TIPS FOR ENDING AN EVENING GRACEFULLY
Sure, sometimes you are down for the kind of dinner party that stretches into breakfast, but for those nights when you love your guests but also love to see ‘em go (at a respectable hour), we’re sharing our tips for ending an evening gracefully (aka, not yelling “PLEASE GO! ANYWHERE ELSE!” in a moment of exasperation).
PLAN FOR THE END
When deciding what time to invite people over, consider what time you’d like them to hit the road. Then schedule the evening accordingly! And if you’re having such a great time that you don’t want the evening to end, you can always throw your schedule out the window.
GIVE YOUR GUESTS CUES
If you notice that things are starting to wind down – i.e. guests are yawning, people are turning down refills, the playlist has ended and no one has selected a new one – start to wrap things up with gentle nudges to your guests. We like humor in this situation – something like, “Come back when you can’t stay as long!” Or go with the classic, “Well, we’ll have to do this again soon.”
LET DESSERT SPEAK FOR YOU
Dessert isn’t only the best thing in life – it’s also a signal to your guests of where things are headed. If you serve a plated dessert at the dinner table, expect guests to settle in and linger awhile. If you serve bite-sized treats in the living room, you’ll be gradually moving your guests toward the door.
DO A LAP
While we do not advocate starting full-blown party cleanup before everyone has gone home, we do support doing what we call “a light lap” around the room to collect glasses and plates. It’s an easy, indirect nod to your guests that things are coming to a close.
HELP GUESTS LEAVE WITH LEFTOVERS
If there’s food left over at the end of the night, pack up “doggy bags” for your guests! Extra points for packaging them in tinfoil swans.
THANK GUESTS FOR THEIR PRESENCE WITH…PRESENTS!
Get something small and thoughtful for your guests to commemorate the evening and keep it by the front door. When you’re ready to say your goodbyes, tell everyone you got something special to thank them for coming and guide them to the door. It’ll be a natural jumping-off point for good night hugs.
Have a cleanup plan mapped out before the party, so that when your guests leave, you can relax, too!