The Disaster: The Early Bird
The Fix: Put them to work
Preparty arrivals can throw off your game, but a friendly “So glad you’re here, we could use your help,” lets you keep doing your thing without missing a beat. Let them open wine, set out the ice bucket and lay out the buffet.
The Disaster: The Big Spill
The Fix: Psych them out
It’s not a question of if, but when. You already know to set up the bar in a spill-safe zone and most things can be professionally cleaned. But to mitigate drops: Hand out cocktail napkins with every glass. It’s a wipe-up tool, sure, but holding this fumble-free item makes guests more aware of what their mitts are doing.
The Disaster: The Empty Stomachs
The Fix: Force feed them
You don’t want things getting boozy on a collective empty stomach. If no one is eating, time to start preparing plates and physically hand them to guests. They’ll put down the drink and actually eat the dish you slaved over all day.
The Disaster: The Wannabe DJ
The Fix: Never give in
Thanks to the iPhone and Spotify, we’re all mobile DJs—great for your commute, not when you host and want to create your own vibe. When That Guy asks if he can play “just one song,” know it will open the floodgates for more, with other partygoers yearning for spin time. Stand your ground with a polite: “Thanks but I worked way too hard on this playlist. Let me refill you.”
The Disaster: The Over-Served
The Fix: Divide and cooperate
Making tipsy guests feel as if all eyes are on them will only worsen things. So skip telling them to lay off in a crowded room. Instead, say you require their skills in the kitchen. Put them to work on prepping dessert and get them talking about something they love. As they talk, hand them water or coffee and drop, “You’re my pal, so I’m cutting you off. Now help me get the dessert out there.”
The Disaster: The Hanger-On
The Fix: Slip into pajamas
Our British friends use the “One for the road?” while pouring a final drink, but American guests may not take the hint so easily. We find, “Hey, can you help me clear those glasses before you head out?” works like a charm. As a last resort, make what will no doubt go down as a legendary kick-out: Throw on your pajamas and bellow, “You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.”