At some parties, the guests find themselves in a bottleneck trying to get to the food and drinks because everyone else is going the same way. To avoid such traffic jams, if you set up stations at your party, your guests will be able to move smoothly throughout the party space.
You can create stations on kitchen counters or islands, kitchen or dining room tables, buffets or serving furniture pieces, bars or moveable tables set up throughout the house or patio, deck or yard.
Don’t put all your food and drinks in one area. Spread everything out into a few stations throughout your entertaining space:
- Photo Station– At your party entrance, help your guests remember your party by putting up some colorful paper or fabric on an empty wall as a background and laying out photo props — like a fake mustache, feather boa, or themed items— and include a hashtag for social media.
- Party Accessories – near your party entrance, create a station for fans, bug spray, hand sanitizer, or wet wipes that guests will find useful especially at outdoor parties
- Favors – Put any party favors near your entry table near the party entrance — and make sure your guests pick them up on the way out. If you have a separate party exit, put your favors there.
- Drinks – Set out cups, 2-liter bottles, any drink pitchers and ice coolers near the fridge. If some beverages are in the fridge, make a small sign so guests can find them. If your party is outside, you can set the drink station on the patio or deck.
- Appetizers – Do you have a buffet or server in your dining room? This is the great place for your hors d’oeuvres. If you have a lot of offerings, a table pulled away from the wall would make it easier for guests to walk around.
- Grill – if you are having a cookout, make sure the grill and serving table is set away from where the guests will be standing so the smoke won’t bother them.
- Lunch/dinner – Put the main course in your kitchen. Get a crockpot if it needs to remain warm (like meatballs). The island is an ideal place for these items.
- Desserts – Set up a designated section of your kitchen counter for these sweet treats. Include extra plates and napkins nearby for guests who have already thrown out the ones from dinner.
- Kids – Set up a kids’ table so they have their own spot to have fun. Make it child-friendly with a disposable table cloth (set out crayons!) and extra napkins.
- Trash/recycling–you may want to have this station set out of the way if your party is inside, or by the party exit if it is outside. Label your bins or cans for the items to be placed in each.
If you are hosting an outdoor party on your patio or deck, you may want to put your food stations inside in the air-conditioned house. This protects the food from the heat and bugs.
Your guests will enjoy visiting all the stations at your party!