Madewell’s 10 Best: Ways to Host a Party and Not Lose Your Mind

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Spoiler alert: Less is definitely more.

When a party goes down in friend-group history as one of the best, it has little to do with perfect place settings, expertly mixed cocktails or a witty hashtag. In fact, our favorite fêtes are the simplest ones: good music, an ample supply of things to eat and drink and a host who’s as relaxed as can be. How to be that sort of host? Follow these 10 very simple pieces of advice.

1. Figure out the music situation ahead of time. (Feel free to download a few of our playlists and have them ready to queue up. We suggest this, or this, or even this…)

2. Wear shoes you can actually walk in. If that means three-inch heels, go for it. If that means flats, by all means. Point is, be comfortable. That goes for your outfit and hairstyle too.

3. Don’t forget all the unsexy things to stock up on. Ice, straws, cups, you get the picture. Keep areas for phone charging clear too (because you know they’ll ask).

4. Actually take guests up on their offers to bring something. And tell them what you need!

5. Make cleanup easy with a utensil-free party. Pigs in a blanket, portable caprese salads (cherry tomatoes, mozzarella and basil on a toothpick), mini avocado toasts…basically anything that can be carried on a napkin.

6. Or just buy everything at the store. There’s nothing wrong with having great taste in prepared foods or knowing the best local pizza delivery place.

7. Scent your home without worrying about candles burning it down. Simmer hot water on the stove with vanilla extract, lemon slices and rosemary.

8. Create a self-serve situation. We love a build-your-own-bruschetta bar with all the fixings: jam, marinara, prosciutto, olives, some Gorgonzola and ricotta and you’re done. Best of all? No prep work except putting it out.

9. Mark off a place to recycle. A discreet and simple “cans and bottles here!” sign is all it takes to make sure your party is environmentally on point (and your apartment isn’t a disaster the next morning).

10. Have a bedtime in mind. You’ve just invited friends into your home. It’s totally OK to be exhausted, crave pajamas and need to unwind. Fake early brunch plans if needed. We won’t tell.

And in case you’re wondering how to holiday shop without losing your mind? Our #giftwell guide is here.

Photography by Thomas Neal.