5 Tips to Being the Perfect Host

Celebrated host and restaurateur Liza Utter shares her best advice
Staff Writer
Liza's party

Liza Utter

Liza's party

One of the biggest party fouls hosts make is focusing too much on the doing — the meal, the tasks, setting the table, the superficial things — that they lose touch with the real reason they are getting everyone together in the first place. Are you gathering your friends together to admire your beautiful flower arrangements or are you longing to bring dear friends together for some much needed fun and connection. While the decor, design, planning and food are all a vital part of a party, it is the host who makes or breaks the party's success.  

When I was still at my first restaurant, La Cachette in Santa Monica, my guests would walk in for the first time a little stiff, perhaps intimidated by the formal surroundings — but it was my job to show them a good time by disarming them by being approachable and real. Even if I didn't know you, I would greet you with a big smile and a hug. I could feel their pretenses melt away in my arms. As a host, you set the tone and feel for the party. But if you want your guests to feel good, you need to feel good first!


My Five Tips to Being the Perfect Host:

1. First get yourself in the party spirit! What kind of mindset are you in? The secret to being a good host is to get yourself in a place where you feel good and are ready and excited to open your home to your guests.

2. Trust yourself to be a confident host. This is key.

3. Set the tone for the party by having fun. Long after the party ends, your guests will remember the energy you set for the gathering and how the joy spread from guest to guest. This is where many hosts fall into problems, setting themselves up for failure by taking on more than they can handle or simply not “feeling” it.

4. Disarm and welcome guests by being warm, approachable, and genuine. Greet them with a smile on your face, maybe handing them a cocktail. Then, invite them to make themselves feel comfortable and have fun, too.

5. Make a point of letting each guest know how thrilled you are that they are there with you. Remember, it’s the people that make the party, not the stuff. Focus on yourself, the guests, having a good time, sharing the best of you, and bringing out the best in others. In the end, these are the party favors that last.

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