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Custom timelines, reminders, and checklists

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Tips and tricks from our pros

Tips for When Guests Arrive to the Party Early

Casual Hosting
Etiquette

Late to the party isn’t everyone’s M.O.

How to keep them busy while finishing your list

Funny how it works out that you may feel like there's never enough hours in the day, so the thought of arriving early somewhere is typically not a concern to you (just us?) It may not be your norm, but sometimes guests show up to the party before you're ready. Rather than tense up and wonder why the heck they couldn't wait to arrive (because they were so eager to partake in your incredible hosting skills!), take a breath. When this happens, it's important to have a few things set aside for them to do. Here are some tips for keeping your cool with those early guests, since you might as well make them useful, too.

1. Taskmaster

Have at least two tasks set aside for them to do. This could include:

  • Removing a cover from an hors d'oeuvres platter
  • Opening a bottle of wine (or more...)
  • Pulling platters out of fridge
  • Arranging cold items on crudite board

2. Water girl (or boy)

Ask them to fill water glasses on the table. This is a quick and easy task that they can do while they wait for the party to start. Plus, you really can't mess this one up. Have a pitcher of water handy, and have your early bird fill it up. One less time consuming task you need to stand by the sink for.

3. Candle-lighter, party edition 

Arm your guest with lighters or matches and send them on a scavenger hunt for all candles. Remind them of tea light votives, the bathroom, and the entryway.

4. Extra set of eyes

Have your early guest give the table a review. Make sure every place setting has a fork, knife, cocktail and water glass. If you want to be extra prepared, have your 'extras' place settings prepped so said guest can easily grab and set when they do find a missing piece.

5. Hall pass for the bathroom

Sometimes simple things like checking your main bathroom slips your mind amongst hosting. Of course, we don't recommend keeping this one on your list for early guests...you'll want to ensure the bathroom is clean prior to guest arrival. An extra check by your early guest is the ticket here. Soap? Toilet paper? Extra roll? Clean towel? Check.

6. Chill Mode

Would you rather have your guests out of your hair while you compile your thoughts? In this case, have photo albums set out, or the latest catalogs or magazines of Madewell, Serena & Lily, Elle Decor, or Vogue, or a shelf of pretty recipe books to catch their eye. Or of course, a cute little partytrick postcard to point guests back to your all-star party fairy godmother. Anything that can keep early guests busy browsing, while you wrap up your finishing touches.

With this setlist, you are prepped and ready for when that doorbell rings earlier than expected. Remind yourself to take a breath and relax—they really must just be eager to see you, after all. Give them a job, finish up what you need to before the party starts, and go throw another party to remember.

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