How to Make a Guest List: Party Planning 101

Party Planning 101 - How to Create a Guest List via Chrystina Noel

Today we’re continuing the Party Planning 101 series with how to make a guest list. We started with how to choose a party theme and then worked our way to how to choose a venue. Once you have the party theme and venue, you already have a good idea of the type of people and amount of people that you’re going to be able to accommodate.

It may seem like a simple starting point, but there are enough things to consider when you make a guest list that this deserves a post of its own.

The first question you want to start by asking yourself is, “am I paying for each person or are they each paying their own way?” If you are paying, now is a good time to roughly look at your budget and see how many people you will be able to accommodate. Once you know this, you can figure out you’ll be able to answer the who and how many question for most parties. For example:

  • A spa party in your living room: you can probably accommodate 6-12 guests who like doing feminine things
  • A bowling party at the boutique bowling alley down the street: you will probably need to some back-of-the-napkin math to see how many people you can accomodate – and then invite people who like activities
  • A beer and cheese party in your living room: you can probably accommodate 8-15 guests who appreciate good beer and/or cheese
  • A soccer party at the park down the street: you can probably accommodate a large group of people, but ideally it will be however many people you need for each team plus a few substitutes that enjoy being active in their day-to-day life
  • A murder mystery party in your house: this number of attendees is derived based on the game you choose to play – and make sure that you invite people who will enjoy role playing for the evening
  • A nice dinner out at a restaurant: you will probably need to do some back-of-the-napkin math to see how many people you can accommodate – or if you’re not paying, choose a number of people that will easily be able to enjoy each other’s company – and then look to the foodies and good conversationalists in your life to fill the table
  • A make your own pizza party in your kitchen: the limiting factor for this party is probably how many pizzas you can fit in your oven at once to have everyone eat at a reasonably similar time – and of course, you can probably invite anybody to this party because who doesn’t like making your own pizza?

Once you have a general understanding of what direction you’re heading, you can start to finalize the guest list with the following steps.

Step 1: Write down everybody you would possibly invite.

This is the fun part where you can write down all possible attendees. Think about who you’ve seen in the past week, think about who you wish you’ve seen in the past few months. Go through your phone contacts and look through your recent Facebook messages. Check who your top emailed contacts are and look through the stack of business cards sitting in the corner of your desk. Make sure that you consider plus ones and children as well. Once you have a full list of people that could possibly attend, it’s much easier to figure out the best attendees for the party.

I always use an Excel spreadsheet and sort people into groups/columns of how I know them. This way I can make sure that everyone knows at least one other person at the party (or has something in common with them that they can talk about while they’re filling up their wine glasses). It also helps you to make sure that you don’t forget anybody in a general category.

Every time I’ve messed up the guest list for a party, it’s because I didn’t spend enough time writing down all the possible attendees. I’ve thought, “oh, I know who usually comes to my parties” and I’ve ended up leaving out some key folks that should have been invited. It’s always a bummer when that happens

Step 2: Narrow down the list.

Once you see the list of everybody you could possibly invite, you have a better look at the big picture. Some names may obvious come together. You may have been looking to introduce your co-worker who loves board games to your neighbor who has been looking for a new Scrabble buddy. Jon and Jamie might both currently be planning trips to France. The party may not really be female- or male-oriented. The party may not be suitable for children. Take a look at the list overall and decide what the best fit for your party is. Here are two tips when narrowing down the list:

  • I like to always make sure that there are a few people on my list that I know are okay talking to anybody. They’re super useful people to have around, especially if all of your guests don’t already know each other. Everybody on your list doesn’t need to know everybody else, but having a few of these connectors or having activities planned can totally ease that transition. More on that in months of Party 101 to come.
  • If you’re planning a party where you need a specific amount of attendees (a murder mystery party, a board game night where you want to play 7 Wonders at full capacity, etc) and/or you’re dishing out a lot of money per guest make sure that you invite people that you know are reliable. Everybody has those friends that you know tend to back out last minute, so a party where you are targeting a specific number of attendees or need to pay if somebody doesn’t show up is probably not the time to invite those folks.

You’ll notice that in the introduction to this blog post I said that we were trying to figure out how many people you could accommodate, not invite. That’s because unfortunately, not everybody is going to be able to come to your party. (A total bummer, I know.) If there are super specific people you want there, make sure to check in with them before choosing a date. Otherwise, you’re probably going to end up with a hodge podge of your invite list.

In my experience, as a 28-year-old living in a city, I have found that if I invite 40 people to a party one to two months out, 20 people (50%) with RSVP yes, and then around 12 (60% of those who said yes,  30% of those you invited) will show up the day of the party. Now, I wouldn’t use those statistics as a rule of thumb, you have to figure out what works in your own crew. I asked a friend who lives out in the suburbs whose friends hang out together quite often and she said that for a major event (like a 30th birthday party) she gets about an 80% turnout, whereas if it’s just a regular event she gets about a 50% turnout.

Start small, see if you can gauge roughly how many usually say yes, and you can build up from there.

Step 3: Finalize the guest list.

Take a look at whoever you’ve circled, starred, and highlighted on your original guest list. Make sure that you’ve allowed for people bringing plus ones and/or their kids to the party (if you so choose). And that’s it – you’re done.

Things you shouldn’t spend too much time worrying about.

  • Even though you’ve finalized the guest list, remember that it’s technically a rolling invite list – and not in that A-list, B-list kind of way. If you genuinely forgot somebody, you can always catch somebody in person or give somebody a call to say, “you know what, you should totally come to this party I’m having” without it being too awkward.

This is a good time to bring up tiered invites. And here’s the thing. I’m not even really sure they’re tiered. What I usually find is that I end up with a few small groups of people who already know each other and I can’t invite one without inviting everyone, so I may just not invite the whole group on Day 1. Sometimes I will send out the invites to the group who I think the party applies the most to, get a feeling on whether people will be able to join and then 1-2 days later send an invitation out to the second group. They’re not quite tiered, you just want to make sure that you have room for enough people so everyone knows somebody there. Does anybody have any thoughts on this? Since it’s a wedding and not a party, I say just host a second party for the second group.

  • The only instance I can think that it’s worth making the guest list before you choose the venue is a wedding. A wedding is an event where you want everybody there who can possibly be there to share your big day with all of the important people in your life. A random party at your house? Don’t put that much pressure on yourself. If you’re new to hosting parties start small, keep it simple, and don’t worry if you can’t invite all of your friend groups to the same party. One day you can either (a) work up to that, or (b) get yourself a bigger apartment so that they’ll all actually fit.
  • Don’t bother trying to get a solid ratio of males to females. Depending at what stage of your life you’re in, things are going to change. If there’s only one outlier, maybe consider not inviting them, but in general, it’s up to the attendees if they want to join in on the fun. (If you use an online invitation tool like Evite, others can even see who else has been invited so they can make their decision according to how they feel comfortable.)

Things you should spend some time thinking about.

  • If everybody you’re inviting to the party is in a couple, make sure you give the single friends an option to bring a plus one (a friend, a romantic partner, a co-worker, whatever).
  • Now’s the time to start gauging if there are any people who have specific diets. It probably shouldn’t affect the invite list, but just make a mental note for later.
  • If you have a really big group of friends and you’re worried about hurting people’s feelings, I would try to figure out if there’s a logical way to split the group. Whether that’s boys/girls, beer drinkers/wine drinkers, people who like to stay up late/people who get up early, I would find a very obvious split so that you have an answer if anybody asks. When I said this to Ben he said, “so you’re really just saying plan more than one party.” Yeah, I guess so…

I was recently asked if you actually need a guest list for your party. Technically, the answer is no. There’s no reason you actually have to do this step before inviting people. I’m just kind of scatterbrained and frazzled sometimes. (Like that time I made an entire party list and forgot to put my boyfriend at the time on the list.) So if you have a group of friends that are the only folks you would invite to a party, I still recommend writing it down, just keep the list of paper as your reference guide for when you send out the invitations. And here’s to all of you with way better memories than me.

Now you have your party theme, party venue, and guest list, so it’s time to start sending out the invitations. Stay tuned for next month’s Party Planning 101 post to find out what information you should be including on your party invitation.

PS. Following Party Invitations you will find posts on managing multiple groups of friends, entertaining your guests, setting up the space, planning the logistics, being a great hostess, and more. If there’s any questions you have, please let me know!

How to Choose a Party Venue: Party Planning 101

Party Planning 101 - How to Choose a Party Venue via Chrystina Noel

This year I will be doing a series about how to plan a party when you have no idea where to start. I’m super excited to share with all of you some of the tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way on my party planning adventure. We started last month with how to choose a party theme. Once you choose your party theme you have an overall idea of what the party will be. The next step is to choose a party venue. In many cases, there is an obvious choice (your house), but there are definitely other options to consider if that won’t work out.

Option 1: Your House

This is the most obvious option because you have the most control over it. You know the space, you have access to your own kitchen and refrigerator, and you don’t need to pack anything up ahead of time. Of course, if you’re worried that your place isn’t big enough, don’t have enough room for parking, or have a bunch of moving boxes sitting around, there are many other options at your disposal.

Option 2: A Friend’s House

If you have a friend or family member that has better accommodations than you that is either willing to co-host the party or let you take over their house for an evening, this is another option for the party location. The logistics of bringing in all of the things you need could get a little tricky, but it’s nothing that a last minute grocery store run can’t fix. Just make sure to sit down with the person whose house it is to ask to find out how they like to maintain their space to make sure that it stays clean and comfortable for the folks living there.

I did this once in high school, mostly because there was no way my parents were going to let me have a party with a band, so I hosted a party with everyone I knew at my friend Kristine’s house. Her parents were up for the adventure so I figured why not. Granted, the party ended with a rainstorm, drying band equipment with hair dryers, and a car crash at the end of the night (totally sober and completely by accident). So that was kind of a hot mess, other than how it ended it was a really great party. Just check the weather first and you’ll be fine.

Option 3:  An Outside Venue

You also always have the option of choosing an outside venue for your party. This can either be renting a hall, choosing an activity that comes with a venue, or finding a free location for people to meet up. It all depends on budget, level of effort you want to put in, and how much space you think you’ll need.

Rent a Hall

Renting a venue is definitely the most complicated option, only because you need to bring all of the things in yourself. That said, it definitely saves you some money, especially if you can find a venue where you can bring in all the food and drink yourself. You can rent a fireman’s hall, a warehouse, a barn, art gallery, or a church basement. You should be able to search on the venue websites to find more details, and if you can’t find anything you can always call.

Think about places you already inhabit on a regular basis, places where you are a regular are more likely to let you in to use the venue (possibly even for free). I tried this recently with my hair salon and had great success. (Yes, you can even choose a hair salon as a venue, any space that has the vibe you’re going for.)

Choose an Activity that comes with a Venue

This is the easiest, but most expensive option since you won’t need to bring anything with you, and may need to be considered as you are choosing your theme. There are so many venues that you can rent out that may come with pre-made party packages. Here’s a list of possible options sorted by type of activity:

  • Enjoy Some Food and Drink: The obvious choice for this category is to choose a restaurant to all meet up at (remember, some restaurants are more interactive than others – like the melting pot or a hibachi restaurant), you can keep it a little cheaper by choosing a coffee house, but you can also consider a cooking class (iron chef style, how to make pasta, sushi, etc), or do a private tasting (breweries, wineries, chocolate shops, and any specialty store).
  • Get Creative: There are so many businesses these days that offer creative classes, you can work with the owner to coordinate your own class that could consist of: hand-lettering, jewellery-making, pottery making, glass blowing, greeting card design, or more.
  • Get Active: If you’re sick of sitting around the house, choosing a venue that helps get you up and moving might be fun. You could find a dance studio (salsa, swing, pole, etc), rock climbing gym, laser tag studio, bowling alley, or mini golf course to invite your friends to.

Or you could even visit an arcade (which didn’t fit in any of the above categories). The options for choosing an outside venue are really endless. Think about where you like to hang out and what activities you do that you might like to invite a friend along to, and that will help you narrow down your list.

Find a Free Location

If your budget is tight, there’s always the option of finding a free location for your party as well. While you may need to think a little more creatively, it’s definitely possible to make it happen. You could meet up at a local park, the town library, or even a mall. For my 19th birthday my friends and I went to a mall, divided into 3 teams, and each got $15. We then had one hour to buy something that began with every letter of the alphabet. Not going to lie, it was a pretty fun challenge. And the venue was free, which was great.

Things to Consider

There are a number of questions you will want to consider when choosing an outside party venue. Here are just a few to get the ball rolling:

  • Can you bring in your own food? Do you need to use a specific caterer?
  • Can you bring your own alcohol? Will you need to hire a bartender?
  • How early can you get in to setup?
  • Is there a deposit or cleaning fee?
  • What is included in the cost per person? What if someone doesn’t show up?
  • What if there’s a snowstorm that day?
  • Where will people park? Is it easy to get to via public transit?

The key is to think about your guests and anticipate things they might need ahead of time. Actually, that’s pretty much the definition of party hosting right there: making your guests feel comfortable while they’re at your event. Hopefully this thought makes hosting a little more manageable!

What’s been your favorite place that you’ve hosted a party? Do you have a go-to location outside of your house? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

How To Choose a Party Theme: Party Planning 101

Party Planning 101 - How To Choose A Party Theme via Chrystina Noel

This year I will be doing a series about how to plan a party when you have no idea where to start. I’m super excited to share with all of you some of the tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way on my party planning adventure.

How to choose a party theme might seem like a strange place to start, but I think it’s the most important. Once you choose a party theme, the rest of the decision-making process becomes much simpler.

All parties have a theme, whether it’s “just because” or celebrating a specific holiday. If you choose to have a “just because” party, you may need to be more specific in choosing the feel, colors, or menu for your party. If you are celebrating a specific holiday, a simple Pinterest search will find you all of the things you need. Here are some ideas to choose a party theme that’s right for you:

Step 1: Choose a Basic Concept

Check the calendar

A calendar can give you great ideas for party themes. Each month has its own unique set of holidays, each with its own cause for celebration. For example:

  • New Year’s Eve
  • Chinese New Year
  • Groundhog’s Day
  • Valentine’s Day
  • Mardi Gras
  • Patrick’s Day
  • Earth Day
  • Easter
  • Fourth of July
  • Rosh Hashanah
  • Yom Kippur
  • Diwali
  • Halloween
  • Thanksgiving
  • Christmas

And if the major holidays aren’t your cup of tea, you can find plenty of smaller “fun” holidays to celebrate like: Pi Day (March 14), Geek Pride Day (May 25), International Talk Like a Pirate Day (September 19), or National Cupcake Day (December 15).

Think about things you love

This is probably my favorite way to choose a party theme. Things that I love include: chai, bubble tea, romantic comedies, greeting cards, Disney, singing, photography, and buffalo sauce. I assure you that each one of these things can easily be turned into a party theme (or at least menu item). For example:

  • Chai: I once hosted I “find the best chai” party.
  • Bubble Tea: I once hosted a bubble-themed baby shower and served bubble tea.
  • Romantic Comedies: I definitely have hosted at least one movie night in my day.
  • Greeting Cards: I’ve hosted parties at my house where people made Valentine’s Day cards or Christmas Cards for people they love.
  • Disney: I hosted a Disney movie marathon party for my 28th birthday where we watched Mulan and Aladdin back-to-back.
  • Singing: I’ve hosted many a caroling party during the holidays – and am still looking for enough people to host a vocal jazz reunion party form college
  • Photography: I’ve hosted events where I offered free headshots for people.
  • Buffalo sauce: I once had a beer tasting where I made buffalo chicken grilled cheese for everybody to make sure they avoided being completely plastered.

If there’s something you love, you should feel absolutely confident about turning it into a party, because there are definitely other people who love it too. Other things that have been on my radar for a while include: Hey Arnold, N64, cereal, nail polish, and PowerPoint. (Don’t ask.)

Consider being more abstract

There’s nothing to say that the theme of the party needs to be a physical, tangible thing. The theme of your party could be love. Or the color silver. Or your favorite song. Or photosynthesis. You really can pick anything as your basic idea.

Step 2: Brainstorm

You might think that brainstorming comes first, but really brainstorming comes second. Once you choose an idea, I recommend making a list of every possible thing that comes to mind about that topic. Google or Pinterest should be able to help you out here if you’re running into a problem.
Here are four examples I put together below:

  • The color purple: grapes, grape jelly, Barney, that book by Alice Walker, purple, eggplant, that big character from McDonalds – Grimace, Purple Rain, paint or draw with only purple, eat only purple food, wear only purple clothes
  • Recycling: environmentally friendly, planting, reusing materials, making outfits out of recycled materials, volunteering, farmers markets, gardening, clothing swap, book trade
  • Sock hop: 1950s music, jukeboxes, Buddy Holly, motown, poodle skirts, making poodle skirts, prom king and queen, Grease, the pink ladies, records, diners, red and white checkered things, malt shakes, trivia games, dance off, hula hoop competition, limbo to la bamba, make root beer floats, burgers and fries
  • Harry Potter: dress up like characters, turn your house into Hogwartz, Harry Potter trivia, watch a Harry Potter movie, act like your favorite Harry Potter character, play Quidditch, turn Harry Potter into a drinking game, have a book discussion

Once you have a bigger list of ideas related to the basic concept, you can choose just one specific theme where you want to spend your time, energy, and money.

Step 3: Reality check

Unfortunately it can’t all be fun and games, we need to start factoring in reality. You don’t need a full idea of what you’re going to do for the party yet, but you want to make sure that you think about approximately how much time, energy, and money you’re going to be spending. And remember not to get discouraged, you can always find a way to make an idea less complicated early in the game or add a little extra fun to a simple idea to pizzazz it up. For example:


Idea Start Small Add Some Pizzazz
Host an Epcot drink-around-the-world party with stations for each country. Host a tasting of a few of your favorite beers. Choose a few beers from different countries.
Host a prom-themed birthday party at an outside venue. Invite friends over to hang out in dresses and dance to music. Only play songs from the 80s.
Host a Murder Mystery Party. Play a game of Clue. Make it a drinking game.
Host a three-course meal. Host a potluck and have everybody make one of the dishes. Drink champagne.
Host a wine tasting. Pair one wine with two different cheeses. Play jazz music in the background for ambiance.

As mentioned before, there are three things you need to consider: time, energy, and money. Here is a closer look at things you should be considering when thinking about your party theme:


How much time do you have to plan the party? If it’s only a few days, you probably want to stick to something simple. If you have a few weeks and the help of a few friends, you can choose something a little more complicated. We will talk more about this later on in the New Hostess series.


While this is a similar discussion to ‘time,’ it’s slightly different because energy takes your mental brain capacity into play. If you’re someone who is already over-committed – or just even somebody with very little patience in general (like myself), you’re probably going to want to choose a relatively simple concept.


This is the biggest one. Your biggest costs are going to be venue, food, and drinks. So, if in your brainstorming you are able to keep those costs down, you will be well on your way to planning a budget-friendly party. Yet again, we will talk more about this later on in the New Hostess series.


If you’re looking for a place to start, you can check out some of the previous parties I have hosted over the years.

My 28th Disney-Themed Birthday Party via Chrystina Noel
Hosting a 22-Ounce Beer Party via Chrystina Noel

That’s the basic 101 of how to choose a party theme. I’d love to hear what party themes you’re considering right now. Let me know in the comments below – or I can help you brainstorm. I’m always down for that.

11 Best Tips to be a Great Party Hostess

This past year on the blog I had a monthly “Tips to be a Great Party Host” series. Each month I interviewed somebody in my life or internet that I admire for being an excellent part host or hostess. Each month they answered questions about their party hosting style, why they love party planning, their go-to recipes & dishes, whether or not they decorate, the best party they ever hosted, their biggest party challenge, and my favorite question: what’s your best tip for someone who wants to be a great party host(ess)?

As we go into the New Year, if party hosting is something that you’ve thought about trying, but didn’t know where to start, here are the best tips from some of the best.

Tip from Chrystina at Chrystina Noel

Chrystina blogs at Chrystina Noel (right here!) about hosting parties, handmade greeting cards and how to stay in touch. The best party I’ve ever hosted was my 25th birthday party boozy brunch. You can check out my complete set of hostess tips and tricks here. My best party tip for those who want to be a great host is:

Give everybody all the details ahead of time. Tell them the who, where, why, when, what, but also make sure to include logistical things that will make it easier for them. Should they eat before they get there? Should they bring anything? Can they bring a plus one? Is there a theme? Is there a dress code? Where should they park? Are there any tricks to finding your street? The more details you can give someone ahead of time the more comfortable they will feel when they walk in the door.


Tip from Chrystina’s Mom

This is my mom. I’ve been telling her that she should start a blog for a long time, but she’s just not biting. The best party she’s ever hosted was a fathers’ day luncheon where there were a honey tasting. You can read her complete set of hostess tips and tricks here. Her best party tip for those who want to be a great host is:

Relax and enjoy the moment – that’s the reason you are entertaining in the first place.

Chrystina’s Mom

Tip from Jessica at Sweet Love & Ginger

This is Jessica, she blogs at Sweet Love and Ginger. She’s an engineer living in the great northeast with her husband, Chuck, and their dog, Brody. She’s all about real, good food and good times with awesome people. She says that every party is the best party so long as there are happy people, food, and music. You can read her complete set of hostess tips and tricks here. Her best party tip for those who want to be a great host is:

Just start. Don’t think too much. Just invite people over and keep it simple, or invite your closest friend and try something crazy. The only way to overcome the fear and figure out what works is to start doing it.

Tip from Beth at Recipes for Success

This is Beth. I sang in church choir with Beth for a long time, and man, she throws wonderful parties. She blogs at Recipes for Success about maintaining a healthy lifestyle for herself and her family. The best party she’s ever hosted was her wedding (and believe me, it was damn good). You can read her complete set of hostess tips and tricks here. Her best party tip for those who want to be a great host is:

Do everything in your power to give yourself a chance to enjoy the party too. Yes, hosting a party is a lot of work but if you do some prepping in advance and plan your day right, you don’t have to spend the entire day in the kitchen while everyone else is having fun in the living room.

Tip from Brigette at Brigette I. Design

Meet Brigette! She is a graphic designer specializing in logo/identity and non-profit graphic design. (She also just won a board game creation competition which is just cool.) The best party she’s ever hosted is her annual New Year’s Eve soiree, complete with folks dressing to the nines, New Years resolution sheets, and a classic silver/gold/black and stars motif. You can read her complete set of hostess tips and tricks here. Her best party tip for those who want to be a great host is:

Don’t be afraid to go big with your ideas, but also try to keep it simple when possible – party planning should be fun!

Tip from Heidi at Parties for Pennies

Heidi blogs are Parties for Pennies. She adores entertaining, champagne, and watermelon bubblegum. I love the way that she breaks down even the most elaborate parties into pieces that feel do-able for someone who hasn’t done it before. The best party she ever hosted was a Mad Men themed 40th birthday party for her husband. You can read her complete set of hostess tips and tricks here. Her best party tip for those who want to be a great host is:

Have fun with the decorations and food, but remember to keep the focus on your guests! The best hostess, in my book, is one where guests leave saying, “I felt so special and loved.”

Tip from Sarah at Pretty Providence

Meet Sarah! She is one-half of the duo that runs the blog, Pretty Providence. It’s a frugal lifestyle blog where she and her best friend Jessica share cheap and easy recipes, crafts, home decor DIYs, thrifty tips, and afforadable fashion. The best party she ever hosted was her nephew’s Star Wars birthday party. You can read her complete set of hostess tips and tricks here. Her best party tip for those who want to be a great host is:

Collect white serving dishes, they go with everything! You can find great ones at thrift stores, keep your eyes peeled.

Tip from Andy at Plum Deluxe

This is Andy. He is the founder & creator of Plum Deluxe, which is a place on the internet (and in real life) that combines delicious tea and moments that matter. It comes with a subscription service, a motivational podcast, and a weekly newsletter. He does it all. The best party he’s ever hosted was a dinner party brunch complete with a bloody mary bar and homemade biscuits. You can read his complete set of host tips and tricks here. His best party tip for those who want to be a great host is:

People don’t care about how clean your house is. They care about being heard, connecting with like-minded people. So make time to listen. Have some thoughtful conversation starters. Connect people. Worry more about deep connection than dust bunnies.

Tip from Nida at Mommy 411

This is Nida. She blogs at Mommy 411 about motherhood, family life, and party tips. The past few times I’ve visited Georgia was to attend the fantastic first birthday parties of her adorable children. So much fun. She says that these two birthday parties were the two best parties she has ever hosted. (And I have the proof for it right here and here.) You can read her complete set of hostess tips and tricks here. Her best party tip for those who want to be a great host is:

PLAN PLAN PLAN. From ribbons to centerpieces everything requires details. And in my opinion, details is what makes a party fabulous. Go the extra mile and do the effort; results will show on there own. Hosting a great party requires a lot of hard work, so make sure you work days/weeks ahead of time.

Tip from Lauren at Lauren Caselli Events

Meet Lauren! I met her at The Yellow Conference in Los Angeles this year. She is the owner of Lauren Caselli Events. She believes that live events have unparalleled power, and I have to say that I totally agree with her (and that’s why she’s a wonderful hostess). The best party she’s ever hosted was a networking event for female entrepreneurs called The Boss Lady Bash. You can read her complete set of hostess tips and tricks here. Her best party tip for those who want to be a great host is:

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).

Tip from Johanna

And finally. Last, but never least, Johanna. Johanna and I have been friends for over 10 years now. Through that time I have been to countless parties, and I’m still always impressed by exactly how much she is able to pull off, and how much she has it down to a science. The best party she’s ever hosted was her husband’s 30th birthday, which was an around the world Epcot tour right in her own house. You can read about that party and her complete set of hostess tips and tricks here. Her best party tip for those who want to be a great host is:

Cover the big things first then worry about the smaller things. Only you will know if something that you had planned didn’t come to fruition by party time. Don’t forget to have fun! It’s easy to get too wrapped up in the details.

– Johanna


And that’s it. 11 great tips for you to consider in your journey towards becoming the best host or hostess you can be.

I’m super excited to share next year’s hostess series with you all. A lot of times I feel like I’m writing to people who already love to host parties, but I want to make sure to include some of the tips and tricks for people who are looking to start hosting parties and don’t know where to begin. I have a list of a few questions to answer so far, but if you can think of any additional ones, please let me know in the comments below.