It is the season for holiday parties and gatherings. Often when organizing our social gatherings we focus on the décor and menu that our guests will enjoy and we forget to ensure our space functions optimally. What good is a well-planned function when our guests can’t mingle freely? This season think beyond the beautiful décor and menu that you have planned and ensure your space encourages guest interaction.
What is the first thing your guests do when they arrive at your party? They take off their coat and beeline to the bar! The bar will naturally be the dictator of where your guests will mix and mingle. Place the bar opposite your entrance to avoid crowing entranceways and exits. Rectangular tables work well for a bar and if space allows pull the table away from the wall allowing for access from all sides. Place your bottles and mixes in the middle of the table and your glassware, napkins and garnishes on either side.
Another mingling point will be the buffet table. Position the buffet, as far away from the bar as possible. If space is tight a circular table works well for buffets and allows for eye contact with those gathered around it. Place your main dishes on the buffet and set out bowls of snack items on coffee tables and side tables creating ‘pit stops’; again encouraging guests to mingle and flow naturally. If your space is too large for your number of guests create food stations using multiple small tables encouraging guests to move around the room.
Although most guests will be mingling arrange seating areas against the wall or in small clusters offering seating for only a third of your guests; removing extra furniture if necessary. When arranging your furniture remember to create designated spaces for guests to place their used glassware or napkins. Placing a tray on a side table will signal that these are the places for dirty dishes. Not only will this control garbage and dish clusters around your event space but it will also make clean up easy for you as the host.