5 rules for all party hosts

Hosting a soiree, at home or shindig brings with it a lot of pressure. But fear not! Follow these simple tips and you’ll be guaranteed a memorable evening. And some of those memories will fade over time.

Rule number one – Invite twice as many people as you want to come. 

Frankly, you’re not that popular. 50% of invited guests turning up is a good result, particularly if it’s the 50% you wanted to invite.


Chances are it’ll be this girl again though.

Rule number two – Buy beer.

When it comes to drinks, guests come in three basic types:

A) Guest doesn’t bring anything. This person is a scumbag and should not be invited back. Politeness decrees that you can’t refuse entry, so you may instead ask them to leave their coat somewhere unsavoury, like a dog-basket. Or a cellar.

toliet, coat rack

‘Yeah, just hang it on the toilet roll holder.’

B) Guest brings drinks that are ostensibly for the whole party, but actually comprise their own closely-guarded personal stash. Tend to get passive aggressive later on in the evening if they find someone else has had one of their tinnies / own brand Metaxa.

C) Guest brings exceptionally generous quantity or quality of booze. Either a wonderful human being, or a friend of another guest who you don’t know and they feel a need to pay an admission fee.

As a rule, people will bring wine. This is because it’s easiest to carry and they probably already have some at home. So, buy beer and spirits.

Rule number three – Don’t waste your time cooking.

People will pretend to be impressed by your blinis and canapés, but all they are is reminders of how nice something could have been if there had been more of it. Your guest’s disappointment will be expressed by them dropping most of the fish-based topping on to your carpet, where it can be stamped in later.

The ideal food to have at parties is things just tasty enough to have small bites of, but no more than that. So say hello to reformed pork snacks.

sausage rolls, pig snacks

* ‘Still great at a party, just with a little less cat’

Rule number four – Make a punch.

Lord knows they didn’t get everything right in the 1970s, but the mandatory presence of a punch bowl at every party was one thing they were bang on about.

cliff richard

Something that they definitely did not get right in the 1970s.

A good party punch always follows the same basic recipe:


  • 1 / 2 litres of poor-quality spirit. African or Eastern European vintages are especially popular. Ideally, you should not know where they have come from at all. Clear spirits are best, as browns tend to bring the vivid tones of sewage outflow to your punch bowl.
  • Fruit juice. Vibrancy of colour is important here, so steer clear of natural juices as much as possible. Be aware that selecting ‘with bits’ options takes you back towards outflow country again.
  • Lots of ice. Masks a multitude of sins.
  • Food colouring. Blue is particularly welcome, but in any case stick some in. It allows you to blame the unappealing colour of the punch on the food colouring, rather than the true culprit (those two pints of Netto‘s tropical crush).
  • Pieces of actual fruit. This is essential, because without it all you have done is made the contents of your sink after the party has finished.

Rule number five – Don’t mandate fancy dress.

Because for every one of these:

Screen Shot 2013-10-07 at 15.35.51

You’re just as likely to get one of these:

Screen Shot 2013-10-07 at 15.37.20


30 thoughts on “5 rules for all party hosts

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