The Party

It's the day of your party! You should be excited and a little bit nervous, but very confident. You've planned well, and now it's time to enjoy the fruits of your labor. No matter what, be flexible and open to change. Nothing, short of the house burning down, is a disaster, so roll with the punches.

Timetable

The morning of your party, put the finishing touches on house cleaning. Get your family or friends to pitch in. Make sure that everything is ready well in advance of the starting time. The kitchen, especially, should be impeccably clean.

Do last-minute shopping for perishable items in the early afternoon. Read over your menu, check all of the food, and make sure that you have everything you need for the food you're preparing, as well as items like candles, flowers, serving utensils, and condiments.

A bulletin board is a great addition for any kitchen, and it can help you with a potluck party. Post all of your lists on the board, and check off tasks as they are accomplished. This will also help you keep track of the menu, so you see if there are holes and you have to bring in a last-minute recipe.

If you are preparing a make-ahead recipe, be sure to start it the night before if the recipe stipulates that. Many of the make-ahead recipes can be prepared a few hours before the party and spend time in the fridge before you bake or grill it to perfection.

Now take some time for yourself. Give yourself an hour or two to get ready: take a bubble bath, condition your hair, take a relaxing walk, or do something to pamper yourself. It's always a good idea to be ready and waiting for your guests. Try to have everything done at least half an hour before party time so you can sit and relax before the fun begins. Enjoy your clean house and the aroma of food drifting through the rooms.

Your Role

As the host, your role is to make sure that everyone is comfortable and having a good time. That starts with you! If the host is nervous or upset, everyone else at the party will feed that vibe and you'll have a big flop on your hands. If you're happy and confident, everyone else will be too.

If there are any disasters, like a recipe not turning out or something burning, don't panic. Just take it in stride and, if all else fails, just order in pizza and have a pizza party! The odds are that even if there's a failure, the guests won't even notice if you don't make a big deal out of it.

Now relax and enjoy the party. Remember that the guests take their cues from you, so be happy and really have fun. You've planned well and organized the event to perfection. Let's start cooking!

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