Get Ready to Party Series Day 1 - Why, When and Who?

I recently hosted a group of  friends in my home for a fall luncheon. I thought it might be fun and helpful to write a series on how I planned and pulled off this party.
My hope is that by sharing it may be a blessing to someone else and it might encourage others to step out and invite someone in!

Webster's defines Party as
"a social gathering of invited guests, typically involving eating, drinking, and entertainment."

The first step in planning a party of any kind is to decide why you want to party.

There's many reasons to host a party.

Some are based around traditional celebrations:


Other reasons may include:

Fellowship with friends and family
To reconnect with old friends
Opportunity to make new friends
To make business or career connections
Social obligation (aka payback for when someone has invited you to their home:-)

My reason for the luncheon was to connect with some friends before the rush of the holiday season. I also wanted my friends who don't know each other to have an opportunity to meet.

If hosting people in your home doesn't come naturally (and for many it doesn't) or if you're intimidated by the idea of having a large group of people over start small.  Practice by inviting one or two good friends over for coffee and dessert. Do this a few times until you feel confident to increase the numbers of your guest list.
"...practice hospitality." Romans 12:13

Why you want to party will determine who to invite, what kind of decorations and food will be needed and when you'll party.

Set the date 

It is impossible to pick a date that will be perfect for everyone you want to invite.
I start by picking two dates that work for me. Next I call one or two people that I really want to have at my party and we try to coordinate a date that works best. Once the date is set it goes on the calendar and I move on to the guest list.

I very seldom go it alone when hosting a gathering. Early in my marriage I shared with a friend my desire to show more hospitality in my home. She and I worked together on many gatherings. It gave me the confidence I needed as I practiced hospitality. Don't be afraid to ask for help. I like to invite my sister-in-law because she's friendly and outgoing and she can help keep the conversation lively.  Of course that's not the only reason I include her but it's definitely a plus:-) 

"Woe to him who is alone, when he falls he has not 
another to pick him up." 
Eccl. 4:10b

Who to Invite

Usually once I decide why I want to have a party I already have the guests in mind. Even so making a guest list can sometimes get a little tricky.

  • Leave someone off and they may get their feelings hurt.
  • Invite two of you friends who are mortal enemies and you may find yourself serving as referee.
  • Invite all your outgoing talkative friends and you'll be competing to get a word in edgewise.
  • Invite all your introverted friends you may be in for a very quiet party. 
I think you get the idea!

I don't stress too much over who to invite. I always pray first and God will bring names to mind. I do use discretion when inviting people of strong, opposing convictions (political, religious, etc.) or those who I know don't get along. I don't exclude them I am just mindful. Debates are wonderful in their place just not always at a party and brawling is definitely frowned upon.:-)

One reason I wanted to host this luncheon was to introduce my friends from different areas of my life to each other. I invited a few from my family, some of the moms I home schooled with, a few from church and others from my Zumba class.  Each lady will know a couple others but no one will know everyone. (Except for me.) It should be an interesting group.

 Always consider those who may be lonely or new to the area. I invited my new neighbor across the street. I had only met her one time out at the mailbox but I thought it would be fun to get to know her and give her a chance to meet a few new friends.

Start a hospitality and entertaining notebook. and keep track of what kind of parties you host and who you invite. If I've left someone off from one party or I did invite them but they weren't able to attend I try to be sure they are on the next list. This notebook also helps me to remember what the menu was and kind of decorations I used.

Once the guest list is made it's time to issue the invitations. 

Even though it's perfectly alright to call someone on the phone or invite them face to face I prefer to send something in writing. This gives the recipient time to think it over and also they have something in their hand to serve as a reminder.

Whatever the means I like to give about 2 weeks notice. Enough time to get on the calendar but not enough time for the event to be forgotten.

The invitation should include:
Reason for the party
Day and date to avoid any confusion.
A beginning time and end time. (end time isn't strictly necessary but I find it's helpful)
Phone number and I always add my email address.
Ask for  a response by a certain date.

répondez, s'il vous plaît
(Respond please whether or not you're able to attend)

Unfortunately some people don't understand what this means.
I remember one time I invited my good friend over for dinner and as the date got closer I hadn't heard from her. I gave her a call and she said that she thought RSVP meant to respond if she wasn't coming! That's OK I don't think they teach this type of thing is school anymore...

If I don't hear from someone in regards to an invitation I simply call or send an email.
Maybe they didn't receive the invitation or they simply forgot. I give them the benefit of the doubt.

You can click the picture to see a little more about my invitations:

One final thought about inviting people.
Don't be offended or upset if everyone you invite don't attend your party. I invited 18 ladies and I had 8 who attended. (It was going to be 10 but one had to go out town for an emergency and one was sick on party day.) I usually over invite just because I know from experience that not everyone will be able to attend. It's worked out for me so far...

The why, when and who is the first step in hosting a party. So set a date, make a guest list and send out the invitations.  This is often the most difficult step but once it's done you're committed!

Next the real fun begins. Tomorrow I'll tell you a little about the food I served at my fall luncheon and give you some tips on how to prepare the food ahead of time so you aren't stuck in the kitchen during the party.

I hope you'll come back!


See day 2 here. What to Serve.

Making your home sing Mondays

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