My top tips for throwing a party – whether that’s 8 people or 18 – is all about getting your guests to get involved and keeping things SIMPLE.
Bring a bottle
You don’t need to be making gin and tonic with a twist for 20 – if your guests bring a bottle, as most people always do, the law of parties means that you will always end up with pretty much as many bottles as you served in the first place.
Make a communal cocktail
If you really want to pop something on the table to water your guests, try making a punch that everyone can help add to as they arrive. Tell them it’s a lucky punch so they just need to bring a dark or a white spirit and fruit juice.
If you are house proud then just enforce the bubbles only rule – whether its Prosecco or champagne – keep it bubbly (maybe with a touch of cordial to add in to glasses) and I promise everyone will be happy!
For the non-alcoholic option I always serve elderflower cordial with mineral water, loads of ice and lots of mint. Its so fresh, it will make every party go off with a zing in its step – even a tee-total one!
Setting the table, terrace/garden or your living room for a party is a magical way to get the mood just right. Fresh flowers – either from a florist or just picked from the garden in a small jar – are a fabulous way to make things sing for an event.
Fresh flowers are ideal from Spring to Summer but equally bare twigs, fresh rosemary, branches and pine cones dressed with a bit of sparkle are great to use from October onwards through all those dark winter months.
Mix and match
You don’t need matching cutlery or tableware – you can pick up some beautiful platters and bowls from flea markets for next to nothing. Stash them away in a cupboard and then pull them out for your party and hey presto – you will look like a prop stylist has popped into set your whole event up.
If you use linens then take the time to iron them – its so simple but it makes guests know you care – I would rather have a paper napkin any day than some creased old bit of cloth sitting on my lap.
Keep everyone watered
Make sure you have enough chairs, and enough glasses and lots of bottles of water on the go at all times – no-one wants to have to clear up the drunk at the end of the night!
Don’t let throwing a bigger dinner or event become a headache . And remember: you are the host. Your guests will look to you for the lead – if you aren’t having fun and socializing with everyone, then how can they? If the host or hostess is having fun, so will your guests. I guarantee the party will always go with a swing.