5 tips to be a “Hostess With the Mostest”

November 21, 2017 Published by
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“Your parties are your vision”-Honey Good

I love to entertain. I started entertaining with small dinner parties for family and friends in my early 20s. I remember my first dinner party. It was a “fondue extravaganza.” Everyone participated. It was a great evening and that love for hosting is still going strong! Here are a few tips on how you can be “the hostess with the mostest.”

1. Be a happy party hostess.
That is what a successful party needs… a delightful and welcoming hostess. You don’t need a large home, a lot of money, elaborate food, or entertainment. I have gone to parties given by wealthy friends, which I am sorry to say, were boring. So what is my trick? I enjoy the art of entertaining. Darlings your guests can tell if you aren’t having fun! So lead the way and show them how it’s done. Have a ball!

2. Know your strengths.
The first thing I would advise a new hostess to do is to know who you are. Plan your parties to suit yourself. For example, I do not like to entertain before sunset. So, I plan my parties for the evening setting them up for me to be in a good mood. And now remember rule one, If I am a happy hostess, my guests will be happy guests. Your party is your vision and you are the commander-in-chief. The parties my husband (I cannot leave out my ultimate concierge!) and I have thrown together range from black tie affairs to large sit-down dinner parties in our home, to the most casual of casual last minute dinners with friends. So, it is not hard for me to find a “reason” to entertain.

3. Create a party around what inspires you.
One summer day I was at an outdoor market picking out the most luscious looking vegetables for a salad and flowers for our bedroom. As I held up a beautiful vine ripe tomato in one hand and a bouquet of long-stemmed pink roses in the other, I thought, “I will host a party around vegetables and roses!” I invited three couples that are fun. Told them to come casual.

I greeted them with French music playing in the background and I presented each girlfriend with a long-stemmed pink rose. They were smiling from ear to ear! My party was getting off to a great start. As we sat at our small bar, the next surprise was a short lesson on two French wines. I looked up the wine’s history! Remember when entertaining, “Nothing happens by accident.” Conversation flowed among us. Questions were asked. There was laughter galore.

We then sat down for dinner and I gave them their next surprise. In the center of my dining room table I placed a large beautiful old French wooden salad bowl filled with eight lettuce wedges, whole vine ripped tomatoes, stalks of celery standing up among the lettuce and tomatoes, miniature cucumbers, small bunches of scallions and around the bowl were country French dishes filled with sliced black olives, crumbled blue cheese, bacon bits, two salad dressings and eight vegetable cutting knives. “Make your own salad,” were the first words I uttered as they were putting their napkins on their laps! They all looked up at me with their mouths open and laughed! Needless to say, dinner at the “GOOD home” that evening was a huge success. I was a delighted hostess and my party was a delightful success. To think, my theme was created as I strolled through an outdoor market!

4. Think of your guests needs

In the hustle and bustle of planning a party it’s easy to lose site of what you are doing this for: The guests! Even though you might have a well thought out idea in mind for how you would like the evening to go be flexible and accommodating. While it can be a challenge, also try to think of others needs such as food allergies or drink preferences before the party. That way everyone is content during!

5. Don’t take on too much 

I know I just described what seems like an elaborate party idea, but remember darlings, hosting a gathering is more about the people than the food or the drinks or the theme. Don’t try to plan so much that you don’t enjoy your guests. Of course, serve them and make them feel welcome, but be sure you too can enjoy the evening or the holiday or the get-together. Remember: The dishes will be there after they leave. So have your conversations now!

I hope all of you that are hosting this holiday season have amazing parties, lively conversation and make beautiful memories. And if you have any questions please leave me a message on Twitter, Facebook or below in the comments section and I will be sure to answer. I am smiling.

*This story was originally posted in 2014 but has been updated.

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5 Comments

  • Helen Albanese says:

    ” I remember my first dinner party. It was a “fondue extravaganza.” Everyone participated. ”
    I had forgotten my first entertaining as a married woman of 25 was a fondue party. I had received 3 fondue pots as wedding gifts. We entertained the employees from my husband’s pharmacy. Crumbs all over the place. Newlyweds in a furnished, rented apartment. We never did fondue again, but we entertained large and small groups and family and international dinners for guests of the State Department. So many years of fun.

    Your note reminded me of that first fondue party.

    About 2 months ago I volunteered to host refreshments at my Toastmasters meeting. The only thing I had for display of the cut fruit, cheese and crackers was a huge rectangular footed silver platter. A chic woman in the group said to me after the meeting, “You used to entertain, didn’t you?” We both stared at each other and almost cried as we are sans concierge.

    Tomorrow I’m putting my sterling in my kitchen drawer and retiring my mother’s silver plate to the silver chest. I already have the crystal and china in my kitchen cabinets and use it often. I use it all when I entertain now and I use ironed embroidered or pulled thread linens from Europe or from estate sales.

    Happy Holidaze to you, your staff, and your family.

    Helen Albanese

  • Jeanne says:

    What would a perfect casual football Super Bowl party look like with 9 couples. Time would be 5:30 guests arrive and game is over maybe 11:00. Food, drinks, etc? Thanks for your tips.

  • SoCalAllison says:

    For Thanksgiving this year, I am clearing off my coffee table completely and putting out a 1000 piece puzzle for my guests to enjoy gathering around and conversing as they put it together. Meanwhile I’ll be dealing with the meal in the kitchen! I figure the puzzle will be the perfect ice breaker and also a calming, friendly experience for those who don’t know each other!

  • L. Stella says:

    Dearest Honey,

    Oh, I so love to entertain also! Thank you for your fun and practical tips! Last year you posted an article abt entertaining, and in it you included one of your favorite, easy appetizers that is a go to for you. It was with guacamole, tomatoes, salsa, etc, surrounded by nacho chips. I would so love to try the recipe. Would you share once again? Thank you!

  • Man says:

    I am really loving the theme/design of your web site. Do you ever run into any browser compatibility issues? A handful of my blog readers have complained about my blog not working correctly in Explorer but looks great in Firefox. Do you have any solutions to help fix this problem?

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