinion, it's always best to be up front with all those details so people know what to expect. Don't make the other person feel awkward in having to ask.

Plan food

When and where you plan to party will have some bearing on this. Not all parties require elaborate food, but again, it is nice to let your party-goers know what to expect. Once my brother and sister-in-law were late to a birthday party of mine because they'd stopped to get food. When they showed up, we were all eating lunch! 

The time of day plays a large role in what kinds of food you have. Generally, if your party is close to meal time, your guests will expect a meal. It doesn't have to be a sit down, plated meal, though. You can have a buffet or heavy hors d'oeuvres. Pizza and chips can be a suitable offering if that fits the style of your party. Try to take into consideration people's allergies or food preferences. If you know you've got a vegetarian coming, aim for a non-meat protein. If someone has peanut allergies, nix the PBJs and peanut butter cookies.

Potluck is also an option, but be sure to make that clear on the invitation. Potlucks are good for close friends or family, but they don't fit every situation.

How do you know how much food to make? That's a tough question! Honestly, I say a little prayer over my food and we've always had a "loaves and fishes" miracle. I plan for more than we'll need in the hopes that we'll have leftovers. This weekend, for example, I have a party on Saturday and then whatever is leftover will make for a nice Super Bowl party for our family.

Invite Guests

Again, invitations can be as fancy or informal as you want. Minted, Vista Print, Shutterfly, Zazzle and a whole host of other places will help you create printed invitations you can send through the mail. Of course, you can always call people on the phone or text them. I like a good old fashioned Facebook invitation myself! As a party-goer it reminds me that something is coming up and as a host, it's a fast way to get a head count.

For big events, it's good to invite people a month ahead of time. That gives out of town friends and family enough time to make travel arrangements. It's also customary to ask people to RSVP, but not everyone does. I'm sure you've all heard about the mom who invoiced a boy's family for not attending the birthday party they RSVPed to. I honestly side mostly with the family sending the invoice on this one. People need a head count for events and when you say you're coming, they count on you coming!

Whether or not you have people RSVP, though, you'll want to remind and check up on people about a week out. That's when you'd be making your final plans and purchasing food. 

Party, Party, Party!

It's time for your party and people are on their way over! Once you've got your food set out and decorations taken care of, it's time to put on your hostess hat and enjoy yourself. Things will likely not happen the way you expect them to. That's life! Just roll with it. If you have on your happy face, it is doubtful that people will notice that cobweb you just spotted in the corner or the burnt edges on your Quiche. For the love of Pete, don't go around pointing these things out to people!! Relax and enjoy! The hard work comes after everyone leaves and you've got cleanup to take care of!


  1. More great tips and truly come in handy for the big game this upcoming weekend for sure :)

  2. I'm hosting a party this weekend! Wondering if we're doing the same one. :)

  3. So true about the time and the food thing - nothing worse than thinking a 5:00-9:00 party will have dinner and finding out that it is just light snacks:)

  4. That story about the mom billing a family for not showing up at a birthday party is bizarre! Great tips Rabia!

  5. Being the hostess can be so stressful! Thanks for the great tips!

  6. Great tips. I don't think we've ever had a house party because I wouldn't enjoy it. We have friends over, but one family at a time ;)

  7. now if we could only host a party and actually have people show up as they say I'd be good ;) I hate party planning just for that one aspect. No one likes to show up when they say they will

  8. I'm planning on good leftovers for the Super Bowl!!

  9. This is a Premier Jewelry party to show off their spring collection. There are some really nice pieces!

  10. I felt so bad for my kids at that birthday party. They really wanted more than cake and chips, but that's all there was!

  11. It is crazy! I think it probably got blown way out of proportion on the internet, but, PHEW!, glad I wasn't involved!

  12. It can be stressful. I think lots of extra planning ahead of time helps me feel better about that. And when the party starts, I pull an Elsa and "let it go!"

  13. We don't even have friends over one at a time. Our biggest problem is that none of our friends live close enough to make it doable.

  14. Oh, that drives me crazy too! I hate wasting food, but I don't want to run out!

  15. Well you know how the Bowmans throw a party! It's been awhile, actually. Since the big summer birthday bash for Scarlet and Des.
    I wish we could invite you all to a party here!

  16. I'd totally come to a party at your estate!! We had to give up family parties at our house because we ran out of room. Although, with it as clean as it is now, we might try again. We don't have good outside space, though.


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