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Don't Stress Out When Hosting a Party

Everyone loves a good party, but the easiest

Everyone loves a good party, but the easiest way to ruin it for both the host and the hosted is to stress. While having tons of people over to your house can stress you out in of itself, follow these guidelines to ensure maximum fun and minimal tension.

1. Throw out the structure. After a work week, everyone just wants to relax. If you fill your party with required games or activities, people feel pressured to participate in something they don't necessarily want to do. It is great to set out a game or a dart board, but don't herd everyone and then deal with the subsequent stress of organizing or dealing with people who aren't meeting your expectations.

2. Prepare Small. A host often has grand ideas of including all of his or her favorite foods and beverages, but when you spend all your time in the kitchen before the party starts, you have already spent all your energy and can't have fun. Instead, limit the food choices to three items - including one vegetarian option. For the drinks, if you want something special, create a single signature drink like grapefruit mojitos or sangria that you can make beforehand and serve in a large pitcher or punch bowl. Other than that, have a beer option, a wine option, and whatever liquor and mixers you have around (some people like to be creative anyway).

3. Don't invite everybody. Unless this is a work party that was placed on you to host, you can be choosy about who you want to come. Of course you don't want to exclude someone who is "part of the group," but when it comes to your snooty neighbor, your overly-intense web designer, or your clingy childhood friend that doesn't know anyone else, just don't send out the invite. As the host/hostess, you need the flexibility to mix, mingle, and chat with everyone. The last thing you need on your hands is someone you feel like you have to take care of or give excessive attention to.

4. Party Ideas (only if necessary). As you pull the party together, you may want to look around for a few creative ideas. DO NOT overdo it - the quality of a party is determined by how the people who attend connect with one another, and in my opinion, a few cans of silly string is the only accessory needed for a good time. But, if you're dying to have cool things, check out the great Pinterest board below.