We’ve all been there, you just need another twenty minutes to do the dishes and attend to the bubbling main course and people start arriving. Worse than that – they congregate in the kitchen.

Here are four tips to give you some space and get your party started on a high.

  • Arrange a festive-looking bar cart or high table in another room with all the fixings for a specialty cocktail, as well as uncorked wine, ice, glasses and soft drinks. Direct people to help themselves as they arrive and this will buy you some time to get the kitchen under control without all eyes on you.
  • Even if all of your guests know each other, start with an ice breaker game next to the bar area. This could be as simple as having everyone tell their favorite joke and voting for the best and worst, or having everyone relay their memory of the first time they met you. This sets the tone for a chatty and animated party and again, buys you a little more time to finish up.
  • Skip the formal appetizer at the table and assign a gregarious guest (or partner) to pass around hors d’ouvres.
  • Have your kids write out place cards for the table, it makes the concept feel less formal but still gets you the seating plan that you know will work best.

Our last tip? Sit back and enjoy your hard work! Nobody ever sees the things that went wrong except you, we promise.

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