Manner Monday®: Tips for Planning the Perfectly Imperfect Party

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Are you hosting for the Holidays?  During this time of year, I always get questions from nervous hosts and hostesses asking for tips to make the process a bit less painful.  Well, not sure about the pain factor, but I can share some tips with you to make it hopefully flow a bit smoother.

First of all – take a deep breath!  And follow the Nike slogan ‘just do it’! Don’t stress about things such as ‘my house isn’t perfect’, ‘I don’t have the right dishes or silverware’.  By focusing on ‘hospitality’ vs. ‘formality’, you can be rest assured knowing that no matter what happens, your guests will feel comfortable and will have a great time.

Ok, so you’ve decided to take the plunge, let’s get the party started…

Invitations, how are you going to notify your guests?  Keep in mind that the invitation will help to set the tone of the party.  An old-fashioned ‘print’ invitation, sent via snail mail, can set the stage for something a bit more ‘formal’.  An E-vite leans toward something more ‘casual’.

Guest list, who are you planning to invite?  Take some time with this one.  Think through your guest list and try to bring together an interesting mix of people who you think would have a good time together and why they would get along.  Think outside of your normal circle of friends and reach out to someone new who you’ve recently met and would like to get to know better.

Plan ahead.  Make a to-do list and break it down into manageable pieces over a few days.  By being organized, strategic and focused, you can easily cut down on the added stress of forgetting something such a key ingredient at the store.

During the Party.  Be focused on the moment – turn off TVs, put on some background music, put away smart phones, and get ready to focus on your friends.  Plan to be ready at least 15 minutes before your guests are scheduled to arrive. Not only does this give you a moment to catch your breath, but it also allows a small window of flexibility in case something goes wrong during the preparations.

Clean Up.  Consider spending a little extra money to hire a helper for the evening.  Someone who can tend to things in the kitchen and keep plates cleared and can help to keep you from feeling overwhelmed.  If hiring a helper is not in your budget, not a worry!  Just save the cleanup until after your guests have left.

And remember, your guests are coming for the enjoyment of your company, friendship and hospitality.  Set the stage and atmosphere for a lovely evening of relaxing with friends and enjoying good old-fashioned ‘face time’.  And your friends will thank you.



In other news….

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Would you like to schedule a workshop or presentation?

I have a variety of workshops that can be customized to fit your needs and would love to work with your organization, please call or email for more information, 405-721-1467 or

Here are just a few of the workshop topics:

  • Etiquette and the Generations – understanding ‘those guys’
  • Creating a Great Customer Service Experience
  • Business Etiquette and Professionalism – Navigating Lunch and Networking Events
  • First and Lasting Impressions
  • Professional Dress


As always, thanks for reading!

– Carey Sue



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