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This post contains a sponsored inclusion of La Crema but all of the opinions within are those of The Everygirl editorial board.

I’m Entering My Hosting Era: Here’s the Best Advice I Received From Expert Party Throwers

written by ASHLEY SELLEKE

This post is sponsored by La Crema but all of the opinions within are those of The Everygirl editorial board.

Product selections are curated by the editorial team. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission, at no cost to you. We only recommend products we genuinely love.

Source: Askar Abayev | Pexels
Source: Askar Abayev | Pexels

Here at The Everygirl Media Group, we’re split into two groups: those who host, and those who attend. While I identify with the latter, I have a true appreciation for our team members who just seem to “have it” when it comes to hosting, especially after my poor attempt at throwing my parents an anniversary celebration last November. Instead of surveying our team for hosting tips, I did… basically nothing.

Cut to scenes of my sister and I death gripping a flock of emerald-stained balloons as we get pelted in the face by horizontal rain 53 minutes before showtime. Our brother’s flight from Chicago is delayed, we’re one man down for setup, and our hard stop is quickly approaching. The event space’s ceiling fans take the life of at least four helium-filled balloons. We forget the cake. Guests start to arrive before we map out the seating chart. Let’s just say: It was a race to the finish and hosting a party was a lot more work than I expected.

It’s safe to say that I’ve learned from my mistakes and have been collecting hosting tips from our team like Infinity Stones ever since. I’m not in the business of gatekeeping so grab your notebooks because class is in session. Here are the hosting tips our team members swear by so that you can be more prepared (and less stressed) than I was.

Serve wine that’s guaranteed to be a hit

If you’re looking to serve a luxury wine that wine newbies and connoisseurs alike will love, look no further than our favorites from La Crema. With a plethora of varietals, they produce their wine from the world’s most sought-after growing regions with an unmatched level of quality. With a range of pricing and flavors, you can curate a wine bar your guests will drool over and have a selection that will elevate any occasion.

hosting tips
La Crema
Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

If your tasting menu includes any sort of fish, you'll want to have this Sonoma Coast Chardonnay from La Crema on deck. With notes of baked apple, graham cracker, pineapple, tangerine, and pear, it gives a long finish and a taste that will have your guests asking, "where is this stuff from, again?"

Get it on InstaCart today!

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hosting tips
La Crema
Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

Oh, Pinot Noir, you have our hearts. This varietal from La Crema offers tasting notes of cherry, plum, and boysenberry with subtle hints of espresso and cocoa nib—making it the ultimate cozy choice for any gathering.

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hosting tips
La Crema
Sonoma County Sauvignon Blanc

Whoever said "diamonds are a girl's best friend" must have never known how much we love a good Sauvignon Blanc. This one from La Crema is vibrant and juicy, just like all of the convos that'll be passed around at your next Girls' Night In.

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hosting tips
La Crema
Monterey Pinot Noir

If you're hosting a dinner party, this Monterey Pinot Noir from La Crema is a must. It pairs well with many of our favorite entrees: grilled chicken, fish, Italian sausage, and mushroom risotto making it our go-to for a date night in.

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hosting tips
La Crema
Monetery Chardonnay

With aromas of lemon, pear, white flower, and oak, this apple, tangerine, and pineapple-forward chardonnay is concentrated and juicy for a lingering finish that'll make your guests come back for more.

Get it on InstaCart today!

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Use invites instead of a text

While it may be easy and tempting to shoot off a group text to friends to invite them to an upcoming gathering, it feels so much more special to send out invitations by mail or e-vite (our team has been loving Partiful lately). This is a team-favorite way to set the tone ahead of time, communicate a theme, and elevate even an average get-together.

Curate a playlist beforehand

Don’t give your guests the pressure of hopping on the aux (unless, of course, they ask), and instead, curate a playlist beforehand. If your party has a theme, you can build the list based on that, opt for music you know that the group likes, or find a pre-curated playlist like this Friendsgiving one we curated on Spotify. Awkward silence? We’ve never heard of her.

Think through your table setup

Our team members are wizards when it comes to building beautiful tablescapes but, as with all things, they learned from experience what not to do. And one of those learning moments came with a centerpiece being a wee bit too high. While adding height to your table in the form of candles or flowers can be pretty from afar, they’re not always functional, and you want your guests to be able to chat with each other—without doing the hokey pokey.

Prep as much food ahead of time as possible

If you’re hosting a dinner party or serving apps, it’s true that serving while hot is definitely the most desirable for your guests. But that doesn’t mean you need to backload all of your cooking until right before showtime. Get a good grasp of your menu’s recipes and make note of what you can be doing ahead of time to make all of that last-minute heating just that: last-minute. The more you can do ahead of time before your guests arrive like peeling, chopping, and mixing, the better.

Help yourself first

It might seem a little strange to get yourself completely ready hours ahead of an event start time but once you get going with setup and prep, you may find yourself without time to get yourself taken care of before guests arrive. Picking out your outfit and getting yourself fully ready a few hours ahead of schedule will allow you to fully focus on hosting duties and will serve you well, especially if people start to show up earlier than expected.

Use Post-it notes to tag serving pieces

If you’re serving food at an event, gather all of your serving pieces ahead of time, and label them with post-it notes to visualize what food will go in what dish. This will help when food is ready to be served and set. It’ll also give your friends a way to help that’ll be aligned with your vision.

Have a designated drop point for coats, shoes, or baggage

We’ve all been there—you arrive to a party, can’t locate where to house your parka without setting it on the back of your chair and ruining the vibes of your host’s tablescape, and resort to folding it over your arm for the remainder of the evening. Having an idea of where you want your guests to dump their goods, whether that be a guest bedroom, an unused couch, or an inexpensive coat rack, can help them have a more comfortable experience. Plus, it’ll help keep entertaining areas clutter-free.

Light a candle in the bathroom before guests arrive

Setting the mood extends past entertaining spaces and, if your gathering is longer than an hour, there’s a pretty high chance that everyone in your camp will end up using the bathroom. Not only can a candle help make any space more inviting, but it can also help mask other bathroom-related scents and make guests feel right at home.

Target
Salt 4-Wick Candle
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Anthropologie
Capri Blue Volcano Candle
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Pull out the fine china

If you have fine china and real linens, now’s the time to use them! It takes more effort to wash a nice dish than to throw out a paper plate but your guests will appreciate the nice touch, and you’ll finally be able to give those china-hutch items a little bit of action. Don’t be afraid to use the good stuff—that’s why you have it.

Williams Sonoma
Porcelain Au Gratin Bakers
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Crate & Barrel
Sorrento Ceramic Serving Platter
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Williams Sonoma
Octagonal Porcelain Serving Platter
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Avoid bright overhead lighting

Lighting plays such a prominent role when it comes to setting the mood. To avoid any harsh lighting, turn off overhead lights and instead opt for floor lamps, dimmers, candles, or string lights. Ambiance is key and moody lighting is a sure way to make your space warm and inviting.

Use place cards

Using place cards can be a necessity, especially for larger groups who may not know each other. It leaves out the question of where to sit and gives you control of pairing people together based on who they know or what they’re interested in. If you want to upgrade from a traditional place card, you can consider labeling other items like shells, bookmarks, or other party favors depending on your preferences or theme.

Have more than one trashcan visible for use

While your tiny trashcan under the sink will usually suffice for a date night at home, hosting a gathering requires you to pull out reinforcements. Having pop-up trashcans in high-traffic areas like the bar, bathroom, and kitchen will help your guests help you discard trash without having to interrupt you to ask.

This post contains a sponsored inclusion of La Crema but all of the opinions within are those of The Everygirl editorial board.