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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.

10 Crucial Tasks To Tackle Before Guests Arrive

written by CHRISTINA HERBST

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

The Everygirl 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: Alaina Kaz
Source: Alaina Kaz

There are three instances in life where time seems to move exponentially fast: 1) frantically adding your credit card info for concert tickets, 2) spending the day with an old friend, and 3) the last two hours before you’re hosting an event. These blink-and-you’ll-miss-it scenarios are quite humbling and, when it comes to party prepping, it’s hard not to scramble to get the last few details together (or wonder where on earth you left your corkscrew).

Thankfully, we’ve compiled a checklist of the things you should do before guests arrive so you don’t have to think twice. No matter if you’re a Type A planner or a party procrastinator, these tips will help you throw an unforgettable gathering. Take a page from our hosting bible and thank us later.

1. Stock up on your finest wine

When you’re having your favorite people over, you’ll want to treat them to the good stuff AKA your top-shelf wines. Here at The Everygirl, we always grab a few bottles of La Crema whenever we’re hosting. La Crema ages their artisanal wine in imported French oak barrels—a detail that wine enthusiasts swoon for and vino newbies notice. Their oak barrels provide flavors of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, and vanilla bean, giving their wines a richer, velvety mouthfeel that impresses any guest.

To really bring out these flavors, you’ll want to chill your whites and rosés for about two hours in the fridge and reds for about 20 minutes before serving. If you’re trying to chill in a pinch, create an ice bath for your wine. Fill a bucket or large bowl with equal parts water and ice with a handful of salt. Submerge your wine up to its neck and let it sit until chilled. You could also refrigerate your wine and keep it chilled until guests arrive by using this marble wine chiller.

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2. Light a candle

Lighting is key to a breathtaking event. First, dim the lights if it’s a nighttime event or rely on natural lighting if you’re outside or hosting during the day. Overhead lights can cause harsh unnatural shadows and won’t foster the relaxing vibes you’re trying to set. Utilize standing and tabletop lamps to set the ambiance. Then, choose a few aesthetic candles and weave them between your pretty tablescape, along your bar cart, or any other spaces that your guests will be hanging around to add to the moody atmosphere. Select a few aromatic candles near your entryway so guests are met with a nice smell right when they walk into the door.

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Unscented Ivory Pillar Candle Set
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Crate & Barrel
Venus Fluted Glass Hurricane Candle Holder
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Hearth & Hand
Salted Honey Candle
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Anthropologie
Capri Blue Candle
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3. Arrange fresh flowers

Flower arrangements brighten and elevate any space. The good news is that you don’t need to break the bank to make a beautiful bouquet either. You can head to your local grocery store for an affordable yet stunning arrangement that fits the theme. Hot tip: Choose one large filler flower, one statement flower, one accent flower, and one green to make a lush, full bouquet. If you need more guidance, follow these flower-arranging hacks.

Amazon
Ribbed Vase
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Anthropologie
Colorblock Vase
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Terrain
Fresh Larkspur Bunch
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Bud Vases
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4. Throw on some music

Music sets the ambiance and tone of your get-together. If you’re building your own playlist, keep in mind that your playlist should taper down into more relaxing, smooth music as the night progresses. Aim to have you playlist length around two hours or however long your event is planned to go for. If you’re looking for a curated playlist you can shuffle through, Spotify is a great place to find ones any taste of music or evening. In a crunch? Here are a few of our favorites:

timeline for hosting

Source: Alaina Kaz

5. Clean the guest bathroom

Make sure your bathroom is sparkly clean by scrubbing the sink and toilet and placing out fresh hand towels for your guests. You’ll also want to stock up and set out extra toilet paper, extra towels, and a full soap bottle so they have everything they need at the ready. If you want to go the extra mile, place tampons and pads in a basket as well as setting out a room freshening spray.

6. Do one final tidy up

Setting up your event can oftentimes be chaotic and interrupted, so you’ll want to make sure you do one more final pass-through of your space before guests arrive. After you’ve deep-cleaned your hosting space and guest bathroom, you’ll want to pick up any lingering miscellaneous items that are scattered around your kitchen, living room, dining room, bathroom, entryway, and entryway closet. And, while you’re in the closet, don’t forget to clear out a space for guests’ shoes, coats, and purses.

timeline for hosting

Source: Alaina Kaz

7. Prepare your food spread

The sweet spot is prepping most of your spread the day before and about one or two recipes the morning of your event so you’re not racing around the kitchen. Determine which ones you can meal prep ahead of time after looking over your full menu. We always recommend placing food out around 15 minutes before your guests are expected to arrive since you can guarantee that nine times out of 10 someone will show up earlier than you expect.

8. Set out serving ware

Gather your plates, utensils, napkins, drinkware, and serving dishes, and place them out the night before or first thing in the morning so you can focus on cooking and cleaning. Consider how many people you have and how many dishes you’re serving to determine how much serving ware you need. When it comes to setting the table, always remember: forks go on the left side over a napkin and your knife and spoon go on the right side, the knife closest to the plate and spoon furthest away.

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Muse White Wine Glass Set
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Black Marble Board
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Williams Sonoma
Octagonal Serving Platter
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Anthropologie
Bistro Tile Small Plates, Set of 4
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9. Empty the dishwasher

Your future self will thank you later with this tip. Run your dishwasher with any lingering items a few hours before your event begins so they have enough time to dry. Then, stow them in their rightful spot so you can easily place dirty dishes right into the dishwasher once your guests say their goodbyes. Your dishwasher will do the heavy lifting while you clean up the rest of your party later that evening.

10. Grab some ice

Last, but certainly not least, don’t forget ice! This task can easily fall off your to-do list (or if you’re like me, you forget until you’re frantically making ice cubes a half hour before guests arrive). We recommend snagging these early the morning of and storing them in the freezer. If you don’t have the space, you can keep extra in an insulated cooler. If you don’t have a cooler or room, you can ask your partner or a helpful friend (you know the one always offering to bring something) to bring extra ice to the party.

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