1. Have a backup plan in case of weather issues.
For guests sensitive to heat, provide plenty of shade and ice cold drinks. If the weather
is cool, keep blankets nearby in decorative baskets.
If windy or rainy, have a backup venue available--you don't want your party to be remembered for the wrong reasons...
2. Oh, Baby!
Babies or Children coming? Remove potential hazards and do a quick baby-proofing of the environment. Consider providing private areas for feeding or calming a baby. Parents and other guests will appreciate it.
3. When You Gotta Go...
General guidelines say you should have at least 1 toilet facility per 50 guests. We highly suggest considering erring on the side of caution and providing additional restrooms, renting high quality portables for a large gathering (some even mimic a homey half bath), or limiting guests. And don't forget to have easily accessible toilet paper roll refills, clean hand towels, a garbage can, plunger and air freshener. Follow up guests will appreciate your preparations!
4. Uninvited Guests
Prior to the event, be vigilant in excluding unwanted non-human guests such as bees, wasps, and mosquitoes. If your event takes place during dusk or dawn, use odorless mosquito repellent devices to repel the little invaders.
5. Keeping Things Clean
Chances are you will have a lot of garbage--especially if you are relying on the ease of paper products. In that case, make sure you have multiple garbage receptacles in convenient locations, a few feet away from eating areas (they should be seen, not smelled), out of the way of foot traffic, but accessible and easily refreshed with extra bags handy.
6. Take a Load Off...
Provide plenty of seating so guests can comfortably enjoy their time with you.
When it comes to eating, your guests will appreciate the stability of a table and the convenience of avoiding food spills on their clothing.
7. Eat, Drink, and Be Full
While we suggest many fun variation for drink options (see https://www.theexperthostess.com/drinks ), water is a safe option for most people to consume. Consider each person will likely consume 3-4 glasses of liquid in 2-3 hours. Don't forget the ice! Two pounds per person in hot weather, one pound per person in cool weather.
How much food should you prepare?
If including appetizers, plan on each guest eating six.
For the main course, plan on serving one pound of food per person. One chart with some specific guidelines can be found at https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/packages/weekend-cooking/feed-a-crowd-dinner-infographic
Dessert? Yes, please. One slice of cake, pie or tart; one 4 ounce serving of creme dessert, and one scoop ice cream. And that's just for one guest...
Per Guest: 2 cups (if serving drinks beyond just water), 2 plates (one for savory dishes, one for dessert), 2 sets of utensils (with one additional fork or spoon if serving appetizers, soup, or salad. Seem like a lot? You can always hold a medieval soiree and mandate fingers as utensils for the event...), and napkins (4 paper or 2 cloth per guest). Chopsticks when appropriate.
9. Be a Good Neighbor
Consider parking issues. Where will guests park? Will the traffic and cars be an issue for neighbors? What about handicapped parking? If you do not have valet parking, consider alternatives. One enterprising bride hosting her reception in her parent's large yard requested (and posted signs) for guests to park in a church parking lot at the end of the street (with appropriate permission, of course). Her teenage relatives had the pleasure of transporting guests to and from the reception in stylish golf carts.
10. Have Fun
Socializing is the purpose of a gathering, but activities for young guests, background music for ambience, or a focal point for festivities keep guests from getting bored. Remember in all your hosting duties to relax and have fun with your guests. If you are relaxed and happy, they will be too.