Being the hostess with the mostest doesn’t have to mean weeks of preparation and pre-party panic. Here are some tips for low-fuss entertaining at home so you can have a good time at your own party – and everyone else will too.

Some tips for before and during the party.


  • prepare as much of the food and cocktail ingredients as you can before the party so you don’t spend the night in the kitchen getting stressed and snappy, and not getting the chance to talk to anyone.
  • for casual drinks buy big plastic bins from the supermarket to use as ice buckets. Place around the house or garden lined with garbage bags for guests to chuck their empties into. If there’s a bin nearby you won’t find bottles in the garden or under the couch.
  • placing several tin buckets or empty plant pots of sand around the house will save you rushing round emptying ashtrays and from spending the following morning picking up a hundred cigarette butts from the patio.
  • don’t count on your partner to help you pre-party. Men have a way of starting a pet project hours before a party, eg You: “Darling, can you get the glasses out and give them a wash, please?” Him: “Let me just finish glueing the wings on my model Harrier Jump Jet and I’ll be with you.” Leave yourself enough time to get everything done yourself. (Note: not all men are like this, just most.)
  • don’t start drinking at 4pm if the party starts at 7. There’s nothing more unattractive than being greeted by a dribbling drunk host/ess hanging on to the front door for support.
  • don’t be put off throwing a party by “performance anxiety”. Remember, everyone gets a little nervous about inviting people into their homes.