I always tell our clients, “A growing party is the sign of a great host”. It’s a huge compliment to have people clamoring to come to our parties, and when it comes to party hosting, a predicament like having too many people want to come to our parties is about as close to a Party Hosting Oscar as we will ever get.
That’s the good part, but as any seasoned host knows, an unexpected guest can throw a serious wrench in one’s best-laid plans. As hosts, we tend to over-plan, and having our vision of our perfect party hit the rails is the stuff of our nightmares.
There are two types of unexpected guests: the one that doesn’t RSVP and the type that tags along with a guest who has RSVP’d. Gaaaa! Our menus! Our seating arrangements! Our Murder Mystery Parties! (Did you like that shameless plug? Hahaha)
So, being the compulsive planners we are, the Uninvited Guest scenario can be well-handled with – what else? A bit of planning.
1. Always make too much food
For any party, I always recommend making too much food. This is easy for buffet-style refreshments, but in the case of a dinner party, I usually plan for two extra portions: one for an extra guest if necessary, and one in case I drop an entire plate of food on the floor. Which, with me, is very possible.
2. Expand the Seating
If you’re having a dinner party and you have not yet put the expansion leaf in your table, start there. It’s better to have too much space at a dinner party table than have guests bumping elbows as they cut their quiche. If you have run out of chairs and need to use stack-stools or a plastic chair, always take this seat for yourself. Never give sub-standard seating to a guest. If it’s really sticking out and ruining your vibe, cover it with a sheet or blanket. Bonus points for tying it with a pretty ribbon or something else decorative.
3. Divide the Food
If you don’t have extra food, you’re not sunk yet. Divide up the existing portions as best as you can, and if necessary, serve your food on smaller plates so that the portions still look generous. Never give up your own portion for an unexpected guest, as they will feel even more awkward than they (most likely) already do!
4. Be Gracious
No matter what, when faced with an unexpected guest, keep your cool. Remember, chances are, if they are a tag-along, they feel just as strange about the situation as you do. Treat them the same way you would treat your guests who have RSVP’d; greet them with a drink, take their coat and remember that it’s not just your words, but your facial expressions and body language that could give your feelings about the situation away.
Above all, remember the old adage, “The More, The Merrier”, and in the case of a party, it’s even more apt. A bit of planning and thinking on your feet will make sure your unexpected guest feels comfortable and welcome. No one need know it’s the situation nightmares are made of!