Skip to main content
FREE SHIPPING on all orders!
Dining chairs, metal chair, dinner table, green chair, black chair, wood table

Experts tell all: entertaining taboos and how to avoid them

Awkward gatherings and parties: We’ve all been to them. The ones where you tagged along with a friend and hardly knew anyone, or those dinner parties where you wandered the halls, not knowing where anything is, searching for a bathroom.
Don’t be that host. Make your guests feel welcome and host a party guests will never forget. Avoid these 10 taboos with tips from the entertaining experts and you’ll be set to become the next go-to party guru!
Making guests stand

Counter-height stool, bar stool, kitchen seating, kitchen stool, breakfast bar, modern stool
“For larger get-togethers, make sure you have adequate and appropriate seating. If serving a meal, there always seems to be that person sitting on the couch, trying to cut their steak while balancing a plate on their knees and avoiding kicking their drink over on the ground.”Julia Marcum
Photo credit: Tyler and Haylee Shelton, Tribe Tyler

Plan ahead and pull in chairs or stools from other rooms, if necessary. Have spare seats waiting in the wings to pull up to the table if a few extra friends show up.
Inaccessible bar

Bar cart, bar ware, living room, entertaining, party

Nobody wants to wait for a drink. Avoid the traffic jam in the kitchen with a mobile bar cart outside of the main food prep area. Keep an eye on it to make sure it’s always stocked.
Photo credit: Tyler and Haylee Shelton, Tribe Tyler
 Bar cart, bar ware, living room, entertaining, party

Party foul: Running out of food and drink. Avoid it by discussing the logistics and head count ahead of time and then preparing a large batch cocktail for everyone.
Leigh Fager likes a spiked cider or sangria with fresh fruit for an affordable option.
“You can dress up glasses with a cinnamon stick or a piece of fruit on the rim to give it a special touch! I tell guests there will be plenty for everyone, but that if they’d prefer something else, they are welcomed to bring it.”
Lack of table space

Side table, living room seating
 A multipurpose side table/stool can be an extra seat or a spot to set a cocktail.
Photo credit: Leigh Fager

Give guests a place to set their drink and plate of snacks. Set out extra side tables, or encourage the use of credenzas or buffets by scattering coasters and napkins throughout the space.

Gourmet stand, bar, barware, entertaining, appetizer
 If you don’t have enough table space, get creative. Use a buffet, credenza or bar cart for snacks before dinner or for the first-course items, like bread or salad. Rotate dishes on and off the table once everyone has been served.  Photo credit: Shannon Allen, Frugal Beautiful

“Set up a couple saw horses, span some boards across them and cover it with a table cloth. You can also use smaller café tables and create multiple eating zones, to spread out conversations.”Julia Marcum

Forgetting flexibility

Living room seating, ottoman, stool, side table, game night, board game
Photo credit: Leigh Fager
Don’t freak out if a friend pulls in a chair from another room or nobody jumps right into your planned game night agenda. Be flexible with your space and your plans. Arrange your furniture to maximize the space and make it feel larger before guests arrive, but go with the flow if things get moved around midparty.
“Always have a backup plan. With our friends and family, just catching up with one another keeps us busy enough, but some groups may need a bit of a push. If you see that your guests are starting to get a bit bored or restless, bring out a group game that everyone can enjoy.”Haylee and Tyler Shelton
Don’t force it. Nothing kills the vibe like trying to break up conversations to force everyone to play a game. Let the energy of the evening take you where it will!”Julia Marcum

Ignoring the first impression

Entryway, small stool, dresser, coat rack
 The entryway is your guests’ first impression of your home, so make it memorable. Give guests a place to take off their shoes, hang their coat, drop their bags and make themselves at home. Julia uses a dresser for storage and hiding everyday clutter to keep the entryway neat and tidy.
Photo credit: Julia Marcum, Chris Loves Julia
Absence of ambiance

Dining room chair, bookcase, barware, cozy
 Photo styling credit: Jenni Radosevich, I Spy DIY
Music, mood lighting and some fresh décor will set the stage for a killer party. Keep tunes playing in the background — nothing too loud or overpowering — and turn on lamps or light some candles for homey, soft lighting. 
If you’re preparing tablescapes or holiday-themed decorations for the party, do it in advance. Table settings can be done a few days before the party so you don’t have to waste time the day of styling and creating your vision.
Dining chairs, metal chair, dinner table, green chair, black chair, wood table, Christmas decorations, holiday
 Photo styling credit: Jenni Radosevich, I Spy DIY
“I love using living décor, like succulents, or found items from nature, like pinecones or branches. Using fruit, pumpkins or edible items as décor are perfect because they can be eaten later. If you use plants, give them to guests as a party favor when they leave.”Jenni Radosevich

Not giving guests needed info

Kitchen table, wood table, kitchen seating, dining table, dinner, dinner party, appetizer, bench
Photo credit: Lana Katsaros, Happily Curated Chaos
Eliminate the unknown. Fill guests in on the plans when they arrive — when dinner should be ready, who else is coming and where the bathroom is.
“Whenever we have guests, we love to give them a quick tour of our space to show them nothing is off limits and that they are welcome to make themselves at home. We also have a cute little ‘Toilet’ sign on the outside door of our bathroom so that there’s zero guessing if they are walking into a coat closet or the bathroom!”Jenna Kutcher
Stressing out

Counter-height stool, metal stool, wood table, counter-height table, kitchen seating
Photo credit: Melissa George, Polished Habitat
“If you can relax and feel comfortable and at ease in your space, your guests will follow suit. Everyone will be looking at you. You set the vibe, so take a few deep breaths, know it doesn’t need to be perfect and get ready to make memories with your loved ones.”Jenna Kutcher
As the host, you set the tone for the evening. Guests will feel your tension, so if you aren’t relaxed, guests will feel tense and unwelcome. Make sure everyone is comfortable.
Not accepting help
Dining chairs, metal chair, dinner table, green chair, wood table, dinner party, tableware
“My favorite dinners are ones where everyone contributes something.
I set a themeof general cuisine, like Mexican or Italian, and everyone brings 
their favorite dish,dessert or beverage to share.”Jenni Radosevich.
Photo styling credit: Jenni Radosevich, I Spy DIY
Make potlucks your best friend. They’ll ease your stress and allow you to focus on other items that need your attention.
“You may find once you let go of the need to control the entire menu, you end up enjoying yourself more. And your friends may have that special dish they want to show off, too, so give them the chance to contribute.”Julia Marcum
 Wine glass, green chair, dining chair, wood table, tableware, dinner party
Photo styling credit: Jenni Radosevich, I Spy DIY


Waiting until the last minute for anything is always taboo. Clean beforehand — little by little throughout the week — so you don’t become stressed on the day of the party.
Now that you know what NOT TO DO, call up your friends and fam and get that next party date set!
Top photo credit: Jenni Radosevich, I Spy DIY
Get Social
Back to Top of Content