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20 Tips to Throwing a Stress-Free Party

20 Tips to Throwing a Stress-Free Party


Spring is here, and whether it’s a wedding or baby shower, Easter dinner or a graduation party, chances are you’ll be entertaining guests at some point in the next few months. Whether that planning is enjoyable or makes you want to pull your hair out is dependent on the choices you make. Thankfully, COMO Living’s advisory board is here to help, offering their best tips and tricks for throwing a killer party while maintaining your sanity.

  • Let your guests bring something! People feel good when they can contribute to the meal, just be sure to give them some parameters so they don’t stress about what you want. —Jill Orr
  • Resist the temptation to make your most elaborate dish. Go with simple things you know you can handle. —Stacie Pottinger
  • Establish a beverage station separate from the food, so guests can serve themselves and traffic flows well. —Kathy Lou Neale
  • For happy hours, opt for tapas-sized plates (6 inches). They encourage mingling rather than sitting down and can easily be balanced on top of a drink glass to allow guests to shake hands, hug, etc. —Anne Tuckley
  • Group text your friends and ask each person to pick a carry-out item from their favorite restaurant, then ask them to “carry it in.” —Carolyn Paris
  • When decorating for a party, have a staple gun and 3M Command strips on hand. They are the keys to creating something magical! —Barbie Banks
  • Create a menu list on a chalkboard or whiteboard for guests to see. It works for drinks and cocktails or a list of the appetizers. —Kathy Lou Neale
  • Do not clean your house beforehand, just pick things up a bit. You will need a cleaning afterward and there’s no reason to do it twice. —Nancy Allison
  • Hire out — I hire Benjamin with Peachtree Catering. (It helps having a chef as a son!) —Ann Merrifield
  • You set the tone for the entire event, so do whatever you can to get into a good frame of mind before the party starts: have a drink, meditate, or look at pictures of otters online. If you’re having fun, chances are your guests will be, too! —Jill Orr

  • Instead of a full meal, consider having guests over in between typical mealtimes. This way you can just provide drinks and a light snack or desserts. —Adonica Coleman
  • Host the event at your favorite restaurant. This is a really great way to enjoy a totally stress-free gathering. —Nancy Allison
  • Hire or enlist a server! Pay someone who will gather up dirty dishes, empty trash, refill glasses, and be the bartender as needed. This will free you up to mix with your guests and enjoy the event. —Kathy Lou Neale
  • Be clear in your invitation what the food situation will be (light hors d’oeuvres, heavy hors d’oeuvres, cocktails only, dinner, etc.) so that guests come appropriately hungry and you’re not left with a surplus or shortage of food. —Anne Tuckley
  • Have friends over for a nice salad bar luncheon. Provide the soup, greens, and drinks, and let each guest bring a tossed salad topping. Don’t assign toppings — you’ll be surprised how creative this can be! —Muriel Browder
  • If you enjoy entertaining and like to change up the decor for parties, consider purchasing things after a holiday so you can get them for the best price. Then keep a storage bin of all your great clearance décor. —Adonica Coleman
  • It’s good to move out any extra furniture so guests can socialize without bumping into something. You can also turn your living room into a dining room for a large dinner party. —Anne Tuckley
  • Use electronic invitations, such as Evite. It allows everyone to respond and see who is coming. It also allows them to put the event on their calendar from the invitation and to change their reply if necessary. —Nancy Allison
  • If your house needs to be cleaned, don’t clean it on the same day as your gathering. You will be frazzled and tired by the time your guests arrive. —Adonica Coleman
  • If you’re going through the work of having a party, how about having two? Invite your best buds over the next day for games or cards and serve leftovers. You will always enjoy party No. 2 more because you’ll be more relaxed. —Muriel Browder

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