Thursday, February 3, 2011

Hosting a Meet-up at your House

I thought that this was worthy of it's own article, as it's a bigger undertaking than hosting a meet-up somewhere else. However, hosting a meet-up in your home allows for more freedom of activity and can be really fun! I'm planning one for later this spring, maybe as a spring garden party with an easter egg hunt or something.

If you've decided to host a meet-up in your home, then there are a few steps to take. The first of which is inviting people. I personally think that it's absolutely fine to send out private invitations for this type of meet-up. After all, you are inviting people into your home, and you might not want to have absolutely everyone in your area show up. For instance, I live in a very small apartment. If I were to have a meet-up there, I could really only accommodate for about 7 to 10 people at most. If I were to open the invitation to everyone, I could end up with 13 to 15 people, which will not fit into my house. So invitations are perfectly fine. If you are going to mail actual invitations, don't just print off a blank paper with the information. Decorate them around the theme, handwrite them on some stationary, or even hand-make the whole thing using scrapbooking supplies. If you don't want to go this route, send out e-vites! There are hundreds of templates here, as well as party planning ideas, recipes, and decoration suggestions all on this site. E-vites can be great, especially if you don't know the addresses of the people you've invited. Just make sure to have people RSVP if they are going to be able to come.

That's the easy part. Now comes the harder parts. You need to decide what kinds of food you will have available. If someone has a serious allergy, then they need to tell you before they get there (as with any meet-up involving any kind of food). As a rule of thumb, I try to have at least one vegetarian/vegan option for anything I host. You could have it be a pot-luck style meet-up where everyone brings something that they like. This can be easier if you're having a big party or you don't want to cook a whole lot. If it's a more casual type meet-up, like a movie night or something, then you can either make or buy typical snacks. *Tip! Water bottles are much easier than using cups if you're having something more casual. If you're having some sort of formal meal, then cups are much more elegant and preferable. If you're going to have a meal, then you are probably going to be cooking it yourself. Try to choose things that can be prepared ahead of time and either served cold or reheated. You don't want to be messing around with cooking in your lolita best. In addition to that, make sure that you have enough plates, cups, napkins, silverware, etc. so that you aren't scrambling at the last minute. If you need trays, then make sure they're washed/purchased and ready to go.

Finally, you have to clean your house. I know it's a pain, but if you are going to have people in your home, you want it to look its best. If you have an animal, it might be best to enclose it somewhere where it can't escape outside (if you'll have the door open for a garden party) or bother your guests (some may be allergic or afraid of certain animals). Run the vacuum, dust, do all your dishes, air out your house, mop, whatever you need to do to make things look great for your guests. Take a minute to get rid of old magazines and/or newspapers by recycling or throwing them out. Close off any doors that you don't want your guests going through and make sure you don't forget the bathroom! If you don't have a powder room, remember to put your personal effects away, like your toothbrush, make-up, and any medications. Empty all the trash cans. Put fresh towels out and maybe a candle. Fresh flowers are always a good idea, especially if you grow your own.

The very last things you should do are preparing the food to be served and decorating. At this point, everything should already be cooked, all you'll need to do is heat it up and put it on the plate(s). The goal here is not to make a big mess. Any dishes should be in the dishwasher or washed by hand, especially if you don't have a dishwasher. You don't want your guests to see a pile of dirty dishes in the sink! After the food is done and the mess is cleaned up, you can decorate! It's hard to clean around decorations, so make sure you're putting them in places you've already cleaned. Themes are great, but don't be afraid to customize or even make your own decorations. If you don't want to do anything major with decorating, flowers in vases scattered throughout the party space is always great. If you're having a movie night type of party, don't worry about decorating. After all, your guests will mostly be looking at the movie, not your house!

After your meet-up is over, make sure to clean up properly, especially if you live with parents, siblings, some other family member, or room mates. They will appreciate this greatly! I hope you throw some awesome meet-ups in your home using my little guide. A lot of these things are common sense, but you'd be surprised at how often some things can get forgotten. Let me know if you have any questions on my formspring, and please become a follower of my blog!

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