au·then·tic : real or genuine : not copied or false, : true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character
One of the biggest party fouls host/esses make is focusing too much on the doing, the tasks – setting the table, cleaning every last nook and cranny of the house, flower arrangements, place settings – or what I call ‘the stuff’. When you drive yourself crazy getting all the superficial items on your party ’to-do’ list done perfectly, you not only lose touch with yourself, but the spirit of why everyone is getting together in the first place.
Are you gathering your dear friends together to admire your beautiful guest bathroom, spotless countertops and lovely flower arrangements or are you longing for some much needed fun and real connection. While the decor, design, planning and food are all of course a vital part of the gathering, it is the warmth, confidence and enthusiasm of the host/ess who makes or breaks a party’s success.
When I had my first fine dining restaurant, La Cachette in Santa Monica, my guests would walk in for the first time a little rigid and self conscious, perhaps influenced by the formal surroundings and feeling that they had to behave in a certain way – very proper and serious. Who wants to spend hours at a table feeling like they can’t relax and be themselves? That just is not a fun dining experience. It was my role as the owner and Maitre D’ess to lead the way and show them a good time by doing my best to disarm them by being approachable, authentic and welcoming.
Even if I didn’t know you, I would greet you with a big smile and a most likely a hug, because I was truly thankful you chose to dine at my restaurant. I would invite you in with genuine enthusiasm and gratitude – I could feel guests pretenses melt away. It was a relief for them to see that even though we were in formal surroundings, that didn’t change who I was and they could relax and be themselves too.
As a host, you set the tone and feel for your party by example. Authentic host/essing starts at the top, with you, and then beams out to your guests. This is why it is vital to the success of your party to take time to treat yourself well, tune into your heart, and let your bright light shine. If you want your guests to feel good, you need to feel good first.
5 Tips To Authentic Host/essing
1. Get yourself in the party spirit – What kind of mindset are you in? How are you feeling? The secret to being an authentic host is to first get in touch with your heart and in a space where you genuinely feel good about opening up your home to your guests. If you’re feeling like crap you could just call everyone and cancel. Pretending you feel good or happy when you don’t is a sure way to betray yourself and takes you away from being real, and trust me when I say your guests can sense that. My secret when I’m not quite feeling the ‘party love’ is to take 5 minutes to meditate on gratitude – may sound hokey, but it works every time.
2. Trust yourself to be a confident host – If you are feeling the love but not feeling secure about throwing a party, your nerves and fears will undermine all your good party vibes. Fear and anxiety are the high jackers of vitality and joy. Be aware and let go of your judgements, expectations and any other negative thoughts that bring you down. If you’re thinking the food sucks, the house is a mess, I hate my hair, I wish I had ordered more chairs, my house is too small, too big, what if no body shows, what if everyone shows, I should have made more food. These are the thoughts that shape your experience and show on your face when you answer the door.
3. Have fun and flow – Long after the party ends, your guests will remember how you made them feel as your beautiful energy spread throughout the party, which is why it is just as important for you to have fun too. Once your guests arrive its time to transition from task master to fun loving host/ess and let everything flow from there. If the table isn’t quite ready, your guests show up early, the food is a little over cooked – let it go and just flow. No one will remember what went wrong, but they will absolutely remember how you made them feel.
4. Welcome guests enthusiastically – when your guests arrive, stop and take a beat to welcome them as if they were the only one invited. Recognizing a face when they walk through the door and making that person feel seen, by welcoming them enthusiastically makes people feel wanted and special. If you do this from a warm and genuine place you will not only be an authentic host/ess, but a loved one.
5. Be present – when we are distracted or preoccupied as a host/ess we are not able to truly connect with others. Make a point giving each of your guests at least five minutes of your undivided attention. Being able to still your mind long enough to have a quality conversation with your friends allows you to relax and share the best part of you. After all you’re the reason they all came together.
Remember, it’s the people that make the party, not the stuff.
Focus on yourself, the guests and having a good time.
Sharing the best of you will bring out the best in others.
How you make your guest’s feel in the end, these are the party favors that last!
XO – L