Creating the perfect guest list

People partying outside and toasting.

Fact: You can’t have an amazing party without an amazing guest list. Although it may be tempting to invite the usual suspects or make it an open invitation, being intentional with the guest list can go a long way. Here are some guidelines to ensure the conversation is flowing, the energy is buzzing and the party is a hit.

Play the numbers game

Before you send out invitations, figure out how many you can comfortably entertain based on the size of your venue and your budget for food and drinks. Keep in mind that a certain percentage of your guests won’t be able to come. The final number depends on how far in advance you send out the invites and how close you are to those on your guest list, but planning for a 20% decline rate is a good rule of thumb. Don’t over-invite, but at the same time, plan to comfortably fill the space you’ve designated for the event, whether it’s your dining room table or your whole house. After all, a party in a mostly empty room doesn't feel much like a party!

Invite people who already like each other

Ever walked into a party where you didn’t know anyone except the host? Awkward. Even worse? Walking in and seeing your ex after a not-so-pretty breakup. Unless the guest in question is a confirmed extrovert, make sure anyone you invite will know at least one other person at the party. And don’t ask for trouble by inviting two people together who may prefer to stay apart. If you’re not sure, ask the person you’re closer with if they’re okay with you inviting the other one. If you can’t pick a side, let them know they’re both invited so they can decide for themselves whether to come or not.

Mix up the guest list

There's a time and place for getting the gang together for a night of reminiscing, but consider gathering people from different parts of your life. A fun party is about making space for old friends who can have chance to catch up—and for people to mingle and get to know each other. Because there's nothing like a party to bring people together.

Include the life of the party

A room full of individuals who may get along doesn’t guarantee the right energy. Invite a couple of charismatic, chatty friends who are comfortable talking to anyone, whether they're equally chatty or shyer and need a chance to open up a bit more. (See above: That's why inviting different friends is great!)

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