The Classy Broad's Hosting Checklist

It seems as though after any event I host, whether it's a small dinner party or a larger celebration, I note in my mind some things that made the prep easier as well as thoughts of ways to improve for next time. Here is my Checklist that has helped me thus far. I am sure I'll add to this along the way...
1. Select Recipes and Buy Ingredients One Week Before
This is not always feasible but when it is, it helps a TON. There is no worse feeling than buying everything the day before or the day of and whilst preparing realizing you don't have something. Planning a few days out and double checking will save you from this stress.
2. Plan out the time before Guests Arrive
They say the best athletes visualize themselves in a game and succeeding well before game time. Why should a hostess be different? Look over recipes, read reviews from others and decide what aspects will take the most time and map out your game plan. Any part of a recipe that can be done before the day should be.

3.  Arrange Decor First
Flowers, Centerpieces, Tablescapes, Placecards, Wine Charms. There are lots of elements that we often think we can do "later". Don't. A guest can always arrive early and if food is not ready they can ooh and ahh over the cute details you've arranged.
4. Wear a Cute Apron:
The purpose of this is twofold: 1. You will save yourself from spilling and ruining that new cute outfit you'd been planning to debut for the special event, and  2. There are way too many fashionable aprons out there these days. Wearing one shows that you're stylish, even while cooking. It's an investment you will not regret. Apron from Anthropologie.
5. Get Yourself Dressed and Made Up Early

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.

8. Have Fun

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.