Your Must-Read Advice for Throwing the Best Party Ever

Apartment Therapy's Guide to the Perfect Summer

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We've had so much fun bringing you all the tips and inspiration we think you'll need to host a summer gathering, whether you choose to host a backyard barbecue or movie night, a brunch, a cocktail party or some other kind of gathering that brings together your favorite friends. But our favorite part of bringing you ideas this summer? Hearing about your tips and experience with throwing a party.

We gathered our favorite advice from Apartment Therapy users' comments from all of our Guide to the Perfect Summer posts:

Paper invites vs. digital invites

While the eternal debate between "real" paper invites and more common digital invites rages on, it seems like a best of both worlds approach might be the best way to get the word out about your party:

"We like to do both paper and Facebook invitations. I agree that everyone loves getting "real" mail and it makes our party a little special. But the Facebook notifications are wonderful!" — LibbyP

Practical party tips anyone can use

User StephinMidtownATL was a gold mine of great party advice and killer hosting tips.

On how to keep your guests from sweating:

"Turn on the air conditioner now — it'll be harder to keep the room at a low temp later when everyone is there. And a cooler room feels cleaner and more appealing. Or if it's cool outside, open the doors and windows —not only is it good ambiance, but letting the outside in can be your excuse if things are a little dusty."

On how to fake a clean house when you don't have a lot of time:

"Concentrate on cleaning areas where guests will be alone, i.e., the bathroom. That's where they'll notice things most. If you truly don't have time for a good cleaning, soaking cotton balls in pine or lemon cleaner and hide them in places they can be smelled, but not seen! Just the scent of cleaner will make everything SEEM spiffy even if it isn't."

An interesting tip about music volume:

"A bar-owner friend gave me this tip: Start with the music louder and decrease the volume as more guests arrive. Most people do the opposite, and people wind up shouting over the music."

Here's your pre-party cleaning checklist

Courtesy of MaedchenT, here's what you should get clean before a gathering:

  • Dust cobwebs away (look at rooms in different lighting and angles).
  • Clean any glass from eye level down that gets seen.
  • Put away any clutter or junk.
  • General dust, vacuum, mops floors.
  • Clean your bathroom (extra toilet paper, soap, guest towels & a candle).
  • Clean your kitchen (appliances, sink, wipe surfaces/handles).
  • Clean any other room that guests will be in.
  • Plan furniture re-arranging, if necessary to facilitate socializing.
  • Plan lighting (candles for warmth/ darkness for areas not in use).
  • Clean any glassware that hasn't been used for a while.
  • Pull out any dishes/utensils that you may need.
  • Outside: sweep, dust, hose down, & wipe dry whatever will be seen & used. (Remove clutter, and bring additional seating if necessary.)

And don't forget to take care of yourself first

How to clean yourself up before a party, also from MaedchenT

Take time for yourself to freshen-up before your guests arrive.
1. Pour yourself a drink. (Mineral water or something more...you will drink this during getting ready.)
2. Take a quick rinse/shower from the neck down.
3. Get dressed and accessorize.

And here's how to instantly look like a carefree and friendly host, thanks to StephinMidtownATL:

"Pour yourself a drink 10 minutes before everyone gets there. There's nothing more inviting than a hostess who answers with a smile on her face and a drink in her hand. Plus if you don't do if beforehand, you'll never have time once everyone arrives."

And finally, just throw a party already.

Still hesitating about throwing a party for some reason? (You might also want to check out this post first: No More Entertaining Excuses! Answers to the Biggest Entertaining Roadblocks). But LibbyP has the final word:

"I've thrown or hostessed four parties in the past two weeks, two of which were at my house. We threw a grad party for my daughter on Friday — so much fun! I usually work myself into a tizzy before a party but didn't this time — even when I spilled baked bean juice all over myself just minutes before the start time. Had over 100 people and it was really enjoyable.

I do think that practice makes perfect. Just throw the darn party. Don't worry too much. Learn but don't stress over your mistakes. Throw another one. Invite fun people who can go with the flow. Throw another party. Repeat."

More posts in this series

Host a Fun & Friendly Gathering

(Image credits: A Pizza Party on the Porch)