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Expert tips on hosting your next party at home

Expert tips on hosting your next party at home

After hosting my first house party in a long time this past weekend, I got curious about how the pros plan for a memorable time. Now that more of us are hosting at home again, I decided to reach out to Josie Littlepage, an event producer and owner of Cosmopolitan Events & Experiences in Webster Groves, for her insights. In the days leading up to Littlepage’s busiest weekend of the year—six events spanning two cities—she gave me the download on creating just the right party atmosphere. My favorite takeaway? Enjoy your own party. 

I’m planning a spring/summer get-together at my house. What should I think about first? In order to know how many people you should invite, it’s important to understand the flow of your home and how you will use your space. Ask yourself if you plan to entertain outdoors and, if so, what is plan b if the weather doesn’t cooperate. Once you have the layout and the flow, then think about the food. Is this going to be a seated dinner or a buffet? For a larger get-together, consider having multiple food stations in different areas [of the house] so that guests can explore numerous cuisines. This begins to set the parameters for your guest list. The comfort of your guests, and ease of flow, is the most important aspect of the get-together, which creates the dynamic of conversation—ultimately the magic of a party.

How do you create the right ambiance or vibe? By fulfilling and enticing all of the senses you can create ambiance. The first sense that is touched is visual, especially if this is the first time a guest has entered your home. The guests will be immersed in your style by seeing the art you have hanging on the walls and the furniture that fills the rooms. Background music is a must so that no one is left with awkward silence if conversation briefly falls short. For me, candles are key, even during the daytime because of their beautiful, yet subtle, scent. When night falls, the warm glow makes everyone even more beautiful. And, of course, the right food accompaniment and flowing beverages top off the event.

You’ve planned some fabulous events over the course of your career, from large weddings to intimate parties. Looking back, what would you point to as the reason(s) those parties were a success? Our clients keep coming back to us and that’s because we listen and plan their party (and not our own version of it) and our attention to detail. After 20 years of planning events, we make sure to plan the event that is right for them. We start with budget planning so that our clients understand what things cost in the event industry. Then, they can decide where to spend their money. Once the event road map is together (the big picture), then it’s time to dive into the details that personalize the event. Those details are what make our parties and events memorable.

What should every good host/hostess remember to do during his/her party? The single most important thing for a host or hostess to do is to enjoy their party. When a guest notices that the host is stressed or not in the moment, the guest can’t enjoy either because they’re worried about the host! Prepare yourself for the day so that there’s nothing left to do except immerse yourself in conversation and feel the joy of people gathering again.

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