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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UFL chapter.

Not long ago, I attended a gathering of a few friends. While it was nice to see everyone, it never really felt as if the room lit up with the kind of excitement that I was expecting when attending this get-together. I couldn’t seem to understand why. We drove hours to get there, we were excited to see one another, we ate, listened to music and talked. 

Yet at the end of the night, all I could think was, “This night was…meh.”

Looking back on it, we all talked, but it was forced and often filled with awkward silence. We ate but at different paces. We listened to music but could never let a single song play all the way through. I couldn’t help but wonder why. After we said our goodbyes and parted ways to go home, I have to admit that I was happy to be in my pajamas, in my bed and I was relieved that the night was over.

So, why can get-togethers leave us feeling vaguely unsatisfied and a little off? After some thought, I think I have found an answer to my question. We can’t always start off as great hosts. We must learn the skills it takes to be a good host. You don’t need to be an extrovert with a huge house to throw memorable parties. You are already capable of being a great host! You just need a little guidance to make those future gatherings meaningful moments of joy!

Tip #1: Your invitations should tell a story

I know it’s easier to just send a quick text with the basic details, but hear me out. Invitations with a bit of oomph to ’em can set the gathering’s tone before your guests even step foot in the room. Take some risks in your invitation. Add in some jokes, offer suggestions on plans, tell them how excited you are to see them, etc. Make it different and more enjoyable to read. A boring text with a date, place and time isn’t exciting. Never have I heard someone read a text such as that and say, “Yay, that text was so cute! I can’t wait!” If that is the reaction you want out of your guests, you gotta earn it. It all starts with you: the host!

Tip #2: You don’t have to be Pinterest to have a good party

I know better than anyone that Pinterest, while a lot of fun, can easily set unrealistic expectations upon yourself. When planning your party, you just need to remind yourself that it doesn’t have to be some picture-perfect event. Not everything needs to be Instagram-worthy. Sometimes the best parts of gatherings are simply that: the ability to gather!

Tip #3: Small details make a big difference

You don’t need tons of decorations to make your parties a success. Little things like cute paper straws, bouquets of flowers or place cards that match your theme are all inexpensive ways to make your parties feel more complete. Having little details can really highlight your efforts of being a welcoming host!

Tip #4: Think about your guests

When planning your gathering, a good host would keep in mind the needs of their guests. It’s best to start by asking yourself if your guests have any dietary restrictions or allergies. Then, once you have addressed those necessities, you can move on to planning what your guests enjoy having. Think of getting some of their favorite snacks, drinks and meals. Food is a great way to bring people together! The main goal here is that you want all your guests to feel welcome, and ensuring that everyone is accommodated for is the act of a good host!

Tip #5: Do something different

While the traditional dinner and chitchat can be fun, sometimes creating a unique theme for your party can be an exciting experience for everyone. Parties don’t always have to have a reason behind them. Sometimes the reason can just be that we like to have fun! Often the most memorable parties are the ones that have no real reason. When planning your gatherings, consider adding a theme for your guests to dress up, get creative and bond!

Tip #6: Just enjoy the party

Being the host can be stressful. You work very hard to ensure that all your guests are having a good time. While your efforts do not go unnoticed, at the end of the day, your guests want to spend time with you. Don’t apologize for your lack of decorations or the fact that you forgot to sweep the baseboards, or that you meant to have two more trays of cookies than you do. Don’t let your stress of throwing the perfect party get in the way of enjoying the time you have with your lovely guests. I am sure they are just as happy to see you as you are to see them. A party is a party. One of the best things a host can do is to simply this enjoy the space that you have created. You and your guests can have a memorable night all because you are a good host!

Madison is a student at The University of Florida majoring in Mass Media Production with a minor in Graphic Design. Madison is a positive individual who loves astrology, Harry Styles, and any kind of iced coffee. When she isn't writing, you can find her shopping for plants, playing Mariokart with her friends, and perfecting her strategies for making the perfect avocado toast.