Recently one evening, we found ourselves at an intimate and glitzy little soirée at a friend and client’s beautiful home. After saying our “hellos” and gratefully accepting a flute of bubbly, we couldn’t help but take note of how artfully our hostess had rearranged her home to accommodate her guests and the festivities that ensued! When we speak of “the art of hosting,” our minds usually gravitate to food, drink and social etiquette. In reality though, the layout and decor of the space plays a huge role in creating a desirable atmosphere for your guests and therefore ought to be considered. In honour of our gracious hostess, here are four ways to prep your home for the upcoming party season…
1. Determine the Right Floor Plan for the Type of Party
When setting up for your party, it’s extremely important to think about the layout of your home and how you can optimize it for a social gathering. If the party in question is a sit-down dinner party, this is an easy task, as it’s simply a matter of determining whether or not you wish to have a seating plan. A cocktail party however, requires a little more thought. To put it simply, open things up! To make a party feel full and happening, it’s essential to have a common area where everyone can gather and mingle. This will likely involve pushing a table or two against a wall. As for seating, although you want to still offer some seating, the same rule applies, push them out to the perimeters of the room. If space allows, you may wish to rent a few cruiser tables to scatter throughout the open space. Cruisers tend to encourage mingling but serve as a welcome spot for your guests to rest their drinks while they nibble on their hors d’oeuvres.
2. Consider Wear & Tear
Although you’re likely not planning an evening that will resemble a frat party from your misspent youth, the reality is, things happen! Red wine can spill and glassware can break and for these reasons, we urge you to consider preserving your pieces. If you’re concerned about your area rugs, roll them up and stash them away for the evening. If it’s a good party, chances are it will turn into a dance party at a certain point so a hard surface will be more than welcome! As for glassware, it’s worthwhile to rent it. Not only will it save your crystal from cracking but it will also preserve your manicure!
3. Be Strategic with Food & Drink
Although this suggestion technically falls under the category of layout, we like to mention it separately, as it can truly make or break a party! More important than the kind of food and drink that you serve, is the location of your bar!!! It is the kiss of death to have your bar situated away from the dance floor or area where you want people to gather. Guests always flock to the bar. Period. The next place they flock is wherever the food is so either have it located somewhere within or near the common area or have passed hors d’oeuvres circulating. As for what you’re serving, think about your guests! A gathering of ladies will require different food and drink to a co-ed evening but in either scenario, if the gathering is cocktail style, opt for things that are easily consumed while standing.
4. A Little Festive Decor Goes a Long Way
When it comes to decor for a party, a little goes a long way! For birthdays, balloons have come a long way and can be artfully placed around the room and a few flower arrangements are always a good idea, regardless of occasion. The easiest thing you can do though? Create a mood with the lighting. Dim those pot lights, light some candles or consider adding in an appropriately themed neon light to cast a colourful glow.