Q: My wife and I recently went to a party where the hosts "rolled out the red carpet" for guests. Are there some basic ways to accomplish...

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Q: My wife and I recently went to a party where the hosts “rolled out the red carpet” for guests. Are there some basic ways to accomplish this?

A: Here are some tips to make your guests feel like they’re getting red-carpet treatment:

Give clear directions to the party. MapQuest and other Web sites make it easy to provide maps and directions.

Respect guests’ time. Most guests have a time frame for baby-sitters, kids’ sleepovers and so forth. Let your guests know how much time they need to allow for your party.

Roll with changes. Don’t let changes throw you. Kids get sick. Everybody has emergencies. Power goes out. Weather doesn’t always cooperate.

Serve identifiable food. Give guests some idea of what you’re planning — that might mean language like, “heavy hors d’oeuvres” or, “come to the pig roast.” Always have some vegetarian options and nonalcoholic drinks available.

First impressions are lasting impressions. Does your entryway say, “welcome” or scream, “go away”? Clear the clutter. More importantly, make sure you don’t look frazzled and stressed out when you greet your guests. Wear something you’re comfortable in; it will show in your face.

Parties are only as good as their guests. Bring together interesting people who might not have met before.

Costume call should be clear. “Festive dress, ” for example, does not tell me much. “Casual nautical attire” does.

Party favors are a plus. Send guests off with a pretty place card, holiday treats, a napkin ring or flowers.

Head off gossip. Guests need to feel safe, and they appreciate a gossip-free environment. After all, if you’re talking about people who aren’t there, what might you say about those who are attending your party after they leave?

Last impressions are as important as first impressions. Be sure to bid farewell to every guest and thank him or her for joining your party.

Remember, a party is about guests — not the host. Make them feel important, and that will reflect on you.

Mary Mitchell is a Seattle-based corporate trainer and author. E-mail questions to Mary@themitchell.org. Sorry, no personal replies.