If you're preparing to host a get together and want to make sure it runs extra smoothly, you'll want to pay close attention—here, professional event planners weigh in on the most common things that they notice when attending gatherings at other people's homes. Note that these takeaways are both good and bad—there are some things that people do extremely well that will always stand out, whereas other times, hosts make rookie mistakes that unfortunately do not go unnoticed. Read on for the six most common things that event planners notice and take note of what to copy and what to avoid before your own friends stop by for dinner.
Guests will notice how manicured your home is, says Deliece Knights-Barnett of Dhalia Events in Westchester, NY. After all Knights-Barnett points out, "This is often where [guests] spend the most time!" Looking to improve your outdoor space in a pinch? The best thing you can do is declutter. "Remove as many unnecessary items as possible," Knights-Barnett advises. "That ladder? Put it in the garage! Same for frequently used items like watering cans, hoses, sprinklers, etc."
2. Personal Belongings
Jamie Kramer of Jamie Kramer Events, based in the Washington, DC, area, always notices when personal belongings are left astray—think shoes, dishes, and medicine bottles, to name a few common culprits. "I think a quick walkthrough of your home to tidy up can do wonders," Kramer says. "I like to treat it like my house is on the market and potential buyers are coming through." Then, finish things off by filling a vase. As Kramer says, "Fresh flowers are always a nice touch!"
3. Thoughtful Touches
Vicki Ross of Plan-It Vicki in Avon, CT always appreciates when a host goes above and beyond to make a party feel special. "I love to see care and attention put toward customizing decor to fit a party's unique theme and look," she says. "For example, when you walk in the door and the host has created a signature drink, place cards, or even simple floral centerpieces, everything feels special and put together."
4. Unfinished Prep Work
On the other hand, Ross is also highly aware of situations in which it is clear a host has poorly planned their party prep. "One thing that makes me uncomfortable when entering a home for a celebration is finding myself in a world of chaos where nothing feels finished," she shares. "Things don't have to be done over the top, but when a guest arrives, the host shouldn't be frantically setting the table, cooking food, and organizing decor—all of this should be done ahead of time!"
If you do plan to host, ensure that you set aside a few hours earlier in the day or even the day before for house cleaning, baking, mixing drinks, or anything else that can be taken care of ahead of time. The moments before the party begins should be reserved for last minute touches, such as lighting candles, placing flowers in a vase, or removing appetizers from the refrigerator and setting them out on the counter.
5. The Restroom Situation
Paula DeLuise of Best Day Ever Events in Westchester, NY, says that she often takes note of the restroom situation at a gathering. Perhaps hosts should have looked into renting trailer restrooms to accommodate a substantial number of guests. "Not many people think of this when planning an event in their home," she says.
Even if your get together is small, do ensure that your powder room is fully stocked with soap, clean towels, and plenty of extra toilet paper. You can even consider lighting a candle for some extra ambiance.
6. An Overall Pleasant Vibe
Audrey Pierot, who runs an eponymous event planning company in Scarsdale, NY, notes that it's more important to focus on how a space appears overall versus obsessing over every little bit of dirt or clutter. Instead, focus your efforts on a clean kitchen and bathroom and a fresh smelling home. "A little dust won't matter," she says. "Greet your guests with a refreshment, something to snack on, a little background music, and a smile. That's all you need."