Food, House & Garden

Tips for Being the Perfect Host

Amy Adams as "Julie Powell" in Columbia Pictures' Julie & Julia.

What makes the perfect host? Well, that depends as much on the personality of the guests as it does on the on the mood of the dinner or party thrower. In reality, there is no perfect answer to the question. What works for one person might not be at all suitable for another. The perfect setting for one party might prove an utter disaster in another situation.

Social gurus, restaurateurs and even celebrities have for years been trying to properly define the attributes that make a perfect host, with varying degrees of success. Here are a few of their tips.

Work on the environment

Plan carefully for where you intend to hold the party. If it’s an intimate dinner group, there is little point setting up in a cavernous room or sprawling back yard. This will just make the party, and you as host, seem remote. Likewise, don’t try to cram too many people into a tight and restrictive space. If you need to make room, consider temporarily renting space for some surplus furniture and other items in an external storage facility such as Fort Knox Storage .

And now the head space

Now you’ve got the party space sorted, let’s work on your head space. You need to feel good and be ready to have a good time. If you feel you’d rather be somewhere else, your guests are going to quickly pick up on it. If you feel you want to be there as host, your guests are going to want to be there too.

No second guessing

Have I done enough? Are the nibbles as good as they can be? Will the decorations do my party theme justice? These are questions you should have asked yourself hours, if not days, ago. Don’t start second guessing once the guests start arriving. Confidence in your ability is the key to a strong host.

My home is your home

One of the most important jobs of a good host is to make each guest feel special and welcome. A good public speaker has the ability to make each audience member feel that he or she alone are the ones being spoken to. Similarly, a good host will make each guest feel that he or she is the most important person in the room. Greet each guest personally and warmly. Make them feel at home.

Set the tone

It is your job as host to set the tone for the evening. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Don’t be a stick in the mud, fussing over the little things and ignoring the guests and fun around you. Have fun yourself and the others will surely follow. If something small does go wrong, no one will notice or care. They’ll just remember your great hosting through the evening.

The short answer to the question what makes a great host is you and your guests. Focus on them to ensure that everyone there, including you, is having a good time. If you offer the best side of you, your guests will in turn be on their best game.

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