Warm weather, extra daylight hours and summer’s upbeat ambience make this an ideal time to throw a party in your backyard. But sometimes the potential stress of hosting threatens to outweigh the joy. That’s why we’re sharing common reasons you may experience hosting anxiety — and tips to overcome them.
Stress Factor: Cleaning and Preparation
For many hosts, these tasks can create the most stress due to the amount of time and work involved. The best way to handle it? Make a plan. Create a timeline to spread tasks out over time, so you aren’t trying to do everything the day before the party. The same with food preparation: Decide what food you can prepare in advance. Also make lists for shopping, guests to invite and what you’ll need help with.
When it comes to cleaning, focus on areas where guests will spend the most time (include one bathroom). Clear clutter, wipe down surfaces and do other basic tidying up. Then simply close the doors to rooms you want to keep people out of.
Stress Factor: The Menu
If you are proud of your cooking skills and presenting an elaborate meal gives you joy, make that your focus. Give other items — like your “tablescape” or entertainment — less attention or delegate them.
On the other hand, if making toast is the height of your culinary skills, then keep the menu simple. Limit the number of dishes you need to prepare. Consider offering only appetizers, just desserts or fun, easy snacks instead of a full meal. Or use prepared foods from the grocery store or a favorite restaurant.
Stress Factor: Having Enough Space
If you have a large gathering and a small table, don’t worry about seating everyone together. Particularly with an outdoor event, it can be fun to set up several seating areas. Mix and match the furniture — patio sofas, lounge chairs, side tables from the living room, maybe even some rented folding chairs and tables.
Stress Factor: The Weather
You can plan your party for a traditionally warm and sunny time of year, and the weather can still play tricks. So, have a backup plan in case of rain, whether that’s a covered patio, a temporary event tent or simply moving inside.
Also prepare for sun and heat. Even if you don’t have a covered space, you can make use of shade trees, patio umbrellas or shade sails. Consider setting out a few small portable fans. Have plenty of ice and cold drinks, and serve hydrating foods like fresh fruit. It’s also nice to have sunscreen and bug repellant handy for guests.
Stress Factor: Doing It All Yourself
Just because you’re the host doesn’t mean you have to tackle every task yourself. It’s okay to ask for help, and guests are usually willing and happy to contribute. Think about what needs to be done and how you can delegate.
For example, ask one friend to bring extra chairs and have everyone bring a dish to share. Or recruit people to assist with set up and clean up. Delegating can remove that overwhelmed feeling and help ensure you have enough energy left to have fun!
Stress Factor: Aiming for Perfection
You want your party to go well. But don’t be thrown if mistakes or problems happen. Remember that your guests are here to see you and want to enjoy the time as much as you do. So, if the food isn’t done on time, your table settings don’t match or the dog knocks over a pitcher of drinks, don’t worry. Move on and let yourself (and your guests) enjoy the gathering.
Hosting Can Be Fun
When you learn to overcome the stress factors, you might just find you love hosting parties! If you decide you’re ready to update your backyard or home interior to accommodate more entertaining, consider these landscaping ideas and home improvement projects.
- “Pro Tips for Hosting a 100% Stress-Free Summer Party,” Sarah Lyon, The Spruce, May 17, 2022, https://www.thespruce.com/pro-tips-stress-free-summer-party-5272177, accessed March 27, 2023
- “How to Bring Your Hostess A-Game to Your Next Summer Party,” Blythe Copeland, MarthaStewart.com, updated April 14, 2022, https://www.marthastewart.com/8116872/how-be-best-summer-party-hostess, accessed March 27, 2023
- “9 Tips for Stress-Free Summer Parties,” Meseidy Rivera, The Pioneer Woman, posted June 24, 2019, https://www.thepioneerwoman.com/home-lifestyle/entertaining/a102297/9-tips-for-stress-free-summer-parties/, accessed March 27, 2023
- “Overcoming Party-Hosting Anxiety,” Jon Spayde, Lifetime, posted Nov. 5, 2019, https://experiencelife.lifetime.life/article/overcoming-party-hosting-anxiety/, accessed March 27, 2023
- “How to Enjoy Hosting Parties: 7 Tips to Stress Less,” OhMyCreativeParty.com, posted April 19, 2021, https://www.ohmycreativeparty.com/post/how-to-enjoy-hosting-parties-7-tips-to-stress-less, accessed March 27, 2023