Whether you are an experienced Host or someone who is just thinking of entertaining at home the Fall season is by far your best bet. Until recently, I hosted my annual get together of about 25-35 people every year without fail in October…and let me tell you why.
Not only is Fall the BEST time of year but October is only host to one festive holiday… Halloween. And that falls at the very end of the month. So, you are left with an entire 30 days to do…WHATEVER!
It’s not like September, November, or December. September is busy with back to school, Fall sports, and it’s still mainly a Summer month… November starts to get pretty cold and in todays day and age most people are already in Christmas mode and wanting to spend their weekends shopping…and let us NOT forget Thanksgiving (my favorite) and that pesky and ANNOYING black Friday…THEN, when you finally get to December, Christmas and the Holiday season are in full swing with family and work parties and MORE shopping. So, in other words, having a social gathering of any kind in these months is a big risk and you will be fighting to get any of your guests to show up.
When I host a party, I prefer my guests to WANT to be there. What I mean is, if there are a million other things going on they are more than likely doing a “charitable show up” and popping in just to make an appearance. No no no no ….not good for me. I want them 100%. I want them showing up and STAYING and relaxing and having FUN…and not thinking of where else they need to be.
So when picking a date, be strategic. Talk to perspective guests and get an idea of what day of the month is good for them. Let’s face it…entertaining is a lot of work. It’s a labor of love for someone like me, I do LOVE it, but even I don’t want to put in all that work and expense to only have 1/3 of my guest list show. Also, be mindful of the day of the week you pick. I ALWAYS recommend a Saturday evening. Friday, people are usually tired and need to unwind from the week.. Sunday is.. well.. SUNDAY.. and weekdays are just too busy for most. A Saturday evening is usually perfect. Parents can go to soccer or football games..do their shopping, cleaning, appointments etc. and have plenty of time to get the kids situated and pull themselves together for the evening.
My biggest and MOST important tip for entertaining…listening?? Because it’s REALLY important and my golden rule.. “If you CAN do it ahead..DO IT!” No exceptions. It is the only way you will host a successful and fun event. There is nothing worse than showing up to a party and the Host/Hostess is frazzled, stressed and unorganized. Then your guests feel bad because they want YOU to have fun too. Heck, I WANT to have fun at my parties.. I WANT to enjoy the fruits of my labor and my guests.
So here’s what you do…
I suggest you take the Friday off before the big Saturday. It really is necessary if you can swing it. You will want to send out your invites 2-4 weeks ahead of time. And these days any form of invites are acceptable…social media, text, email. I still prefer mailing out my invitations. I feel it’s more personal and gives them something tangible to hold on to.
Start a notebook of notes and to-do lists. Start your lists a month before. Have to-do’s per week and per day. Have your menu planned along with your shopping list. I recommend choosing all appetizers and finger foods that can be made ahead. People prefer munching at social gatherings and not heavy elaborate meals. So save yourself all that work.
Plan your beverages. I like to have one signature cocktail…usually something fun. Then I add a beer and wine selection all ready to go and chilled in big beverage tins. I also like to place beverages in numerous places so guests don’t have to go far when they are thirsty. And don’t forget water, coffee, and soft drinks.
By the time the Friday before the big day comes you should have everything in place, decorated, prepared, cleaned, and arranged by that evening. Only the finishing touches, food set up, filling bins with ice, and lighting candles should be left for Saturday. **My Famous Wine Cocktail
You as the Host/Hostess should be dressed and ready by 1 hour before your guests are due to arrive. Then you walk around with a cocktail in your hand (I recommend having 2 before guests arrive 😉 ), turn on the music you have chosen for the evening, and do a last check of your preparations and do any needed finishing touches. When your guests come knocking you should be calm, happy and ready to have a great time! Not running around prepping and fixing everything…**My Chunky Meatballs
As for all the décor and the pretties? I just want everything to look SPECTACULAR when my guests walk in.. that first impression…that first look… then after that.. WHO CARES! Let it get messed up! Let’s just have fun and enjoy each other.. THAT is what Sunday will be for (and probably the whole next week Lol). Clean up has no deadlines anyway 🙂
So, October most assuredly gets my vote for the best time to plan an event. And don’t forget about how perfect it is for fireside gatherings. Your event can be inside AND outside. And I bet you won’t have to put up with that lovely humidity!
I also LOVE to always have a theme. Seems to just make everything more fun and festive. I will be posting all my tips for themes in my next article.
If you have ever thought of hosting or are a pro at it consider the amazing month of October in this GLORIOUS Fall season to host your event, big or small. You won’t regret it. My most memorable parties have been in October and I plan to have many more..