Self Serve Entertaining

As part of the Life Well Lived- Get Organized Panel on I was asked to share my best tip for hosting a gathering, get-together, or party that is enjoyable and stress-free for both the host and guests.

I have to say that being a hostess is definitely not my forte, but it is something that I am trying to work on- so I enjoyed having this opportunity to think about the topic and share some of my thoughts with all of you.

The first thing that comes to mind for me is pretty much what Kristin shared here last week during my Love to Love your Home series: embrace your space, feel confident in it, add some tiny touches to put your guests at ease, and then relax. I think sometimes we stress out FAR too much about the logistical details of playing hostess and we forget that what really matters is the company.

I know one thing that I'm craving more and more lately is a simple girls night in. And all that I really need to make a girls night in enjoyable is a few close friends, some wine, and some salty treats to munch on. Keeping the nature of the invitation casual will cut you some slack and take some of the pressure off to have every detail perfect.

For a slightly more formal gathering (full of people that you might not know quite as well), my biggest tip is something that I've shared here before: Give guests a quick orientation and keep things out in the open in order to make your job easier.

For overnight guests and party goers alike, it's great to keep the bathroom stocked.

Keep an extra roll of TP within reach, a few extra hand towels, and maybe even a little goody box with things like dental floss, hairspray, feminine products, etc tucked neatly into a box or tray on the bathroom counter so that when someone visits the bathroom they have everything that they need without having to ask.

I also like to keep the kitchen somewhat self serve- with utensils, napkins, cups, drinks etc all within easy reach. It takes some of the pressure off of me to always remember to ask people if they want a refill by making sure that all of the supplies for a refill are accessible to anyone who enters the kitchen. Clear some space in your kitchen ahead of time to help facilitate a self serve atmosphere, and then let the crock pots and chafing dishes do the work for you.

But like I said, being a comfortable hostess is something that I am somewhat of a novice at...and I'm still trying to work up my confidence past hosting my usual neighborhood potluck gatherings. So I'd love to hear some of your best entertaining tips.

There's a whole great discussion on the topic going on over at, so please pop over to check out some of the other expert advice, add your wisdom, and enter the current sweepstakes.

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