How To Entertain Guests At Home - Tips For Hosting At Home
Hosting an event in your home, whether big or small, can be a rewarding and exhilarating experience. With a little effort - and a lot of love - you can delight your guests with welcoming spaces, opportunities for connection and personalized details that invite unforgettable moments. With tips from world-renowned home entertaining expert and designer, Fran Berger, you too can learn to host extraordinary occasions in your space.
Crafting an Inviting Atmosphere
Setting the Tone with Home Fragrance and Lighting
Set the overall atmosphere of your space by introducing different modes of lighting and scents, such as:
- Selecting scented, soy candles or essential oil diffusers for an added aroma
- Utilizing natural and artificial lighting inside and outdoors to set the mood
- Creating ambiance with unique lighting like fairy lights, lanterns, or lamps
Creating Cozy and Comfortable Seating Arrangements
Give your guests a space where they can sit and converse comfortably. First, arrange the furniture for optimal flow so that guests do not have to maneuver around tables and chairs throughout the space. Then, provide extra cushions and throw pillows for added comfort. Ensure that the furniture is clean by vacuuming or wiping it down beforehand.
You can also create designated conversation areas throughout your home to encourage sparsity and avoid overcrowded spaces.
Choosing a Harmonious Color Scheme and Décor
Styling your home for an event can elevate the atmosphere, encourage conversation and invite your guests into a welcoming environment. You can do this by:
- Picking complementary colors
- Balancing patterns and textures
- Incorporating seasonal or thematic decorations
While you do not have to redesign your home, adding these little details will help you create the space you envision, not only for your event but for other memorable moments to come.
Planning Your Event to Perfection
Selecting a Theme to Elevate the Experience
Choosing a theme for your event can elevate the experience and build anticipation for your guests, from receiving the invitation in their mailbox to the moment they walk through your front door. Consider these tips for hosting a themed party:
- Deciding on a theme based on the occasion or guest preferences - Pick a theme that will resonate with your guests. Consider the time of year (seasonal theme) or upcoming holidays (New Year’s Eve), to inspire your guests to get excited about celebrating. You can also get creative by choosing a theme that guests can also influence by what they wear, such as a disco night, roaring twenties or casino night.
- Integrating the theme into invitations, décor, and activities - Set the mood of the event by incorporating the theme into everything, from the invitation design to the table centerpieces, activities, and even the drinks and food that will be served.
- Keeping the theme cohesive throughout the event - By adding these little details surrounding the theme throughout your event, it helps to keep your guests engaged in the experience, as well as encourage fluid conversation a as the celebration goes on.
Mastering the Art of the Invitation
The success of your hosting starts with an invitation. A well-designed invitation can increase the interest and excitement of your upcoming event. Make sure the invitation communicates the event details, including:
- When the event takes place (time and date)
- Where the event takes place (location or address)
- The theme of the event and any dress requirements
- RSVP expectations and contact information
Curating a Menu that Delights the Senses
If a menu is necessary for your event, follow these tips for a successful dining experience:
- Designing a menu with variety and balance - Keep it simple, with a few handhelds and entrees to choose from. Avoid putting too many items on the menu, as this can cause confusion and indecisiveness.
- Pairing dishes with appropriate beverages - Consider the flavors that pair best with the drink options. Offer a nice balance of tastes that will create an overall experience for your guests. Read Fran’s recommendations for the best red and white wine pairings.
Preparing Your Space for Guests' Needs and Comfort
Having an organized space not only creates an inviting atmosphere for your guests but also makes the clean-up less overwhelming for you. To prepare your space for your next gathering, work in the areas that will most likely be used, such as:
- Decluttering and cleaning the hosting area -Start with the area(s) that your guests will spend most of their time gathering. Whether it’s the kitchen, the living room, or the back patio, take the time to put away unnecessary items, wipe down tables, and make sure there is enough seating for everyone.
- Designating areas for coats, bags, and shoes - Depending on the weather, avoid dragging dirt or dripping water through your house by designating areas for your guests to hang their coats and place their shoes. Consider an area that is near the front door, is easily accessible, and is simple for you to clean.
- Providing accessible restrooms and amenities - The most common question a guest may ask you if it’s their first time visiting your home: “Where is your bathroom?” Be prepared to offer this space of privacy by cleaning it thoroughly and having amenities available, such as freshly laundered towels, hand soap, and toilet paper.
Engaging and Memorable Activities
Hosting a variety of activities at your event can build connections and create memorable moments for gatherings of every kind.
Icebreakers to Spark Conversation and Connection
Icebreakers are facilitated group activities to help generate conversations and encourage shared experiences. Icebreakers can be as simple as introducing one’s name and favorite color to as interactive as lining up from youngest to oldest based on birthdays. Utilize open-ended questions in different ways to help find a common interest between guests.
Delightful Games for Various Group Sizes
When it comes to choosing games to play at your event, there are a few factors to take into consideration:
- The number of people who will be participating
- The average age of the participants
- The space you will have to conduct the activities
Offer a mix of traditional and modern games to ensure they are inclusive and enjoyable for everyone. You can also tailor the games to guests’ interests and abilities.
Music and Entertainment to Set the Mood
Music can set any mood for an event. From sipping your bubbly to a classy, jazz band tune or breaking out the dance moves with a catchy, hit pop song, music has the power to transform the experience. Consider these options to help choose the right music and entertainment for your occasion:
- Crafting playlists that complement the event's theme - Use Apple Music, Spotify or Pandora to make a playlist that adds to the themed environment. Consider artists and genres that best influence the way your guests should feel.
- Providing live or recorded music options - If you have the space and headcount for a live band or DJ, hiring local artists in your area helps build connections and supports small businesses.
- Offering alternative entertainment, such as movies or performances - If there is a film dedicated to your theme (Grease, Top Gun, etc.), you can play the movie during your event, with or without the volume on to set the mood and keep the theme cohesive throughout your home. You can even schedule a performance to entertain your guests, like an acapella group, a quartet or a small acting group.
Personalizing the Experience for Your Guests
Go above and beyond with your hosting duties by personalizing the experience for your guests. These special, personal details will not go unrecognized and your guests will appreciate the extra effort.
Crafting Individualized Party Favors
Delight your guests with personalized party favors. Select meaningful items to show your appreciation. Have them labeled or monogrammed with names or initials, if applicable. Present them in attractive packaging that matches the theme of the event.
Considering Dietary Preferences and Restrictions
When serving food at your event, whether an intimate dinner party or an open-house summer extravaganza, you will want to accommodate all of your guests’ needs, especially those with dietary restrictions. To make sure you have something to offer everyone, add each of these things to your to-do list:
- Gathering information about guests' dietary needs in advance - Consider putting this in the RSVP section of the invitation so guests can let you know ahead of time if they have any food allergies or preferences.
- Offering a variety of dishes to accommodate diverse preferences - If you decide not to ask guests in advance, be sure to offer a variety of dishes, such as nut-free and vegetarian options to help accommodate diverse preferences.
- Labeling foods with allergen and dietary information - Take it one step further by creating labels for the appetizers and dishes to let guests know what is available to them.
Enhancing Your Skills as a Host
Expanding Your Culinary and Mixology Repertoire
A host is only as good as their last event! There is always room to expand your hosting skills, from an intimate soiree in your kitchen to a large al fresco gathering by your pool, you can learn how to mix, dice, arrange and serve in ways you may not have known before. Broaden your culinary repertoire by:
- Experimenting with new recipes and techniques
- Taking cooking or cocktail-making classes
- Seeking out personalized coaching or mentoring
- Practicing skills through regular hosting opportunities
“Entertaining should be an incomparable experience, created with passion.” - Fran Berger
With the guidance and expert advice in this article, you can achieve your hosting dreams to curate delightful and memorable experiences within your home.
Raise the spirit of any occasion with Fran Berger’s Signature Glassware collection. From a sophisticated girls’ night-in to the most patriotic 4th of July on the block, these beautifully designed and crafted glasses are sure to elevate your event. Shop the collections on the Fran Berger Living website today and make your next event one to remember.