Let the good times roll -- no matter what roadblocks arise.

The only thing worse than a party turned disastrous: a host who can't take it in stride. With so many moving parts, things can go awry despite the best-laid plans -- and in the case of event planner Bronson van Wyck, I do mean best-laid plans. I recently interviewed Bronson on my radio show, and his tips for saving a party gone wrong are brilliant in their simplicity. Heed them to keep tensions low and spirits high.

Remember, time is your friend. Momentum will keep a mishap from derailing the event. Did your florist bail last-minute? Did a guest send the punch bowl flying? Well, it'll all be over soon, because it has to be -- the party has a set beginning and end. You can deal with the fallout later, but don't waste limited time with your guests fretting over things that don't matter. You'll regret that more than a stained tablecloth.

…And so is alcohol. It's amazing what people will forgive when the drinks are flowing. If you're doing a full bar, consider reaching out to students at your local bartending school, who will often jump at the chance to practice their skills for a low flat rate. You'll save money (which can go toward more drinks) and wind up with a someone who's not only capable, but enthusiastic -- that's more than many event bartenders! If you're hosting a more intimate party, try a big-batch, make-ahead cocktail. You can easily mix before guests arrive, but you won't want to be muddling once they're there.

Use the power of distraction. On that note, people will naturally cluster around the food and drink. Keep this in mind while setting up -- do you really want guests hanging out in your kitchen? -- and use it as a tactic if trauma erupts. If you'd like your guests to migrate elsewhere, move the bar.

If you have any tips to save a party that's gone off the rails, I'd love to hear your stories in the comments!

Comments (1)

Martha Stewart Member
June 5, 2014
All great ideas. I would add to the list to keep the food simple and delicious. Often I attend parties with bland, store-brought prepared food. I would be happy with best quality olives, grapes and nice cheese with delicious bread. At my gatherings, I always have something sweet, even if it's as simple as a chocolate chip cookie (homemade of course).