So you’ve forgone the holiday travel blitz in order to host the festive fete in your home, but you have no idea what to do to make everyone feel welcome and wanted. Never fear; you’re not the only one to have reservations about party planning. We turned to the Cooking Channel’s haute hostesses, Alie Ward and Georgia Hardstark for a few quick tips to transform your party into a night your guests will never forget.
It’s All About Ambiance – Create an atmosphere where you and your guests feel welcome and special. “Lighting is so important. Think about the lighting and whether or not it’s cozy and makes people feel comfortable,” Hardstark explained. “Even when I just sit down with a friend over takeout I will light candles because we’re sitting down to dinner and it kind of a cool, sacred thing. If there’s candle light, it always feels like a party.”
And don’t forget some good tunes! Feel free to have your hippest friend curate a customized playlist for the event. “Spotify and Pandora are fun because sometimes you might start out the night in a Johnny Cash mood and you end in a Fiona Apple or Katy Perry dance party.”
Don’t Be Afraid of Disaster – No good party is without its share of flaws, so don’t be afraid to make mistakes. The girls have their fair share of disaster stories, proving that you can learn from your mistakes. “Thing always go wrong at a party,” Hardstark said. “Every single party I’ve thrown there’s been something that doesn’t turn out like you wanted.” Ward added: “You become better by failing. You get good by not having enough wine one time and realizing you should by X amount next time. It’s all about how you roll with it.”
Warm Them Up with a Hot Cocktail – A hot cocktail that incorporate hot chocolate, coffee, tea, or chai can be just the thing to greet your guests with as they come out of the cold, stick with earthy, aromatic flavors that give them that cozy feeling. “It’s exciting when you’re chilly out and you get a nice mug of something.”
Be Open to Accepting Help – There’s no need to stress when good party guests are around top lend a hand. “As a party guest, the first thing I do when I walk in is go to the kitchen and ask, ‘What can I do?’” Hardstark offered. “ And don’t even wait for someone to ask. Like if you see some celery that has not been cut up, ask, ‘Can I cut this?’ Everyone needs help, but some people are afraid to ask for it.” Also, if you didn’t being a gift, stay after to help clean up."
Keep Coffee on Hand – While a signature cocktail is the perfect way to welcome a guest, you can’t allow them to leave too tipsy. While many are afraid of the French press, the girls’ new Nescafe Dolce Gusto’s array of flavors keeps the guests happy and caffeinated as the party begins to wind down. “We’re friends with a lot of comedians too, and comedians are notorious snarky when it comes to bad coffee. They get really excited about the coffee and cocktails,” Ward revealed.
“They drink a lot of burnt black coffee, so they’re excited and it shows you want them to stay,” Hardstark added.