I love planning and hosting parties. I am so thrilled that we have a bigger house now so we can host more easily. I think you can host people no matter how much space you have, but it definitely is nicer now that we have a separate dining room so we can double up on the dining spots. We are having my belated birthday bash tomorrow and I am thrilled.
Here are some of my tips for successful party planning:
1) Don't freak out if you don't have the perfect house or the perfect space or perfect dishes or perfect food. It's not about being perfect. It's about sharing your home and your food with those you love. That's what hospitality is all about.
2) Give people ample notice so that you get a good turn out. My motto is: The more the merrier :)
3) Try to have a meal that most people would like even if it means a little more work for you. I like to have a couple of main dishes and a few choices for sides. I don't want someone to feel weird that they don't like what I made. I also try to keep it simple.
4) Clean your house during the week before. Don't wait until the day before or worse the day of. You will stress yourself out.
5) Try to have most of what you need for the meal before the day of. Again, it will stress you out.
6) If you know the meal won't be ready, serve a basic snack (chips and dip) and a drink to the guests while they are waiting for the main meal.
7) Let people help you if they offer. They could bring a simple side dish or salad or dessert. It makes them feel good and helps you out.
8) ENJOY YOURSELF! The goal of hosting people in your home is to have a good time. Remember that! :)