When entertaining, there are two secrets to a host’s success: An ability to bring together people and create lasting memories, and the foresight to see — and resolve — problems before they arise. Once a week, our resident experts Mindy Lockard and Coryanne Ettiene will weigh in with helpful advice to help the modern host tackle even the stickiest of situations with grace. Have a question you want answered? Send us an email with your dilemma, and then check back every week for new tips and advice.
This week’s question:
My husband and I are having several friends from college over for the weekend. Although it's been many years since our undergrad days, sometimes when we get together it can get a little wild. I'm not trying to be a wet blanket, but I really don't want it to be a college party... What can I do to keep it tame but still fun?
Mindy: As a host or hostess, you have the privilege of setting the tone for the weekend, and a well-planned schedule will be sure to help keep everyone on their best behavior. Serving a signature cocktail for dinner instead of an open bar will also reduce the chance your guests’ behavior will turn rowdy. Plan time to reminisce with pictures, videos, and stories, as well. This will help people to enjoy old memories without feeling they need to recreate them. Also, having a schedule of activities will reduce the amount of "free time," and keep your guests from slipping back into old habits... If you know what I mean.
Coryanne: Any weekend where classmates gather has the possibility of turning into a repeat of your college days. A sure-fire way to curb the enthusiasm for an all-night party is to plan morning activities your guests won’t want to miss. Getting your guests up early — maybe eight-thirty vs. noon — over the weekend to shop a local farmers market or have breakfast at a local hot-spot ensures a fairly reasonable bed time without having to lay down any strict weekend rules. Another option is purposely keep your bar stocked at a minimum. One of the best ways to end a party is to run out of booze (here are some more). Just be sure you have plenty of food on hand to compensate for the lack of cocktails, otherwise they are likely to think your hospitality is lacking.
About Our Experts: Mindy Lockard is The Gracious Girl and offers traditional etiquette advice with a modern gracious twist. Coryanne Ettiene believes entertaining at home should be an everyday affair; she shares contemporary advice for modern living at Housewife Bliss.