Secrets of a Successful Party

Reader Intelligence Report

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Throwing a party is supposed to be fun, right? But so much anxiety and stress can build up around the occasion for many party-throwers (and goers). Here, we've compiled readers' best and brightest tips for successful parties:

ON HOUSE PREP:

gquaker: I like having a party when I have a house guest. The house is already clean, and I have a buddy to help clear dishes. And it is already a "party" before the first non-residential guest arrives, which puts me and my guests at ease.

ohjodi: Put extra toilet paper in an obvious place, as well as the plunger.

alyrae: Set the table the night before.

kimg924: Hire a housecleaner before, and get the carpets steam cleaned after. You'll thank yourself for the treat.

ON FOOD AND DRINK:

Lisa (Montreal): Every meal I serve is buffet style. Parties shouldn't stress you out.

kiljoywashere: Make as much as possible the night before. This works especially well with soups, desserts, and other things that benefit from a day in the fridge.

Kimberlina: I always have a signature cocktail. 90% of the people go for the cocktail, and it seems to make for a merry event.

MsAmanda: Themed food or just something people wouldn't make for themselves on a Saturday night is always fun.

ON ATMOSPHERE:

lemonade fish: Some kind of activity — anything from horseshoes to strip poker to face painting to water balloon fights. All depends on your crowd... it's nice to have something to do to help the evening along.

Maggiempbp: Good lighting — dim enough that people don't feel like they're being interrogated, but light enough so people don't trip over the cat... and good music!

rainyday: Have nice music in the background, especially at first when the early birds arrive.

azure: I find it nice in the middle of the party to make a general toast and thank everyone for coming.

MsAmanda: Fake mustaches, charades, water balloon toss, some type of contest, good music.

Jessimuhka: Drinks and food on opposite sides of the party area keeps people moving and mingling. I usually shoot for enough chairs for about 2/3rds to 3/4ths of the guest list, so that there is healthy rotation and chair poaching.

What are your best tips?

(Image credits: Gabriela Herman)

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Regina is an architect who lives with her husband and children in Lawrence, KS. As a LEED Accredited Professional and longtime contributor to Apartment Therapy and The Kitchn, her focus is on healthy, sustainable living through design.