Creating a sense of arrival for your guests is just as important as the food you put on the table. An anti-climactic start to what’s intended to be a fun evening is disastrous for everyone.

With a little advanced preparation, you can avoid the inconvenience of cluttered parking, roaming guests and traffic jams at the buffet.

how to create a sense of arrival

1. Premeditated parking

Unless you plan on guests arriving by bike or horse, you need to assess the parking situation. Encourage guests to carpool, which will limit cars on the street. You can also hire neighborhood kids (in possession of a driver’s license of course!) to valet. Better yet, encourage attendees to cab it to the event. That way, they can enjoy the libations without the pressure of driving their vehicles home later.

2. Expect the unexpected

Create a sense of anticipation before your guests even get to the door. Use candles, yard art or twinkle lights to decorate a path leading up to the doorway—anything to get guests excited about what to expect once they enter your home.

3. Thematic mandate

If your party has a specific theme, why not personify it as the host, right at the door?! If you’re hosting a mystery party where guests are asked to solve a “crime,” greet them as a detective. There’s nothing wrong with having a little fun from the start!

4. Be a social director

Don’t be afraid to ask your guests to move to a specific area of the house, especially if small spaces like doorways and hallways are getting congested. People like being told where they’re supposed to be, and it will keep you from being an anxious host!

5. Barkeeper’s friend

Avoid positioning food and libations in tight spaces—doing so is the recipe for a human traffic jam. If the event is catered, position someone with a tray near the entry to offer refreshments. This way guests can move freely to proper mingling areas. If additional help is not available, create little food and drink stations around the house to keep the movement of your guests fluid.

Cheryl Says

Don’t forget, your friends are your biggest fans! They will appreciate your hard work and hospitality.