Get Your Party On with Entertaining Expert Cheryl Najafi

Get your party started with quick tips from The Today Show's entertaining expert Cheryl Najafi. Cheryl, author of the best-selling book You're So Invited, provides the path to panic less, play more and have fun with her seven rules for throwing a party.

  1. Take baby steps. If you’re new to party planning or entertaining, Cheryl recommends starting small. You do not want to jump in with a big celebration, such as a spouse's 40th birthday party. Instead, invite a few of your best friends over for a Chinese takeout party. "Surround yourself with people who love you and are rooting for you.”
  2. Drum up a theme. When you title an event, you instantly elevate it and the party takes on a personality of its own, advises Cheryl. Once, she planned a hiking-themed party with khakis as the required attired. A chili cook-off was the main entree and dessert was served in a tent. Imagine the laughter climbing into a tent to fetch a piece of cake. Guests used blue tin camping plates for food and canteens for drinks.
  3. Break the rules. When it comes to parties, do something different. Who says wine glasses must hold wine. This entertaining expert suggests serving shrimp cocktail, chopped salad and fettuccine with mini meatballs in wine and martini glasses.
  4. Expect that something will go wrong–and be ok with it. Cheryl thinks of entertaining as if she's driving a bumper car. If she hits something, she changes direction. Above all, don't apologize for a mishap, instead make light of it.
  5. Follow your bliss. Trust your instincts. If you feel strongly about something, go with it. Focus on the positive. For a dinner party hosting her husband’s clients, she set a formal table and served kid food, such as mini gourmet pizzas, mac and cheese and chicken-finger skewers.  The outcome–everyone loved it.
  6. Focus on your strengths. To help get a sense of your strengths and style, this expert recommends you make a list of things you hate and things you love. Pick one thing you're great at and do it well.
  7. Focus on your guests. Enjoy your guests. Cheryl found when she funnels her energy into making her guests feel special–the pressure to be perfect dissolves.

With Cheryl’s seven rules for party planning, your next bash will be a success!