Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Art of Entertaining: How to write a party guest list

Julip Made how to write a guest list One of the first steps to planning any party, other than deciding what the party is for, is deciding who to invite. This can often be one of the hardest steps and depending on the amount of thought put into it can be the difference between an awkward silence dinner party and a night to remember.

How many people to invite?
The main rule of thumb for the number of people you invite is that it should match the number of people your space can hold comfortably.  Also know that this number varies depending on the type of party you are hosting.  For example, a cocktail party or holiday party where everyone would most likely be standing can fit more people than a seated dinner party.  Know that if you plan on guests to be able to sit at a cocktail party, there should be room for all to sit.  Otherwise it becomes awkward with some sitting and others towering over them standing.  For a dinner party, invite the number that fit comfortably seated at your dinner table without knocking elbows at every bite.  Also, know that larger dinner parties often get broken up into more than one table conversation.  I typically advise to stick to just enough for one conversation to flow easily.

Who to invite?
Who you invite is especially important for smaller parties like dinner parties where there is no escape from the party.  Focus on inviting people who you know will get along and have common interests.  This doesn't mean they have to be the same exact people, but would have enough in common to share a good conversation.  Sometimes a little difference of opinion is good and can stimulate discussion.  However, complete opposites, especially political or religious opposites can sometimes lead to heated discussions.

This matters less at larger cocktail parties because guests who do not necessarily get along can escape to a different conversation or area of the party.  I typically like to ensure that every guest knows at least 1-2 other people at the party, unless I'm trying to introduce someone new to the neighborhood.

These are just a few suggestions for your next event.  It is a whole new ballgame when it comes to wedding guest lists and that is something I'll cover later on this year as I plan my wedding!


  1. Great advice! I love entertaining but feel that I sometimes over invite because I don't want anyone to feel left out. I don't like dealing with hurt feelings. Any advice for graciously handling this situation?


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