The number one question I get asked by potential mystery party hosts is: “Can I have fun and solve the mystery too?”

My answer, of course, is always, “Absolutely!” Immediately followed by one sentence that I think sums up my philosophy on hosting a party: “I believe that after all the work a host puts in, they should be able to get in on the fun too!”

The responses I get range from exuberance to downright relief. I’ll be honest, this surprise makes me a bit sad. The role of a party host is so important. I think that many party hosts don’t get the thanks they deserve, and don’t even have fun at their own parties!If we don’t fun at our own parties, what is the point of having them?

Here’s the thing: as much as sometimes we would like to think it, no one is ever going to build us a giant statue in city square for sacrificing our own enjoyment and time to throw an awesome party for our friends and family. So, why not make your own enjoyment a priority as well as your guests? In the same way that taking care of ourselves makes us better parents, friends and spouses, making sure we enjoy our own parties with our guests makes us better hosts.

Have you ever been to a party where the host is totally stressed, zipping all over as though the world is going to end if her canapes aren’t on the table at the right time? As a guest, what is your first inclination when you see your host stressed out, sweating, running all over the place and not having a good time? I think we all try to help her, right? And as much as we love to help our friends, that sacrifices our enjoyment as guests. Not only that, but when a host is consistently stressed out and not having any fun at their own party, it leaves a bad taste in our mouths – something we remember the next time we receive an invitation from them. When faced with the choice of two party invitations on the same evening, which one will we be naturally inclined to accept – the one from the host who also enjoys herself, or the one from the host who has no fun at all?

Yes, when I put it that way, it seems simple and silly, doesn’t it?

So, what can you do to make sure you enjoy yourself at your party?

  • Use a party planning site or smartphone app to help you get organized
  • Hire a caterer
  • Select a Crisis Companion
  • Hire serving/wait staff
  • Plan an activity you yourself enjoy
  • Pre-pour any drinks you can so you aren’t playing cocktail waitress all night
  • Put out a container of water with ice and cups next to the punch bowl
  • Put your Keurig or Tassimo coffee maker in the main area so guests can brewe their own coffee, tea and hot chocolate
  • Serve finger and buffet-style food
  • Hire a babysitter to watch all the children in another house or the basement
  • When people are arriving, keep your initial conversations near the door so you can answer it easily
  • Leave extra toilet paper roll in the bathroom so guests can replace it themselves if needed

Anything that cuts down on your party hosting duties will help increase your enjoyment, so think of ways that you can complete hosting duties in advance to allow you to be competely present during the party.

Another thing I just HAVE to mention before I drop the subject of enjoying ourselves at our own parties. LEAVE THE DISHES UNTIL THE NEXT DAY. They aren’t going anywhere, but your guests are. Spend the time enjoying yourself, having fun with your guests and making memories while everyone is together in the same place. Years from now, you’ll remember how hard you laughed when your friend told that joke – not how clean your kitchen was when you woke up the next morning.

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