FLORAL ARRANGEMENTS.   No need to spend lots of money on a pretty arrangement, go out into your yard and see what you can find. Hosta leaves alone can make an attractive arrangement; pine boughs around a large candle, ferns and even weeds(!) can fill in an arrangement with flowers. "Weeds?" you ask! To name a few of the weeds we find on our property: crown vetch, thistle, oxeye daisy, purple loostrife and yellow iris. These are all listed as invasive plants by the MN Department of Natural Resources. See: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/invasives/terrestrialplants/index.html

CLEAN UP. Please save all clean up until after your guests go home. Yes, people are willing to help, but wouldn't you and they rather continue on with the party with the other guests?

PLAN AHEAD!   Do absolutely everything ahead of time - home set up; lighting; table setting; setting out serving bowls, utencils, trivets, wine/beverage holders/tools, etc.; primary bathroom cleaning; and COOKING. Begin as early in the week as you can manage, preparing entire recipes (e.g. soup, dessert) or components of recipes that can be prepared ahead of time. Store components of each recipe together in the refrigerator so that they can be pulled out at once without extra trips back to the refrigerator. Of course, never select recipes that require lots of time at the stove while your party is going on. It's more fun having a party if you can also attend it!