Indoor Entertaining Success

Not every homeowner or renter has an expansive backyard in which to host a bash. Certainly yards are convenient for entertaining. However, indoor socialization can be just as enjoyable and weather is never an issue.

Statistics show that more people are entertaining at home these days. Most experts chalk it up to money-saving tactics in this difficult economy. Generally, entertaining at home is less expensive than having a party at a restaurant or party hall.

Still, entertaining at home takes work. It also requires opening up the home to a number of guests. This can be a logistical challenge if the home is on the smaller side. However, there are ways to guarantee party success.

First and foremost, the guest list should be tailored depending on the space available. One certainly may want to invite every last friend and cousin, but if the house won't comfortably fit those people, cuts will have to be made for safety and comfort.

One idea is to clear out any extraneous furniture to create more room. It's easier to fit people with folding chairs occupying areas where the couch and love seat once were. Plus, homeowners don't have to worry about upholstery being damaged. Store large furniture in the garage or in another room in the house for the duration of the party.

Take the time to also pack away any breakables. While a person would hope others would be respectful of their belongings, sometimes things can get damaged when a crowd of people are occupying a tight space. Remove ceramics, statues and any other prized collectibles. They can be put back after the party. Avoid using lighted candles, which can get knocked over and be a fire hazard.

It's common courtesy to alert immediate neighbors if a party is being held at home. Chances are there will be a number of extra cars parked in the neighborhood from guests and maybe some noise or music. No one needs a surprise visit from the police department thanks to a neighbor's complaint.

When it comes to the "meat" of the party, keep it as simple as possible. Many times hosts and hostesses spend so much time caught up in the details of the party and serving guests that they don't have the opportunity to actually enjoy themselves. Due to the savings realized from having the festivities at home, consider having the party catered. Or hire a serving/cleaning staff that can tend to guests and make sure dishes and plates are being collected.

Food and refreshments are important party elements. For homeowners concerned about spilled food and drinks, consider items that are light in color to serve. Avoid red wine or brightly colored sauces. Think about foods that will be carried around on plates and eaten without the aid of a table. Avoid items that will roll (like cocktail meatballs) or pastas laden in tomato sauce. Finger foods that are easy to snack on with one hand will be ideal. Sandwiches can be simple and inexpensive. Don't feel like gourmet fare has to be served.

Of course, having so many extra people in the house is going to lead to extra messes. This is to be expected. Therefore, don't spend too much time in advance of the party cleaning every crevice and dusting knick-knacks that haven't been touched in years. Chances are no one will notice. Spend time thoroughly cleaning the guest restroom and doing a cursory cleaning of the main rooms in which the party will be held. A good idea is to have a cleaning service come in after the party to restore the home to its preferred state.

Entertaining indoors can be successful if a homeowner knows what to expect from the party and takes action to alleviate common roadblocks. Opening up the home to family and friends can be enjoyable and cost-effective.

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