Monday, 27 June 2016

I'm the (voluntary) social committee chair in my friend circle because I love, love love to plan things! My husband has suggested that I quit my jobs and take up party planning because it plays really well to strengths. So believe me when I tell you that entertaining at home is by far my favourite way to get to see my friends because it's cheaper than going out for dinner/drinks and you aren't restricted to the time constraints that you can sometimes get at restaurants/bars. I've invited my friends over for diner parties, drinks, BBQs, games nights, wedding prep parties - the whole lot so I've now learnt the three main things that equate to hosting a great night in! Having people over can be a lot of hard work (read: lots of effort and dealing with people's personalities) and if you don't manage it accordingly the night could end up being a complete nightmare for both you and your guests. So here are my 3 tips to hosting a perfect night in

#1 Food

This can hands down be the hardest part of planning a get together because depending on your friends you might be dealing with various food requirements and if you aren't careful you could spend hours cooking and prepping so the key is to keep it simple. By keep it simple I do not mean there should be a lack of variety - have variety but don't throw in everything and the kitchen sink! It's not necessary to cook either, that will depend on the type of party you're having and sometimes by the time of day i.e do not invite people for brunch and serve crips. Over the weekend I had friends over  for a cheese and wine night and limited it to 4 cheeses, fruit (read: 2 options), nuts, crackers, salmon (some of my friends are vegetarians, some don't eat pork) and mint m&ms. I could've gone overboard but it's really not necessary from my experience. You are better off giving people a few good quality options (read: no one wants to eat crap at someone else's house) rather than bombarding them with too many options. Also....wastage.

#2 Drinks

 I try to buy all the drinks (read: white wine) that I know most of my friends like but it's perfectly acceptable to host a BYOB party (read: so long as people know or drinks will run out) and most people don't mind bringing a bottle of wine  or whatever they like because it costs less than having to go out for drinks or dinner. My husband has to always tell me to dial down when we are stocking up for having people over because I'm notoriously known for not wanting my guests to ever have an empty glass because what kind of host would I be if people left sober? Drinking theory (lessons learnt from planning a wedding) is that people average 2 drinks an hour for the first hour they start drinking and then 1 drink an hour after that -so you can use that as a gauge if you're going to buy drinks for everyone.

#3 Atmosphere

This can make or break your party! I've been invited places where I had to leave after a point because I would probably have much more fun at home, alone. You know, those parties where everyone is just on their phones or talking to there best friends and no one is really making effort to talk to start any stimulating conversations? As a host it is your role to create an atmosphere were people can feel really comfortable and relaxed to talk freely and have fun. I always try to link stories and people during conversation and in that way people who might naturally be friends but have things in common can talk and join in the conversation. Also, part of having a good atmosphere is aesthetics, I'm a very visual person and I can be put off so easily by things that don't look well put together or clean (I'm petty like that) so even if its something simple like flowers or how you layout the room so people can move around better - it's worth the added effort to create the right ambiance. 

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