I love parties. If a holiday, birthday, or any reason to celebrate is coming up, I am in planning mode. I am a full-blooded extrovert in the way that I become fully alive when I am around people that I enjoy. It brings me so much joy to make people feel comfortable, relaxed, and happy when they step into my home.
I want them to feel like they belong.
It’s more likely that I am the hostess rather than the attendee. Most of the time, I really enjoy this, but with anything comes its struggles. Hosting come natural to me, but I also believe that it takes work. I have certain goals that I set for myself with each party I host. But, I have also learned to let some standards go that I used to have for myself go, so I can fully enjoy the party as the host.
Creating a place for belonging is a gift for you and others.
I want to share with you the goals that I keep and the goals that I have chosen to let go to inspire and encourage you for your next party idea or the next time you have a guest over for dinner. I made them specific and easy enough for a first-time hostess or a veteran hostess:
Goals for Party //
TO KEEP / Clean guest bathroom and kitchen. Make sure all rooms are tidy and everything is put in its place. Cleanliness demonstrates respect to your guests.
TO LET GO / Floors. I used to sweep, mop, and vacuum all the floors right before the party started. While it’s good to have the floors for the most part clean (no spills or noticeable dirty spots), I realized this was unnecessary. The floors will be dirtier when the party is over, so instead of cleaning all the floors right before the party, wait until the guests leave.
TO KEEP / Whether you invite one person over for dinner or your whole house is filled with guests, one of my major goals is to have the food ready or in the last stage of preparation by the time the guests arrive. Not only is it convenient so you don’t have to wait to eat or spend time cooking, it’s also courteous and polite to show your guest that you value their time by carefully preparing for their arrival.
TO LET GO / Cleaning as soon as everyone is finished eating. It used to really bother me to leave dishes and food out once everyone was finished eating. I didn’t like the mess and honestly, I just didn’t want to clean it later knowing it may be really late once they leave. I decided to let this go so that I can spend quality time with my guests. I want to give my guests not only good food and a clean atmosphere, but also genuine and enjoyable conversation since that is what really matters and lasts in the relationships.
TO KEEP / Presentation adds value to your party for your guests. It shows the guests that you care about them by putting effort into their party experience. This does NOT have to be elaborate though. It just means that you think about where to place the utensils and food for easy access, that you have everything your guests need out for them (water, salt and pepper, napkins, hot sauce since this is a necessity for my husband). And then take an extra few minutes to lay it all out nicely. It does not need to be fancy, but you can certainly make it look neat.
TO LET GO / Pinterest. This is a huge trap for me. I can’t tell you how much time I have spent on Pinterest, looking at blogs or Instagrams on hosting and styling, and then feel like I fall short of what I like. Do you know how much time these bloggers and stylists spend to create the perfect centerpiece, living room, dish, etc.?! I can accomplish the pretty and clean look on my own with an appropriate amount of time and money. Then there’s the Pottery Barn/Southern Living/Style Me Pretty style that I swoon over, but realistically I don’t have the time, money or natural ability to recreate for my party. You can still have a lovely and meaningful party without all the DIY decor or the perfect signs and centerpieces from Anthropologie. That isn’t needed to create community.
I have chosen to let go of the beautiful picturesque party decor I come across on Pinterest, and stick to fresh flowers, candles, and a few finds from the Target dollar section. Try to use your real serve ware and plates rather than paper if you want to make it a little bit fancier and save money.
Parties are a time to enjoy and build relationships. Celebrations are a heavenly gift that we get to take part in while we live in a messy, and sometimes very difficult, world.
Hosting parties is truly a gift to enjoy, and I am still learning how to be a great hostess without adding unnecessary pressure and stress. As a host, you have the amazing opportunity to invite people into your home, invest in their lives, encourage them, and point them in an encouraging direction when they leave your home. It is so much more than just showing off your new Anthropologie tableware or delicious meal.
What type of tone or direction do you want to set for people when they enter your home or party?
Allison Creagh is from Raleigh, NC… She loves spending time with people, traveling, and hosting parties in her home. She’s been married to Jimmy for a year and half and they both work from home as entrepreneurs. She has her B.S. in Business from North Carolina State University and her M.A. in Biblical Counseling from Southeastern Seminary. She enjoys speaking, reading, and writing as a lifestyle blogger. Check out her blog, The Nook Girls. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter.