No matter the occasion, light-hearted gatherings with food, friends, and conversation will never go out of style. Throwing a party is one of the best ways to show your friends and family that you care for them. And with the right touches, you can throw a shindig that people will talk about for years.
But, parties can be ambiguous and filled with unspoken, and therefore unanswered, questions – especially for the host. If you have ever hosted a party, you might have stressed out over how to invite your guests, what kind of food to serve, or what music was appropriate to have on in the background.
Here at Joybird, we know how important it is to throw the perfect party. With questions like these in mind, we decided to survey 650 Americans to get the scoop on all things hosting related, straight from the source. Here’s what we found!
Throwing a party may seem like an easy task, but, according to our hosts, it’s anything but. 40% of Americans say they feel “somewhat stressed” when hosting a dinner party, with women being 1.5 times more likely to feel “very stressed.” While this stress may go unnoticed by some guests, others are well aware and genuinely want to express their appreciation.
When your guests arrive, they may bring along gifts as a way to say thank you for opening up your home. It’s hard to say for sure what kind of gifts you’ll receive, but 40% of hosts say they prefer a bottle of wine. If you’re not a drinker, however, your guests might opt to give you sweets of some sort, or a nice candle. You may also receive a few handwritten thank-you notes, as 17% of guests choose to express their gratitude in this way. Regardless of what you receive, having a tangible reminder that your guests are appreciative and aware that the party didn’t just “fall together,” is a gift in and of itself.
If you’ve ever hosted a party, you know that there is always at least one guest whose presence is not a present. Despite all the wonderful zest that guests add to the party, in certain instances, they can also be the direct source of your stress – especially those that missed the memo on proper party etiquette. But, with enough forethought and preparation, you can tackle any sticky situation a guest throws your way.
What are some of the biggest guest faux-pas, you ask? Well, guests like to mix it up, so you should be prepared for a variety of obstacles. 30% of hosts said that, in their experience, bringing along an uninvited guest was the biggest no-no. In addition to being prepared for a few uninvited “plus-ones,” you might also want to put together a game plan for guests who drink too much alcohol, fail to RSVP, or arrive much earlier than the start time of the party, as these scenarios also made the faux-pas short list.
In spite of all the stress that guests can add to your plate, they are in large part what makes a party, well, a party. So, no matter what kind of party you’re throwing, getting the word out to your guests is an essential part of hosting. If you’re throwing a bridal or baby shower, email invitations are the most popular option. 32% of Americans say they would invite guests to a wedding shower over email, whereas only 15% would do so via text.
Regardless of how you invite your guests, you may want to consider communicating a time frame for the party. Many people, 50% to be exact, opt for shorter parties that last between 2-4 hours, whereas 27% choose to host for 4-6 hours. Whatever time frame you decide should be specified to your guests beforehand, so that guests do not overstay their welcome.
Seating your Guests
Now, onto seating. The backyard and living room are the most popular options when picking a location for guests to gather within your home. While nearly 80% of party hosts say they allow guests to choose their own seats, approximately 19% assign seats for various reasons. No matter what you choose to do, be sure to account for all of your guests – especially if you’ll be serving a meal, as it can be unpleasant for guests to eat while standing.
Picking a Dish
Speaking of food, is it better to play it safe with a crowd-pleaser, or to venture into new cooking territory? According to our survey, 55% of Americans say they would try making a new dish that they had never cooked before when hosting a dinner party. Hosts between the ages of 18 and 24 take the cake for living on the edge, as they are 1.5 times more likely than those aged 54+ to try to cook a new dish during a dinner party.
Other Party Essentials
So, at this point, you have invited your guests, selected a space, and nailed down a dish for the party, but have you thought about what music you’ll play or about other party must-haves? Don’t worry, we have.
25% of Americans say that Pop is their preferred party music genre, but no worries if Pop isn’t your first choice. Lounge Music, Rock, Hip-Hop, and Jazz are also relatively popular choices. As for the other party must-haves, nearly 60% of Americans said a stocked bar is essential. Fresh flowers and candles were also deemed party essentials by many.
We’ve talked about guests faux-pas, but as a host, you’re not off the hook either. Here’s what the host should seek to avoid. Nearly 40% of party-goers agreed that a dirty house was the biggest faux-pas, so be sure to clean up before you have your guests over. You should also make it a point to speak to each of your guests and to have enough food and drinks to go around.
If you’ve never hosted a party before, we hope these pointers give you the confidence you need to take the party-hosting plunge. With these tips and more, you’ll be throwing impressive parties your friends and family will love in no time!