Party Planner
Dec 15, 2010

5 party rules to live by

By: Lauren McPhillips
Style at Home
Party Planner
Dec 15, 2010

5 party rules to live by

By: Lauren McPhillips
This past weekend I held the first party in my new house, even though I moved in last June {hey, I like a house to look nice before it's 'warmed'}. I'm a little detail-oriented {read: obsessive-compulsive} when it comes to my home and having people over, and I like everything to be perfect -- lighting, music, food and all-around vibe. Below are five rules I follow for making a soiree a surefire hit -- actually, four tips for the host and one very important tip for the guest. 1 Serve a signature drink. Even if it's just a bit of bubbly, make sure your guests enter your party with a drink waiting for them. My guest list was made up of 12 close girlfriends, so I picked up some great PC Home stemless wine glasses {$9 for 4} and filled them with frozen cranberries, sparkling Wolf Blass, and a little bit of sparkling pomegranate juice. It's a great way for everyone to feel relaxed and settled upon entering your home, rather than buzzing about the kitchen, trying to get a drink. 2 Keep dietary needs in mind. There is nothing worse than going to a party whilst being on a diet -- it's a nightmare. Keep in mind that some of your guests may have dietary restrictions, so try to create a menu that accommodates them. It doesn't mean you have to stray away from making buttery shortbread or scrumptious pastries, but introduce some non-dairy and low-fat options as well. I made a big bowl of fruit salad, but I've also just discovered Baskin Robbins' BRight Choices ice cream, which are creamy sorbets and ice creams that range from 90-160 calories per serving and have dairy-free options as well. And they are good -- think Butter Almond Crunch and Raspberry Cheese Louise. 3 Keep your bathroom fully stocked. You want your guests to feel at home in your house, so ensure that the bathroom is fully stocked with any toiletries they may need. Set up a display on the vanity or a small table including items like hairspray, gum, hand cream and anything else your guests might require. I like to leave a bottle of perfume {that pretty gold bottle is Twirl by Kate Spade -- my new fave} and a little shimmer to freshen up {that pretty pink bottle is a subtle powder shimmer from The Body Shop -- also my new fave}. And please -- please! -- don't forget to stock your bathroom with toilet paper. There is nothing more embarrassing for your guest than having to pull their host aside and ask for some TP. Mor-ti-fy-ing. 4 Don't send your guests home empty-handed. You want your party to be a success from start to finish, so when your guests are heading home for the night, surprise them with a little party favour. You don't have to spend a fortune on elaborate gifts -- just give them something that says 'thanks' for coming to your bash. I bought white paper craft bags and filled each with some chocolates, a piece of homemade shortbread and a lip gloss from Joe Fresh. Tied up in a pretty bow and a letterpressed gift tag makes it a sweet treat that your guests won't forget. 5 As a guest, always bring something for the host. As a guest, all you're required to do is show up and have a good time. Your host, however, has been spending a lot of time and money prepping for the party. To thank them, always bring a hostess gift with you, whether it's a bottle of nice wine or something more personal {one of my friends brought a beautiful box of signature soaps from the Hudson's Bay Collection, knowing I'd swoon over the packaging}. If you're strapped for cash, head over to Loblaws and pick up a set of baker's gift loaf pans from PC Home {$10 for 6}. These cardboard loaf pans are lined with silicone, meaning you can pour your banana bread or pound cake mix right in, shove in the oven, then tie up with a pretty bow to give to your host. What are your surefire party tips? xo, Lauren
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5 party rules to live by