Paper plates are a definite don’t while mixing china is a do, huh? It’s all enough to make a girl’s head spin. We’ve compiled some of our favorite do’s and how the experts weigh in on them.
- Do be creative with your event design and planning. It will create a more memorable party.
Don’t take yourself too seriously. Anything goes these days with your table decor and menu, so have fun. —Tobi Fairley, designer
- Do be happy that you’re having a party and try to relax. No one likes a party pooper even if they’re the host.
The host’s mood sets the tone. —Emily Eerdmans
- Serve an amazing dessert. Come on who doesn’t love dessert? A personal favorite of ours is cupcakes.
Serve an amazing dessert. Even the worst main course will be forgotten if it’s followed by a spectacular dessert. Extra points for making it yourself. —Michael Devine, shop owner/textile designer
- Do follow the one-bite rule when serving hors d’oeuvres.
Keep hors d’oeuvres to one bite. No one wants to talk … with a mouthful. —Larry Laslo, designer
- Do have plenty of drinks that are easily accessible and make sure guests get a beverage as soon as they walk in. Why not even try a DIY cocktail bar?
Let guests make their own cocktails. I have a few favorite recipes on cards, and all the ingredients on hand. People mix and shake and think it’s super-fun. —Paul Lowe, food/prop stylist
- Do make to do lists. I love writing everything down and am a firm believer that it helps keep you organized and makes sure you don’t forget even the smallest details.
Buy a pad of sticky notes and write everything down that you need to do. Stick them all around the kitchen. When you finish a task, take down that note. —Lulu Powers, chef/catering company owner
- Do serve dinner on time. I totally get cranky when I start to get hungry.
Don’t wait for late guests. People resent being hungry. —Isaac Mizrahi, fashion designer
- Do set the table properly.
Don’t face the knife blade out. Rules are made to be broken, but that’s not one of them. —Eddie Ross
- Do introduce other guests. It’s important to make everyone at the party feel comfortable.
Always, always make introductions. If you’re going to make a guest feel alienated, why invite them? —Jessica Nell Graves
- Do give out party favors. Who doesn’t love getting a gift even if it’s something as small as a goodie bag of homemade cookies?!
Always do favors. People love leaving with a little something. —Amen Wardy, retailer/tastemaker
- Do entertain on any budget. Just because money isn’t growing from the trees it’s still important to have a good time and a tight budget should not stop you from doing so.
Don’t be afraid to throw a party because you think it will cost too much. You can have a good time for $10 with a bottle of wine and a bag of nuts. —Thomas Jayne, designer
- Do keep center pieces low.
Don’t create such impressive centerpieces that the guests can’t see each other across the table. —Sue Fisher King, shop owner