Whether you're a guest or the host, follow these tips to take the stress out of the party.
FOR THE HOST
Assign tasks. Be sure to ask guests what they prefer to bring. Some people don’t like to cook, so request a contribution of drinks, utensils, paper goods or extra serving dishes.
Balance the meal. To avoid ending up with eight desserts and one main dish, assign a specific course to each guest who is cooking.
Play it safe. Keep hot and cold foods at the proper temperatures. Never leave perishable food out longer than two hours (one hour in hot weather). Place cold foods on trays surrounded by crushed ice, and use slow cookers set on “warm” or hot plates for hot food.
Accept assistance. Giving a party is a lot of work. Let others help replenish food and clean up.