I spent Thanksgiving with Dave and Alexis. Until I arrived, I had completely forgotten that they'd moved since the last time I'd been at their home, two Thanksgivings ago. Couple Dave's culinary prowess with Alexis's skill in party throwing (she has honed her people skills as a producer on Glee) and you get a home that invites you in and encourages you to stay. These two really know how to throw a party that starts early, ends late and is always fun. Their secrets, after the jump!
Multiple drink stations and food stations: It's a fact: people naturally crowd around the food and drinks. In order to keep 'em moving around and not crowded in one place (or having everyone trying to crowd into your miniscule kitchen), break up your food and drink into multiple stations. This way, you'll get people moving all over the house.
Rethink how your your house is configured: The screen from a window that looks out onto the backyard was removed. It's now a handy pass through that opens up the living room to the "dead space" that was the pathway to the garden. Don't be afraid to move your furniture around to make it more guest friendly whether that's creating conversation areas or rolling up the rugs to clear a dance floor. And don't forget about the bedroom. Though many people use it for coats (a great idea if you don't have another option), what about pushing the bed against one wall and piling it with pillows to make a divan and a second conversation spot for guests who might want to talk outside the main action of the party?
Decorate your bathroom: Harsh lighting can be a quick killer of anyone's self-esteem. A string of holiday lights around the bathroom mirror provided enough light to check for make up smears and fix your hair but was still dim enough that any imperfections were glossed over. Candles, flowers, liquid soap, a stack of single use towels are all things to consider in your bathroom when you're having people over.
Consider games or a special drink for later in the evening: After the main event, whether that's dinner or cake, many people take it as their cue to depart. Encourage them to stick around by introducing a fun game or a special drink. Dave opened up a bottle of Fernet Branca, insisting everyone take a glass for their digestion. The bitter (but ultimately effective) liquer had everyone talking; later, Alexis pulled out a game of Taboo, bringing out everyone's competitive spirit.
Have something for people to take home: Gift bags are not just for little kids or corporate events! While Thanksgiving naturally invites guests to bring home leftovers, you might want to consider other small tokens to thank guests for coming.
Images: Abigail Stone