Hosting a party can quickly get overwhelming but not if you plan ahead. When done properly, party planning and hosting are fun activities that actually enhance the overall experience of the gathering. With the holiday season coming up, it’s imperative to brush up on your party planning skills. Here are nine suggestions you can use when hosting your next gathering.

1. Make Everything Readily Available

Unless your guests are extremely familiar with you, no one really feels comfortable serving themselves. Instead of asking where a glass is, they’ll just opt not to have a drink. Keep everything necessary for your party in plain sight. Make the bathrooms are clearly marked and that everyone knows where to find the food.

2. Think About How Traffic Will Flow

When you’re thinking about how to rearrange your furniture for the party, stop to consider flow. If you place the drinks near the entrance, people are going to be standing around and coming in at the same time which creates unnecessary traffic. Make it easy for everything to flow to the designated party section of the house. Keep the food and drinks on opposite ends of where the activity is.

3. Remember To Include Music

Music is an excellent way to set the tone for the party. It’s easier to socialize and talk with new people with music to fill the silent moments. Make sure you have music playing before your guests arrive. The type of music you play will depend on the type of gathering you’re hosting. For most occasions, instrumental jazz or lively Spanish music make good choices.

4. Lower Your Thermostat

It’s going to start to heat up once the party gets going. You’ll have to turn down your thermostat or open the windows to keep everyone comfortable. Doing this ahead of time will prevent the room from getting stuffy in the first place.

5. Introduce Your Guests To Each Other

Life is so much easier when you’re introduced to people you don’t know. Not everyone wants to take the initiative to introduce themselves to a crowd. Introducing your guests and mentioning they something they might have in common is a good way to get energy flowing in the room.

6. Get Some People To Help You

Just because it’s your party, doesn’t mean you have to do everything yourself! Besides, planning a gathering is more fun with a crowd. Recruit your friends or family to assist you with the planning, cooking, and cleaning. You can also buy wine online to eliminate an extra trip to the store. This will prevent you from scrambling at the last minute and adds another element of fun to the party.

7. Send Multiple Reminders

As your event gets closer, remember to send out reminders. People are busy, and things may fall through the cracks. You can also use social media to talk about the party as a way of providing an indirect reminder.

8. Make The Food Selection Easy

If you’re going to be serving drinks, don’t go crazy and make a custom drink for every person. Stick to one big vat of margaritas, or you’ll be stuck making drinks all night. Make sure you have appetizers ready to go when people arrive since most people show up ready to eat.

9. Set The Mood With Lighting

You can create any type of ambiance for your gathering with the type of lights you use. For Thanksgiving, consider using orange string lights around your home. Christmas lights also create an interesting ambiance when used indoors. You can also swap your regular light bulbs for colored ones to really set the tone.