Modern-day party planning etiquette can be tricky, particularly for the hostess. It feels like the general rules are always changing and usually subjective, so I’ve compiled my tried-and-true tips for hosting an event with grace and consideration.

I try to send out invitations four weeks in advance. People's calendars fill up quickly, but sending the invitations too early risks them being misplaced or forgotten about. Obviously, for larger-scale events that may require travel, you should afford your guests additional time, while two weeks' notice is enough time for a smaller, more casual gathering.   

Make certain to properly greet and introduce partygoers, even if you believe they may have already met. Social gatherings can be intimidating, so do your best to make each guest feel comfortable. Invite guests to bring a date, if the budget allows. It makes for a better time for everyone. If your budget is tight, be very clear in your invitation so that you don’t find yourself scurrying to set an extra place setting when the guest arrives with a "plus one."

Be prepared. Give guests as much information as possible ahead of time regarding parking, transportation and attire; have a backup plan in case of inclement weather, etc. The more you anticipate and do ahead of time, the better your event will be. There are always inevitable hiccups on the day of, so it’s best to eliminate or minimize the foreseeable bumps so you have more time to focus on the unforeseeable ones.

As a good host, you can prepare for just about anything and plan a dazzling event, but so much of the party mood depends on your guests. Which is why being a thoughtful partygoer is an important role. Reply by the RSVP due date. As a host you typically wait for a final head count before placing most orders and finalizing details, so when you're the guest, respond as soon as possible- especially if the host is someone you would like to make a good impression on. Plus, it’s just the nice thing to do.

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