The Guest List

I love to entertain and I take my job as hostess very seriously, trying to put together the best possible experience for my guests with each occasion. But after a theme and date are chosen and before much of anything else can be done, I have to create the guest list that will be a perfect fit for my party.

Now, you might be thinking, what’s the big deal: invite your friends and be done with it. Sure, for some events that’s totally acceptable and will result in a wonderful party. Sometimes, though, you might need to be a bit more selective.

An Open House gives you carte blanche to invite anyone and everyone in your address book because the party is very fluid, it’s mix-and-mingle for the duration and people are free to come for the whole thing or stop by for only a moment or two. Hors d’oeuvres and cocktails are the menu, in most cases, and those are easy to replenish throughout the evening.

Your available space is a deciding factor that can drastically limit your guest list. Of course you think about how many can comfortably sit around the table for a dinner party or on your couches for a movie party but something you also need to consider is how much parking your home or venue can offer. The last people you want crashing your party are the cops or angry neighbors because you’re blocking streets or driveways.

Plus you should consider the kind of party you’re throwing from the guest’s perspective. Say you’re throwing a wine tasting party (which is totally on my party-to-do list for Fall) as a for instance. The entire party is about tasting wine and what foods go with the wines and wine, wine, wine. If you invite someone who is allergic to or just doesn’t drink wine, they’re gonna be completely left out of the festivities. Knowing who likes what will help create  a guest list that ensures fun for both them and you.

Finally, there’s always the horror story about weddings where you can’t seat Mrs. Hatblossom at the same table as Mr. Feltenberger because they used to be together but he ran off with her sister and now no one speaks to each other. Don’t invite rival factions or sworn enemies to a party unless it’s a) a very big party or b) you’re looking forward to a bit of extra drama. Save yourself (and the rest of your guests) the hassle and even though it hurts, choose a side. If you just can’t invite one without the other, make the tough call and don’t invite either of them.

Crafting a guest list is more than just printing out your address book onto labels and calling it a day. Choose your guests with an eye towards how they’ll mix with each other and the event you have in mind and you’re that much closer to a perfect party.