With the summer holidays coming up, you’re probably already dreaming of the barbecues and garden parties that you’ll be able to host.  One of the best things about having your own home is being able to share it with people that you care about – and that often begins with some form of planning, whether that be to simply find a date and time that works for both you and your guests to get together.

In most cases, all a great party needs is good people, and good food.  However, if you really want to set your events apart this summer, we suggest putting a little bit more effort into the planning.  In fact, we may have a few ideas that you haven’t considered that will make your next party a hit!  Read on for our ultimate guide to hosting parties at home.


The Guests

If there’s a specific person, or group of people whose attendance you really want at your party, contact them first and make sure they’re free before you set the date.  Inevitably not everyone that you ask to come to your party will be able to make it, but this way you ensure that the most important guests will be there.

As soon as you set the date, invite your other guests as well.  Summer schedules can fill up fast, so the sooner you’re able to let people know about your event, the more likely you’ll have a good turnout.


The Food

No matter what kind of event you’re planning to host – a brunch, a cocktail party, or a barbecue – the food is one of the most important party ingredients.  Start by thinking about the main dish, and work out from there.  Rather than try and make something new, stick with tested and true favorites that you're confident making and that are sure to be crowd pleasers.

If you can, try and use a few recipes that can be made in advance.  That way you’re not having to do absolutely everything on the day of the party.  It’ll make the preparations smoother, and increase your overall enjoyment.


The Drinks

Plan to have both alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks on hand to accommodate the needs of your guests.  When in doubt, buy more than you think you’ll need so that you don’t run out of anything half way through the party.  And don’t forget to get plenty of ice – that way soft drinks can be chilled in a cooler, and fridge space can be reserved for food.


The Shopping List

Make your list and check it twice to ensure you have everything that you need in order to make your party happen.  In addition you’ll want to count up your plates, platters, glasses and serving utensils to ensure that you have enough of those to accommodate our guests.  If you need a few extras, make note so that you can grab them before the party, or ask a close friend if you’re able to borrow a few pieces.  If you’re having a large gathering, you may also consider picking up paper plates and cups in order to cut down on clean up.


The Table Setting

A beautifully set table makes any dish look inviting.  Best of all, you don’t need to spend a lot of money to do it.  Start with a plastic liner to protect your table’s surface and add a great tablecloth to bring some color and pattern to your table.  Consider candles when it comes to centerpieces, as well as fruits and vegetables, or some holiday accessories.  Check your drawers to see if you can find a few decorating treasures that you already have at home.


The Help

The larger your gathering, the more help you should be prepared to enlist.  And you should be able to find some good help from your very own household.  Get your kids involved handing out hors d’oeuvres or welcoming guests.  If you’re going to need a lot of food, ask friends and family to pitch in – and offer to return the favor for their next big event.  Most people will be happy show off their culinary talents if you ask them.


The Pre-Party Clean Up

Of course you want your home to be clean for your guests, but you don’t want to spend the whole day performing a top to bottom clean.  Instead, focus on the rooms that your guests will see and use.  The most important room?  The bathroom!  Remove clutter and make sure that it’s spotless.  Once that’s complete, start where the guests will enter, and work your way inside from there.  Close the doors to rooms your guests don’t need to see.


Congratulations!  If you’ve followed our tips you’re on your way to hosting a fabulous party.  Now take a deep breath, relax, and wait for your guests to arrive.  They’re sure to appreciate the extra effort put into hosting a wonderful evening.