A Beginner's Guide To Hosting a Gathering

Planning your first event as a host can be both exciting and {maybe just a tad} overwhelming. As hosts by nature, we understand the importance of creating a memorable experience for your guests, even if it's your very first time hosting.  

Whether you want to throw a dinner party, host a casual brunch, or organize a festive holiday gathering, being a gracious host who throws memorable gatherings is a skill that anyone can master with a little preparation and creativity.

In this guide, we'll provide you with essential tips, practical advice, and creative ideas to ensure that your first gathering is one for the book. From setting the table to planning the menu and creating the perfect ambiance, let's dive into hosting your very first gathering!  

Guide To Hosting a Gathering

1. Determine when you’d like to host your gathering

First thing’s first: determine when you want to host your first gathering. Consider the date, time, and the guests you’d like to invite and if they’d be available to attend if you were to invite them. For instance, if you want to hold a dinner party with your friends who work full-time jobs, consider holding the party on a weekend when there’s a better chance of them being able to attend without stressing about their typical after-work responsibilities. 

2. Make a guest list

Draw up a complete list of who you’d like to invite to your first gathering. This list may be as small or large as you like, but don’t stress yourself out by inviting too large of a guest list. Once you’ve determined your guest list, send out your invitations. Depending on the type of gathering, you may invite your loved ones via text, email, e-vite, or with a printed invitation in the mail.  

Try to send out invitations 2 weeks in advance, and remember to include the dress code {if any}, the address of the venue, and RSVP information. 

Pro tip: When you send out the invitation, ask your guests to note any allergies or dietary restrictions they may have so you can be mindful of them when creating your menu! 

3. Create a menu

Creating a menu for your gathering is one of our favorite parts of hosting. Choose a menu that’s easy to execute and full of make-ahead dishes, or try your hand at a more complex set of recipes – the options are endless!  

4. Choose a serving style

Choosing a serving style is the next step of planning your gathering. Consider the following when choosing a serving style:  

  • Number of guests 
  • Whether the gathering is indoors or outdoors 
  • What you’re serving 
  • Whether you’re catering the event or not 
  • The weather / season  

5. Determine your timeline

Next, you’ll want to determine your party prep timeline for setting up for your gathering. Planning ahead like this can help ensure your party goes off without a hitch.  

6. Design the tablescape

The next step is to design a tablescape that you {and your guests} love. If necessary, select linens, like tablecloths, placemats, napkins, and cocktail napkins. Then, thoughtfully choose which dinner plates, salad plates, bowls, and glasses you want. Consider floral arrangements in decorative vases, candles, or potted plants, as well as any table decor like candle holders, salt and pepper shakers, gravy boats, cream and sugar sets, and more.  

7. Set the table

Lastly, you’ll want to prepare the table, per your party preparation schedule. You might be able to set the table the day before. Prepare the table settings, arrange the flowers, showcase the menus, place the place cards, and light the candles.  

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