We believe the perfect party experience is achieved when people simply feel good, relaxed, and open to connecting with others. Follow these important tips and free your guests’ senses for a fabulous and memorable experience:
1. Entertain not to impress, but to address, and enjoy your guests. Entertaining in your home is an opportunity to treat your friends and family to a special and personal experience—treat it as such.
2. Devise a plan to manage your time and tasks so you’re not overwhelmed or unprepared for your guests. If you plan carefully, you can prepare everything ahead of time and be a guest at your own party.
3. We believe the most effective—and fun—way to approach entertaining is to start with a plan to stimulate the five senses. Pay attention to all the elements of your party and make sure they enhance, not detract from, each one. Consider it a symphony for the senses: the food, the tablescape, the music, the lighting, etc. If you achieve the right balance, your guests’ senses will be satisfied, resulting in relaxed and happy guests and the perfect party environment!
To help you address your guests and their senses, here are some “good sense” tips to stimulate the five senses when entertaining:
• Palate: Coordinate your cocktail, wine, and menu selections. Keep it simple and use fresh ingredients whenever possible. Don’t experiment at your party. Stick with reliable recipes. Prepare as much as you can ahead of time.
• Vision: Seeing is feeling. Serve your guests a beautiful signature cocktail as they arrive. This not only relaxes your guests, but gives them a visual signal of things to come. Lighting greatly affects the vibe of your party, so plan accordingly. While candlelight is always best for night, most times it does not cast enough light for dining. Invest in dimmer switches for your dining and living rooms. They will help create the perfect mood while maintaining the ambience of candlelight.
• Aroma: Allow a “good” food smell to waft through the air. “Smell memory” is powerful and can instantly create a warm feeling associated with a fond memory of a place or time. The smell of cotton candy, for example, can bring us back to memories of being a child at a summer fair. Make sure to buy unscented candles to avoid overpowering the senses. The exception to this rule of thumb is in your bathroom.
• Acoustics: Music is instrumental. Prepare your music mix in advance and coordinate it with the vibe of your party. Music has the incredible power to relax, excite, inspire, and transport people to another place mentally.
• Feel: Connected to your guests. Won’t your guests feel special knowing their host especially prepared this party just for them? Make time for conversation and show your guests that you’re happy they’re in your home sharing time with you.
Bonus Tip: Begin and end on a personal note. Make your guests feel extra special by sending a hand written invitation and end with a keepsake from the evening. Gestures like these make a further personal connection between you and your guests.
Dawn Sandomeno and Elizabeth Mascali, co-founders of Party Bluprints Inc. and The Party Bluprints Blog are lifestyle and entertaining experts and the authors of Plan to Party. Their motto “There’s no place like home for a party!”