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Entertaining is a great way to grow closer to the neighbors, develop deeper friendships and show off your home. But to throw a great party, it takes more than just offering delicious food and having a stocked bar.

There are a variety of methods for turning your home into everyone’s favorite spot for get-togethers and throwing a great party.

The first consideration for any party is making sure there’s adequate room for all your guests. That means having enough chairs, table space (if it’s a sit-down dinner) or a contingency plan for an outdoor deck party if the weather turns against you.

Catering is often a good way to relieve some of the stress of the night, especially if you bring in a server, but not everyone can afford that, and it’s not really necessary. A good idea is to have everyone bring a plate, and then you’ll have plenty of options for food. Or maybe a barbeque is more to your liking. Just be sure to have options for vegetarians and make sure none of your guests have allergies.

Most likely, your guests will come with bottles of wine, but you should have bottles of red and white at the ready, as well as beer and popular alcohol for mixed drinks, including mixers. Maybe have an official party drink and give out special cups for those partaking. Also, have non-alcoholic beverages like soda and water available.

Having some sort of entertainment or activity is also a great way to keep people engaged in the party. You can hire a keyboardist to come play background music or turn the party into a singalong; bring in a photo booth so people can leave with memorable images; or have a caricaturist draw fun portraits of your guests.

Party games are also fun and, depending on how many people are invited, can really make for a good time. Check out the board games section on Amazon for some good ideas on games to play. As the night goes on, many of these games become the most memorable thing about the party.

If you’re the host, don’t spend all your time talking to the same guests. Work the room and make sure you spend time with everyone. Share a recent story about your kids or talk about something fun you have planned, but don’t make the conversations too long. And introduce people who may not know each other and get some conversations flowing.

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