Hosting a Drinks Party

Drinking champagne at a drinks party

The party scene is packed with countless variables. No two gatherings are ever the same, and even with an identical venue, refreshment and music, no party can ever be recreated. Atmosphere is an elusive commodity, and it falls on the shoulders of the host to create the right conditions for bonhomie to flourish. As a host, it is your obligation to make your guests comfortable. This means, first and foremost, ensuring that they have plenty to eat and drink, and that everyone is socialising.

Check in advance that arrangements are clear. Your guests must know where you expect them to be, and when, including any directions and your telephone number in case of mishaps. Be clear about dress codes. If you would like guests to depart by a certain time, say so politely.

It is your obligation to make your guests comfortable. This means, first and foremost, ensuring that they have plenty to eat and drink. Accept refusals at face value and don't persist in pushing food at refuseniks.

Some food needs to be served at a drinks party, even though it is not central to the event. Serve canapés in stages, introducing new kinds progressively throughout the evening. For a party of a hundred people then six different canapés, three hot and three cold, would be about right

You should introduce your friends to each other, and ensure that there are no wallflowers. But do not take this too far; interrupting animated conversations and dragging people across the room because there is 'someone they must meet' is very bad manners. If there is no help, it is sensible for the host to take a bottle with them as they circulate. This will keep glasses topped up and signal to guests that the host cannot stay for a long chat.

If there are spills or breakages, clear up quickly and efficiently, and do not make a fuss. As a host, it is your duty to stay to the bitter end - even if a party is evidently flagging, you should not leave your guests simply to 'get on with it'.

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