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Planning Ahead for Your Parties

Here are some thoughts about how to plan your parties.

• Determine your own style. Plan a party that reflects your own personality, whether it is more casual or formal. Are you more comfortable hosting large cocktail parties, backyard get-togethers, or small dinner parties?

If you’re reciprocating, you need not host the same style party that you attended. Develop your own.

• Parties at home vs. public restaurant. Gracious hospitality in your own home often surpasses expensive dining out. It’s your chance to be creative and personal. It can turn a client into a friend. Parties at home resemble those childhood handmade birthday cards for Mom. Didn’t she always prefer those to the store-bought kind?

• Overcome the obstacles. Whether you haven’t finished remodeling your new home, or your apartment is very small, or your young children require a lot of attention, these excuses can all be ignored if you really want to host a party.

• Consider your budget. Whether your style is lush and lavish or modest and moderate, plan a party within your own financial means. Even millionaires can have dull parties. It’s not about the money.

• Don’t apologize. There is no reason to call attention to something that might otherwise go unnoticed such as your inability to prepare gourmet dishes, the modesty of your wine, or the unmatched dining room chairs. New furnishings and expensive wine do not make a successful party, people do.

• Don’t try to do it all in one day. Allow a period of several days to shop, cook, and tidy the house. A little each day lessens the work.

• Make lists for party planning. Create a shopping list, list of items to buy, rent, or borrow, things to do before the day of the party, and a last-minute to-do list. Don’t have a million things on your mind for the party. Have only one thing on your mind: Don’t lose the lists.

By Maureen Molé

Molé is a lecturer, product spokesperson, and the author of The Book of Entertaining at Home. Email her at

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