Top tips for hosting perfect parties in your own home

With the Christmas season coming, and maybe a few birthdays or other special occasions on the calendar in the not too distant future too, you might be planning several parties. 

I can't wait for our extension to be complete so I can invite of all my friends round. I sense it may not be party-ready by Christmas though since it still needs a roof and floor!

If you’re lucky enough to have a home that is already big enough, and that people love to congregate in, here's some top tips to help you organise a night to remember.

Dinner party or drinks and nibbles?
This decision will dictate how much time you have to mingle, how much preparation you need to do and how many people you can invite. A dinner party is a lot more intimate but requires a great deal of preparation. 

Unless you have very easy-going eaters, you’ll have to cater for differing tastes and dietary requirements. But, this kind of party is excellent for conversation and impressing your nearest and dearest with your culinary skills!

A "drinks and nibbles" party is a much more relaxing affair for you as the host, as all you need to do is make sure the drinks are flowing and the nibbles remain topped up. You can invite more people and you’ll have more time to enjoy yourself.

Invite etiquette

It seems very obvious but so many people get it wrong. Your invite should hold all of the information your guests should need, including date, time, address, type of party, dress code (if there is one) and if they need to bring anything. You don’t want to throw a black tie dinner and forget to mention the black tie requirements.

Your invite can also include details of a theme and, if done right, can create the buzz you want to create for the anticipation of the event of the year…

Make sure you leave enough time to mingle

As we’ve all seen on Channel 4’s Come Dine with Me, not paying attention to your guests can cost dearly in terms of their enjoyment. Neglected guests and empty glasses will breed boredom and hunger, so be sure to prepare as much as you can before your guests arrive.

If it’s a dinner party, try to make your dishes as ready to go as possible so you can spend your time dazzling them with your wit and charm. If it’s a drinks and nibbles soiree, then multi-task by making some amazing cocktails while chatting to guests – never underestimate the power of mingling!

Think about your party space

Whether you have an expansive living/dining room or just a small area to entertain, you need to work to the space you have. Your space will help you to decide whether drinks and nibbles or a dinner party is the way to go, and then the planning can begin!

If you have a kitchen that leads onto a dining room or a living room that leads onto a dining room, then having folding doors can really help to define your party space and the flow of the evening.

At your dinner party, you can entertain in the dining room with closed doors, to then open up the space into the living room for drinks after dessert giving you the intimate start to your night followed by a relaxed ending after full tummies and a couple of cocktails.

Have a backup plan

Attempting an ambitious dessert? Giving a recipe a go for the first time? Make sure you have a backup plan in place so that your guests don’t feel the brunt of your rookie mistakes. 

Whip up a replacement cheesecake (like this gorgeous recipe from BBC Good Food) or a fail-safe pasta dish so that you can rest easy if things don’t go exactly to plan. 

Also, even if you request people to bring their own alcohol, be prepared for those who forget completely. Have a stock of the classics; vodka, rum, gin, whisky and wine just in case.

Most of all, don't get so stressed about the whole thing that you forget to have fun!

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post.