How to Enjoy Hosting Parties: 7 Tips to Stress Less

Most of us can relate. Our lives are over-scheduled, over committed, and non stop. Especially folks with young kids or anyone working a full time job. Life is so full. Birthdays and other life events come back every year whether we like it or not. If you're the lucky one expected to be responsible for throwing the party, it can be overwhelming and stressful to anyone that doesn't have a natural knack for it or lots of experience.




I, myself, have had years of experience not only hosting events, but working in the event industry as a caterer and event coordinator and I want to share some of what I learned that has proved helpful in keeping anxiety levels low. If you are a party-hosting pro or not, creative or not, doesn't matter..read on. Here are my Top 7 Tips to party sanity:


1. Plan Ahead


I cannot stress this enough. This is my #1 best tip, so if you take just one thing from this article, let it be this. The best part of planning ahead (and I'm talking 2-4 weeks here), is that it breaks up the planning into little pieces that are stretched out over time. This way it doesn't take a noticeable chunk out of your day or evening. You can relax and focus on party ideas at your leisure. It also gives wiggle room for any changes, adjustments, backup plans, new found inspiration, etc.

I see it happen to my friends ALL the time. They know their kid’s birthday is coming up, (hint hint..it's the same time every year, remember?) but they wait until the few days before like a chicken with their head cut off to get everything they need done. It consumes hours in their day instead of 30 minutes here and there, if they just started earlier. (FYI: Party supplies don't really "go bad" or “expire” quickly...so just order the stuff and let it be there for you when you are ready for it. Scrambling at the last minute can also lead to lack luster party vibes that can be a real bummer. By party day all you want is for it to be over already...and that's no fun either. So put a notification in your calendar a few weeks out from your next hosted get together and put the planning on your radar. As Nike would say, “Just Do It!”


2. Make the Time



It doesn't need to be time consuming. 10-30 minutes, 2-3 days a week should do it if you start planning your party early. I like to use the time that my kids are settled upstairs, before the hubs and I watch our nightly new binge-worthy show, to do some online shopping, get ideas, make the guest list or email a venue if the party is elsewhere. Maybe the mornings work better for you right after the kids go to school. Whatever works and is the absolute easiest in your schedule. The beauty of planning ahead is there's so much flexibility to fit in time and it can be done at any hour of the day. This goes hand in hand with Tip #1. People say to me ALL the time, "How do you do so much? Don't you sleep?" The answer is yes! But if there is a celebration I know that's looming near, I make time early so people don't even really know when I had this magic time to work on it and get it all done. HA! Clever, huh? After all these years of making my life easier hosting parties, I began to actually enjoy making the time and it started making parties so much easier for me that I really looked forward to the next one! (As you can see, I kinda enjoyed it so much I went and made a career out of it ;))


3. Find Inspiration


Easier said then done, right? Seriously though...issues are bound to come up from time to time when hosting a party. The most important thing is to keep your cool and have a positive attitude. This has saved me countless times when I ran my catering business and when I host parties at home. You know how much stressing helps?? ZERO. ZIP. ZILCH. It clouds your mind and doesn't help solve a darn thing. It has taken some practice, but I have taught myself to stay calm, relaxed amid any chaos and I find it much easier to deal with or resolve things that way because I'm focused and thinking more clearly and constructively. In most cases, things that go "wrong" at a party, chances are your guests have no clue unless you bring it to their attention. So don't bother unless it's for safety or other important reason. Don't point out the decoration flaws unless you are going to have a laugh about it. I remember I was throwing a birthday party for my husband. It was an 80's Arcade theme party and I made a Pacman game cake that looked awesome! I baked a marble cake that I've made before so I knew was delicious. When it came time to serve the cake, it was sooooo dry. The texture was wrong. It was inedible in my opinion. To this day, I do not know what happened! I was absolutely mortified. But ya know what? I tried to handle it with grace and dignity and do as much damage control as possible and not let it ruin the experience of the party. I luckily had some leftover dessert things around the house that I whipped up to give to people as we joked about what happened. Everyone had some good laughs and the party went on and it was a BLAST! The memories we took from that party was all the fun games we played and the festive spirit everyone was in. Ultimately problems are either in your control or out of your control (like wind or something arrived damaged, etc) If they are IN your control, be a problem solver, not a whiner. Suck it up, buttercup (some tough love for ya there). Try your best to fix and move on. And if it's OUT of your control, its a serious waste of energy to be upset and let it ruin your day. Guests also don't need a stressed out party host. It's not fair to anyone. Damage control the best you can, but keep the positive spirits flowing! As long as the ultimate goal remains the same (people are having a good time), it was a success! Be proud of yourself! Hey, some times the parties with the biggest disasters are the most memorable to look back on!


4. Be a List Maker!



This is another winning tip. Make lists! Check lists make EVERYTHING easier. I am a very forgetful person (makes my husband very frustrated sometimes) yet I won't miss a beat throwing a huge 200 person bash because I learned to be organized. Lists for guests, lists for food menu, if you are doing the food yourself (which I usually do) make a prep list, make a To-DO of what to do on the day of the party and if there's a lot to do, include the days leading up to the party. Include even the little details. The more you include in a list, the easier it will make EVERYTHING. The less your brain has to try to remember when your setting up or guests are arriving, the better.

Many, many times I have been hosting a large event and my head would be all over the place, but because I had a list to reference, it brought me back to a focused and relaxed space. Sometimes its the small, simple events that can be the most stressful, so I make my lists for any size party (even holidays now too!) SOOO grateful for my list making neuroses. ;) Lifesaver. Trust me.


5. Have a Back-up Plan



This is a quick one, but can be helpful and save you a lot of stress. If your event is outside, depending on where you live and the weather, always have a back-up plan. Both of my daughters' birthdays are in unpredictable weather months (May & November). Both months can be beautiful but are notorious where we live for random gloom and rain. I rarely get a year without weather stress, I swear! So if I plan to do an outside party (which I very often do living in Southern CA), I will take a moment out to consider "what if the weather sucks?", “Can I make it work inside instead?“, "How would I set that up?", “Might we need a tent?” Keep up on the weather report and if unexpected rain does fall on event day, you will already be a step ahead.


6. Don't Sweat the Small Stuff


Easier said then done, right? Seriously though...issues are bound to come up from time to time when hosting a party. The most important thing is to keep your cool and have a positive attitude. This has saved me countless times when I ran my catering business and when I host parties at home. You know how much stressing helps?? ZERO. ZIP. ZILCH. It clouds your mind and doesn't help solve a darn thing. It has taken some practice, but I have taught myself to stay calm, relaxed amid any chaos and I find it much easier to deal with or resolve things that way because I'm focused and thinking more clearly and constructively. In most cases, things that go "wrong" at a party, chances are your guests have no clue unless you bring it to their attention. So don't bother unless it's for safety or other important reason. Don't point out the decoration flaws unless you are going to have a laugh about it. I remember I was throwing a birthday party for my husband. It was an 80's Arcade theme party and I made a Pacman game cake that looked awesome! I made a marble cake that I've made before so I knew was delicious. When it came time to serve the cake, it was sooooo dry. The texture was wrong. It was inedible in my opinion. To this day, I do not know what happened! I was absolutely mortified. But ya know what? I tried to handle it with grace and dignity and do as much damage control as possible and not let it ruin the experience of the party. I luckily had some leftover dessert things around the house that I whipped up to give to people as we joked about what happened. Everyone had some good laughs and the party went on and it was a BLAST! The memories we took from that party was all the fun games we played and the festive spirit everyone was in. Ultimately problems are either in your control or out of your control (like wind or something arrived damaged, etc) If they are IN your control, be a problem solver, not a whiner. Suck it up, buttercup (some tough love for ya there). Try your best to fix and move on. And if it's OUT of your control, its a serious waste of energy to be upset and let it ruin your day. Guests also don't need a stressed out party host. It's not fair to anyone. Damage control the best you can, but keep the positive spirits flowing! As long as the ultimate goal remains the same (people are having a good time), it was a success! Be proud of yourself! Hey, some times the parties with the biggest disasters are the most memorable to look back on!


7. Never Forget Who or What the Party is For


I've thrown a LOT of parties in my day, and most have gone off without a hitch. (luckily! whew!) But there have been those parties that were scheduled at a stressful time in my life, or I over-committed yet again and it was more of a hassle than expected, or there were one too many hiccups for my liking. Whatever the situation, never forget WHY or WHO this party is for. Many of my parties are for my children or husband. And I never let myself forget that I'm doing it for them and to create lasing memories to look back on. It is so worth the effort to see the smile on their faces and seeing happy guests leave at the end of a festive evening. It is that satisfaction that makes me excited to do it again and again. Making people happy, has always made me happy. It fills my heart with joy, and I want you to feel that way too with the next get together you throw.


I hope these tips resonate with you and help you get through those upcoming party plans. I know with the world opening up more again, we will all be a bit rusty at it, so keep these thoughts in mind and never be too hard on yourself! I'd love to know if any of these tips help you in future events. Or if you have any of your own helpful tips, feel free to share! Happy Party Planning, folks. Cheers!

14 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All