What Your Party Guests Won't Tell You
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Party Scoopers1 of 25
By Woman's Day
We talked to partygoers from around the country and found out what they have to say about hosting dos and don'ts. If you're planning to open up your home this season, read on to learn everything your guests are too polite to tell you. [*Some names have been changed.]
Make Eating Easy2 of 25
Any party guest will appreciate being served a full meal, but if there's nowhere to sit and eat, it can be more trouble than it's worth. If you're planning to serve a buffet meal, your party guests need enough surfaces to eat on.
ON WOMAN'S DAY: Holiday Party Survival Guide
Make Eating Easy3 of 25
"How can you cut meat without putting down your plate?!" asks Doug from Atlanta. "Either have plenty of seating and surfaces or commit wholeheartedly to finger foods."
ON WOMAN'S DAY: No-Cook Party Menu
Don’t Hide the List4 of 25
"I find it annoying when people hide the guest list on Evites," says Agnes* from New York City. "I want to find out if I'm going to know people there or if I should bring a friend."
ON WOMAN'S DAY: How to Make A Great Party Punch
Don't Hide the List5 of 25
She also wishes hosts understood that it's helpful for guests to know the size of the party, which influences whether they plan to drop by, be on time or arrange to travel with friends.
Make Room to Mingle6 of 25
You don't have to have a huge house to create a welcoming atmosphere; you just have to be smart about how you set up the party.
Make Room to Mingle7 of 25
"An overcrowded [food] display is a real turnoff," says Brynn from New York. She wishes hosts would create separate areas for the drink and food stations as well as remember to leave trash receptacles in clear view.
Make It Festive8 of 25
"If you don’t care to make things festive, then don’t bother throwing a party," says Brynn.
Make It Festive9 of 25
She wishes every host would encourage guests to dress up, throw on seasonal tunes and decorate the house.
Create Ambiance10 of 25
According to Maghan, a hostess should remember that lighting is crucial for setting the mood and creating a party atmosphere. "Bad overhead lighting is such a mood-killer! If it's at night, well-placed lighting is invaluable."
Clean the Bathroom11 of 25
Partygoers have serious gripes about the state of the restrooms at bashes. Marie* from New York City says, "Cleaning your bathroom is just as important as making the perfect cheese plate or punch."
Clean the Bathroom12 of 25
"Nothing will tarnish my impression faster than a bathroom straight out of a gas station, with empty toilet paper rolls to boot."
Stock Up on TP13 of 25
Leslie* from Chicago also stresses the importance of keeping the bathroom stocked with toilet paper: "Don't make your guests have to come out and awkwardly ask for more."
Don't Force Things14 of 25
Organized party games and icebreakers are fine in theory, but unless your gang is gung-ho about playing, they just end up making people feel uncomfortable.
Don't Force Things15 of 25
"Forced party games are a clear sign of desperation. If guests can't simply enjoy each other's company, you should maybe reconsider your friends," says Allie from Seattle.
Make Rules Clear16 of 25
Agnes remembers one party she attended where a couple arrived with a newborn baby, and the woman proceeded to breastfeed in the middle of the room.
Make Rules Clear17 of 25
"That might be fine if everyone else has babies or kids in tow, but in a room full of 23-year-olds, it was very odd," she says. To play it safe, specify "adults only" or "kids welcome" on the invitation.
Keep Pets Away18 of 25
For an allergic guest, a surprise four-legged partygoer can ruin the night. Consider keeping pets in another room or having someone watch them for the night.
Keep Pets Away19 of 25
Even if none of your friends is allergic, there's no guarantee they'll love your furry friends as much as you do. Maghan puts it this way: "Your dog is not that adorable. The slobber and scrapes [guests will be subject to] aren't cute at all."
Don't Freak Out20 of 25
Parties get messy. No matter how hard hosts may try to prevent it, people will spill their drinks or leave a ring on the coffee table.
Don't Freak Out21 of 25
"I hate being told that red wine won't be served because the hostess doesn't want stains anywhere," says Brooke from Los Angeles. "If you're that uptight, don't have a party!"
Allow Shoes22 of 25
Brynn dislikes having to take off her shoes before entering a party. "Nobody likes walking around in someone else’s house barefoot or in just stockings.
Allow Shoes23 of 25
If the tenants downstairs will throw a fit over too much clicking and clacking, then perhaps you shouldn’t be having a party. If it’s your white rugs you’re worried about, maybe you can splurge on a few area rugs for the occasion."
Don't Ask for Cash24 of 25
Chances are your guests will bring a hostess gift to your shindig — and you really shouldn't ask for anything beyond that. Isabel from San Francisco recalls a particularly uncomfortable situation in which a host asked for financial contributions the day after her party.
Don't Ask for Cash25 of 25
"It's tacky to invite people over for a party and send a follow-up email the next day asking each guest to contribute cash commensurate with how much they ate or drank. Just ask us to bring over some wine instead."