Tips to be a Great Party Hostess Featuring Lauren from Lauren Caselli Events

Tips to be a Great Party Hostess Featuring Lauren from Lauren Caselli Events

Y’all. I’d like you to meet Lauren. I met Lauren at The Yellow Conference back in August. She, Stephanie, and I were the three volunteers behind the Membership booth in the back of the room. From the moment I met Lauren, I knew she was awesome. She’s just one of those people that gets you excited to be somewhere and conversation feels real from the start. And then I found out that she’s an event planner, so pretty much it was destined that we were going to be friends.

After living in Brooklyn, Lauren decided to take a break from her crazy event planner life and led hiking trips with girls in Montana. Then she stuck around, and next thing she knew she was starting her own event business, Lauren Caselli Events, in a small town. (That I intend on inviting myself to sometime soon…)

So without further ado, it’s time to take some tips from a pro.

Tell us about your party-hosting style.

I’m Italian so party hosting has been in my blood for generations. My family members were immigrants, so they didn’t have lots of money to spend on throwing elaborate parties, but the biggest crime was if someone went hungry. Now, I always make sure we have extra of everything, including linens, chairs, and food. The joke in my family is that if you can’t feed an army AFTER everyone’s left, you’re doing it wrong.

Where did your love of party planning begin?

I think once I got my own apartment, I started really loving throwing my own gatherings. It felt unbelievable to open the door to my home, welcome in people that I loved, and make sure they were taken care of. I liked connecting people, and having a space in which to do that made it so much more wonderful.

What are your go-to appetizers?

Bruschetta. It goes on toast points, can be served on a rice cracker, or on a piece of lettuce and no one is offended that you didn’t honor their dietary restrictions. Alternately, I’ve never seen pigs in a blanket leftover, and even though they’re not a regular, EVERYONE loves them.

What are your go-to entrees?

Chicken french, which is a breaded Italian dish native to western New York (where I grew up). It’s the only complex dish I can make without measuring anything or a needing a recipe (or even needing a list when I go to the grocery store), so when I’m looking to impress someone, that’s what I make because it’s easy for me.

What are your go-to desserts?

Hah! My biggest secret is that I hate baking, but I love this chocolate budino from a neighborhood restaurant called “Blackbird Kitchen”. If it’s a small group, I’ll buy one for everyone to go. The caveat to this is chocolate/pumpkin pie, but I only like baking pies on Sundays during the fall, so they rarely make it as a dinner-party dessert.

What are your go-to beverages?

I love making old-fashioned’s because they’re easy to batch and serve. If I can’t batch it, I won’t make it for a party. Otherwise, I always put out red, white, and sparkling water and let people serve themselves.

What do you usually bring to a potluck?

Christmas salad, which is arugula, orzo pasta, cranberries, feta, slivered almonds, dressed in olive oil, vinegar, lemon, salt and pepper. You let it sit in the fridge for a few hours, mixing a few times before you pull it out to make sure the arugula and orzo soak up the dressing. People die over it, and it’s so inexpensive and beautiful.

Do you decorate for the festivities?

Since I got my own apartment, yes! But only for Christmas, because I love holiday decor (and holiday music). I always cut my own tree down (Montana! It’s legal here!) and drag it home, and then I usually make hot chocolate and decorate it. I don’t have family here where I live, so it’s a nice reminder of my traditions growing up when I’m alone in my apartment during the holidays.

Tell us about the best party you’ve ever hosted.

The best one I ever hosted was for my business and it was a networking event for female entrepreneurs called The Boss Lady Bash. Most networking events are stale and people leave early, but this one treats people to really fun details, there’s delicious food, wine, beer, and you’re pre-placed into groups with other women who you may not know. It takes some of the hurdle out of networking, and people seem to love it. (Plus, they die over the swag, which is my favorite part!)

boss-lady-bash-april-03 boss-lady-bash-april-06 boss-lady-bash-april-12

What’s your biggest hostess challenge?

Wanting to mingle, and making sure everything looks clean, presentable, and up to par. I like when my guests feel like they’re comfortable, so I don’t want them worrying about washing dishes, cleaning up after themselves, or feeling inconvenienced. That’s my idea of an awesome party for guests. But, since I want my house to look good, I’m constantly running around and cleaning, while also trying to mingle. It’s tough to do both.

What’s your best tip for someone who wants to be a great party hostess?

Understand that your guests’ comfort is important, and try to walk through your part from the perspective of the guest. When they walk in, is there a convenient place to hang their coat? If not, have someone taking coats and placing them in a bedroom (a great job for a partner!). Are the plates in a spot that makes sense? Is there enough glassware or plastic cups so people don’t have to hunt for glasses? Think about what people are going to need before they have to ask, so you can relax during the event (or if you’re me, run around and clean up after people).

I love this. Her best tip is probably the best tip I’ve ever heard and would never think to offer up. That’s exactly what hosting a party is all about. (Although I guess, as an event planner, she would totally know that.)

Don’t forget to check out Lauren’s website and blog where you’ll find great tips for planning events and networking.

To check out other hosts and hostesses of the month visit the links below:

Tips to be a Great Party Hostess featuring Chrystina NoelChrystina Noel Tips to be a Great Party Hostess featuring DebbieChrystina’s Mom Tips to be a Great Party Hostess featuring Jessica from Sweet Love and GingerSweet Love & Ginger
Tips to be a great party hostess featuring Beth from Recipe for SuccessRecipe for Success Tips to be a Great Party Hostess featuring Brigette from Brigette I Design
Brigette I Design
Tips to be a Great Party Host featuring Heidi from Parties for Pennies
Parties for Pennies
Tips to be a Great Party Hostess featuring Sarah from Pretty Providence
Pretty Providence
Tips to be a Great Party Host featuring Andy from Plum Deluxe via Chrystina Noel
Plum Deluxe
Tips to be a Great Party Hostess featuring Nida from Mommy 411
Mommy 411
Tips to be a Great Party Hostess Featuring Lauren from Lauren Caselli EventsLauren Caselli Events  

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  • Debbie DeSalvo

    What a great article about Lauren. I have know her since birth and am still friends with her mother for 53 years now!! So proud of Lauren and beautiful woman you have become.

    • Hi Debbie, thanks so much for stopping by! If you read other posts on this site I talk a lot about staying in touch with people in life, so I love that you’ve known Lauren’s mom for 53 years. Very cool. Also, yes, I totally knew from the moment I met Lauren that she was pretty awesome. Have a great rest of the week!

  • Lauren Caselli

    This series is so rad! Thanks for sharing…now I’m off to read the other ones (especially the one with your Mom. Cutest!)

    • I’m so glad you like it! And that you answered all the questions to be featured! Also. I have a friend who’s been reading my blog for 5 years and she totally says that interview with my mom is in the top posts yet. So enjoy!