Recently I had a gathering at my place for 10 people and due to unexpected work travel, my flight was delayed and I was unable to get home until 1 hour before guest arrival. Yes, I was stressed. That might even be an understatement. But, instead of running around like a mad woman when I got home, I went to my closet and chose an outfit that I knew would make me feel better. I slipped on heels, did a 5-minute makeup application and instantly felt more prepared. And you can also bet I was glad I hadn't waited until the last minute for shopping or decor (need I remind you of Steps 1 and 3?).
6. Open a bottle of Wine
I swear I don't have a problem. This advice is two-fold, much like my apron theory. First of all, a nice glass of wine will put you at ease when you're about 15 minutes out from start time. Second, you will already have one option open and ready to pour for the first person who arrives. I've noticed that if I am still in the midst of some cooking when people show up, opening a bottle at that moment can be distracting. If it's red wine, put it in a decanter.
7. Allow others to Answer the Door
Obviously you need to greet the first person, but once that has been done it is totally acceptable to allow others to do so. As the hostess you should be engaging with everyone and not exiting a conversation with someone every time the doorbell rings.
I'll never forget the response I got from my husband after he hosted a big Super Bowl party and I asked "How was the game?". He had no idea. He spent the entire time refilling drinks, making food, etc. This is great and he got tons of compliments from others, but you need to enjoy yourself. Once the party is going, breathe. Most likely if you've planned out food and have everything placed out and in view for others, a lot of things take care of themselves.