1. I am big into ambiance.  Make sure your house smells yummy by using either scented candles or hot wax melters.  Make sure all of your battery operated candles, have good batteries in them and then just before your guests arrive, light your candles, both the real and the battery operated. 
  2. If the party is after dark or it will be dark soon, make sure your porch lights are on. You can also purchase solar lights that you can push into the ground or in a flower pot at the entryway of your home (or on your back deck). You don’t have to spend a lot of money. You can find them at your local Dollar Tree,
  3. I like to have appetizers (I’ll be sharing some recipes for some of my favorite appetizers in a future post). As friends are arriving, we usually have a station set up for making drinks and pouring wine. We also have a metal tub that we put in a stand that holds iced bottled water, beer or soda. (To make it even more personalized, why not show your talents by painting the front of your metal tub!) Make sure your music is tailored to the age group and the type of guests attending. Make sure it’s on lightly in the background, as you don’t want it so loud your guests can’t visit.
  4. Make sure you have a place for guests to put their purses, jackets, etc. If you don’t have a coat closet large enough, you can always lead them to your bedroom or a spare room and allow them to lay their things on the bed. I like to make sure the room has nice lighting and a scented candle burning. It is also a nice place for a guest to take an important call, tend to a child (if children are attending), etc.
  5. I love to put fresh flowers all around the house when entertaining. If you don’t have them in your yard, you can always find some in the floral department at your grocery store. I actually find mine in the reduced area of the store. I purchase several inexpensive bouquets and split them up into several vases to place around my home. Anything can serve as a vase. How about a mason jar or a beautiful drinking glass. Be creative !
  6. I like to try to make sure I am considerate of those who might have food allergies, are vegetarians, etc. If serving food, try to always have food options without meat, without dairy, etc.
  7. If there will be lots of vehicles parked outside your home, try to let your neighbors know ahead of time.
  8. Sometimes we will have a signature cocktail.  Why not set up a little station for your guests to make them on their own, or if possible pre-make them and add it to a beverage container or pitcher, with a little sign next to it telling the guests what the drink is, the ingredients, and the instructions for how to make them.
  9. If you have a friend(s) who play music, invite them over and ask them to play a little music throughout the evening. (Be sure to gift them something for doing this)
  10. Lighting…  To me, evening parties are all about the lighting. I love to have twinkly or glowing warm lights lit everywhere I can, both in and outside of our home.
  11. You you are giving a guest a special gift, try to personalize it by somehow incorporating their initials, knowing what their likes and dislikes are, placing a beautiful chocolate truffle on their dinner plate, etc. (I have more ideas for this down below)
  12. Your guest bathroom should always be clean.   Candles lit, fresh pretty towels, plenty of pump soap, etc.
  13. It’s always a good idea to prepare and clean for your party as far in advance as possible, so you aren’t stressed out just before your guests arrive.  Trust me, the stress will show on your face.
  14. If it’s possible, try to greet your guests at the door and show them where everything is if they are new to your home. At the end of the party, walk them to the door when they leave. This way they will feel like you’ve appreciated their coming  (if the party is expected to be large, maybe you could ask a family member or a friend to do it for you)
  15. If a guest asks you if they can help with anything at the party, and even if you don’t necessarily need the help, it’s always good to try to find something so they feel more relaxed, involved and comfortable.
  16. If serving alcohol and you have wine drinkers, try to have assorted types of reds and whites, or at the very least, one of each.
  17. Seating.. I always try to make small sitting areas throughout my house. It’s a great way to encourage conversation, especially among those who might not know others at the party.
  18. Adding those small special touches; such as herbs or berries in some of your ice cubes near the drink table, decorated cookies that match the theme of your party (if you have a theme of some kind), colorful candies, nuts and popcorn in small bowls around the house, making sure to introduce your guests if they don’t all know one another, just doing anything you can to make your guests feel at home makes all the difference!


  1. A small inexpensive terra cotta pot with a fresh basil plant set inside of the pot. Place it at their table setting and make sure they know it is their gift to take home.
  2. Lottery tickets placed under the plate. It’s a great conversation piece at the table and our adult kids just love it!
  3. Place a pillow of cotton candy (like clouds) with some colorful candies tucked inside. Especially if kids will be eating at the table.
  4. For a Mothers Day treat, or just for the ladies in your family, have a hanging potted flowering plant just outside your front door and ask them to each take one home as they are leaving. You could also do this at a holiday party you are hosting, but instead of hanging potted plants, give each couple/ or single, a poinsettia as they are leaving. We like to line them along our hallway so they can pick them up on their way out.
  5. We like to purchase plastic containers in different colors and then we will pack them with leftovers or desserts for our guests to take home after dinner.
  6. Homemade cookies or candies packaged in a cute container for each guest to take home with them is always a big hit !
  7. I like to hand make my own greeting cards using paint pens. Just look online for designs you like and make the cards using your own special creation! You can find blank greeting card stock at most any craft store. Try or I’ve also found them at great prices online.
  8. Be creative and put the recipe(s) of what you’ve made for dinner on a special recipe card and give them to your guests!

I just really love to entertain family and friends and I hope that if you haven’t tried some of these ideas, you’ll give them a try! You can be a great host no matter your house size or how much you spend on your party. Your guests will just appreciate the time and attention you gave to everything, and really, it’s all about enjoying each other’s company and spending special time together…. Don’t wait! Invite those friends over now! If you wait until you think your ready, you’ll never do it! Just have fun !!

Just Do It !

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