I have a party in my home this month, and I am really nervous about how I will handle it! Any suggestions on how to ensure a successful gathering?

Rita R: I have a party in my home this month, and I am really nervous about how I will handle it! Any suggestions on how to ensure a successful gathering?

RDP: Relax and let us plan this! For a large gathering, here are some suggestions: The flow of traffic is most important. If your home is spacious and spread out, it is important to utilize the spaces without overcrowding any one designated area. You also want to avoid spreading out your guests so much as to make the party look empty. So focus on gathering your guests in a few connected areas, such as the living room and the dining room. In terms of food and drink, it is a good idea to remove your decoratives from your living room sideboard and sofa table or console, and instead use these surfaces to place the drinks and appetizers for easy access. This would be both welcoming and inviting as guests start coming in, besides allowing guests to mingle and get the party going at hello!

This allows you to set up your dining table for a buffet ahead of time with linens, serving dishes, plates, glasses, and fresh flowers. It’s always a good idea to move the chairs away from the table. Place the chairs in nearby areas, allowing guests to sit and eat after they help themselves to food. This keeps people moving around without crowding the area right around the food. Separating the two serving areas (drinks/appetizers and buffet) allows your guests to move easily from the living area to the dining room, without you having to stop and clear the table of appetizers to set up for dinner. Instead, you can relax and focus on entertaining!

One more tip: in a large home, one needs to be careful not to have the food and drinks spread out in so many areas that the spaces look empty, whereas in a smaller home, you need to make sure you have several serving areas to ensure any one given area is not overcrowded. Enjoy your party!