Staging Your Party Like A Pro
Weíve all been guests of a host or hostess who seems to throw a party effortlessly. The host looks relaxed and happy, guests are smiling, the party area is perfectly decorated, and food and beverage flow without fuss. They may know a couple of tricks you donít but there are only two basic steps to staging your party like a pro, too.
First, set the stage. Your party probably wonít involve your entire house so donít worry about the areas youíll designate as behind the scenes areas, private zones that will remain off limits to guests. Make friends with these areas.
Focus your cleaning and decorating efforts on just the area(s) youíll want your guests to see - the living room, den, dining room, kitchen, patio, or whatever, depending on your partyís theme. Clean up a guestsí bathroom. Make sure the entry into your yard and home looks safe and inviting. This view is the first impression your guests will have. Make it count.
Situate food and beverage tables throughout the party area, not clustered in one area. By scattering them throughout the area, guests will be forced to mingle and move about. Set food and beverage tables on the opposite side of a room from its doorways and never situate these tables in a hallway. Clusters of people will block the flow of traffic and may mean less aggressive guests will go without rather than elbow their way through a crowd.
Use that private space behind the scenes to stash clutter that normally lives in the party area - fragile figurines, irreplaceable heirlooms and mementos, old magazines, toys, blankets, and anything else that wonít be needed at the party.
Second, survey the stage. About an hour before guests arrive, go outside and enter your home the way your guests will. Walk through the party zone as if you are the first guest to arrive. Notice what others will see and correct as you go. Tidy things up for the best impression and gather up anything that is out of place.
Stash it all in areas your guests wonít go. Donít worry about what these hidden areas look like today. The party wonít last forever and everything can go back where it belongs tomorrow. Tonight, just for the duration of the party, take comfort that these things are only temporarily out of sight and are safe to be off your mind for a while, too.
When you think of your party as a stage production (think smoke and mirrors), itís easy to separate the limelight from the work zone behind the curtain. Itís easier to separate private family living quarters from party zones. Put the backstage area to work so that running the party is easy and convenient. Donít worry about what it looks like.
Use the public area to set the stage and establish a mood for your party. View it through the eyes of a guest before setting the finishing touches and welcoming your guests in a relaxed, happy, and confident fashion.