Throwing a Party Gatsby Would Crash

“Nobody looks back and remembers the night they got lots of sleep.”

If you’ve ever joined a book club, a bunko group, or have thrown a direct sales party for a friend, you know that hosting your fellow gal pals can sometimes make you become an anxiety ridden B on the day of the event. Here’s a few pointers to help you transform from the Wicked Witch of the West to sweet lil’ Glenda. Your kids and significant other will thank you. Most importantly, your friends will feed off your chill vibe and be able to cut loose and have some fun, which is the real reason for having a party in the first place.

Rule Number 1- Skip the fancy invitations and form a Facebook event for your party.

It’s true that beautiful invitation cards that arrive through snail mail have a certain regal feeling attached to them. But for the sake the simplicity and to cut costs, spend that money elsewhere, girl! If you want to grow momentum and excitement about the party, Facebook events are the way to go. You and your friends can comment and post updates on the event page. You can see who else is going and what they’re bringing. It’s a win-win. Trust me.

Rule Number 2- Always invite at least double the amount of people you hope will show.

Let’s face it. Women are busy. Super busy. We’re expected to be wives, mothers, work full-time, keep up with housework and do laundry, cook, manage extra-curriculars, sometimes work out and please our man. I mean, we know we’re amazing but it’s hard to be a superwoman all the time. It’s not that we don’t want to fit it all in but we have our limits. With that said, I’d expect a third to half of your invites to actually show up. That is, unless you have way more money than me and are handing out Grammy-style party favors to your guests. In that case, can I please come?

Rule Number 3- When you’re prepping your home, be mindful of details but don’t go all OCD on me.

Do you want your home clean and tidy? Yes. Do you need to wash walls and go over your baseboards with a toothbrush? No. Should you take out the trash and remove the cat and dog hair from the furniture? Yes. Should you think you have to remodel your home or build an addition before you host guests? No! Can closets conceal the week’s worth of laundry you haven’t folded or put away when your guests are arriving in ten minutes? Heck to the yes! You get my drift. Clean and tidy home = good. Thinking it has to be immaculate where guests should be able to lick their spilled wine from the floors = overkill.

Rule Number 4Preparing and buying all the food and drinks can be a huge burden on you and your pocketbook. If you’re hosting your club, make make that crap potluck, y’all!

That’s the southern in me right there. I can promise you that 95% of the other ladies in your tribe will thank you for when their turn rolls around because they’ll do the same. It’s so simple. Everyone brings a dish or drink of their choice. So your Martha Stewarts can blow everyone away with the culinary skills, and others (like myself) can pick up a delightful pre-made something ‘nother from the bakery or deli section of Publix. Easy peasy. Just make sure folks comment what they’re bringing on the event page so you don’t end up with all desserts and no apps or all food and no booze. Gasp!

Rule Number 5- Ambience. Ambience. Ambience.

Set the mood, ladies! Lighting candles in the living room, kitchen, and bathroom instantly gives a warm, soft glow along with a nice smell. Just avoid off the wall scents. Like a stinky perfume, don’t go all rosy or floralicious with those candles. Right now, one of my favorites is the Capri Blue Volcano candle. You’d have to be a weirdo not to like the smell because it’s a universally delightful scent. You can buy it at Anthropology or Hallmark. If you live in my hometown, Broadbent’s has them too. Check them out!

Rule Number 6Can we talk music?

During that sometimes awkward stage when only one or two guests have arrived and they may not know each other well, there’s nothing like having some background tunes going to take away any deafening silence. One of my favorite stations on Pandora is Hipster BBQ Radio. It’s upbeat but chill and gives you that New York coffee shop vibe. Stream it and instantly you feel like a way cooler version of yourself.

Rule Number 7Seating is crucial.

I realize not everyone has a living room the size of a theater, but you have to set the room up to allow areas for people to park for conversation. By all means, rearrange the room if you need to! Put some stools out, borrow some chairs or floor pillows. Just make sure everyone has a place to be engaged in each other’s company. No one wants to have a huge houseplant blocking their view of the other guests, just like no one should have to bring a bionic ear to the party to hear what others are saying. Move unnecessary stuff out and make the room conversation friendly!

Rule Number 8- Set up food and drink stations.

Fact: People can unintentionally box you out in the kitchen, so make sure you separate the food area from the drink area. I like to do appetizers on the bar, desserts on one side of the counter, and drinks on the other end. It helps with the flow. A couple of splurges I do recommend are pretty napkins and dessert plates, along with real wine glasses. Go practical with your dinner plates but bring in some color and fun in cute dessert plates and napkins. Don’t go too matchy-matchy either. Mix and match patterns with coordinating colors and you’ve just made some eye candy and didn’t even have to cook to do it! For the wine glasses, most of us have drank wine from red Solo cups at one point or another because it’s easy. Be a little extra and invest in a set of twelve real wine glasses. They’re relatively cheap and will be something you can reuse forever. Martha Stewart has a set for under $20 at Macy’s so there you go.

Rule Number 9- Be the hostess with the mostest.

Even if you are an introvert, don’t let that prevent you from making everyone feel welcome in your home. If things get cliquey, try to redirect the situation by moving folks into another room, beginning a new activity or whatevs. Just make sure there’s no one sitting or standing alone. If others aren’t approaching them, that’s your job as the hostess so put on those extrovert panties for a few hours and make everyone want to come back.

Rule Number 10- Have fun!

Laugh and be silly. Let your guard down and act like a kid again. Tell funny stories. Listen. Don’t hijack the conversation. Ask questions. Your ultimate goal is to make sure all your guests leave feeling young and fun with a killer group of girls as their tribe. So get off here and start planning your next party!

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School nurse by day. Lifestyle blogger by night. Hold my wine while I grab my cape. Follow me at