10 Common Hosting Disasters & Solutions That Will Save Your Party (PHOTOS)

Liz Alterman | Dec 24, 2014 Home & Garden

wine spillYou can have the most fabulous food and the best intentions, but if you've ever hosted a party where things went awry, you know some things are just beyond your control. 

From running out of hors d'oeuvres to suddenly experiencing a toilet backup, we've all either hosted or attended a gathering where disaster strikes. 

disasterWe've rounded up some of the most common problems that can occur when hosting a crowd and discovered solutions that will get your party back on track in no time.

Check them out below, then tell us: Have you ever experienced one of these with a house full of guests?


Image © LisaS/shutterstock & AndreyArmyagov/shutterstock

  • Plumbing Issues


    Image © LjupcoSmokovski/shutterstock

    Who knows what cousin Larry just tried to flush, but it didn't go down and now, you've got toilet trouble and a line backing up to use it. What's a host to do? Grab that plunger and get to work. Never used one before? Take a look at this video that explains how to create the suction you need to get things flowing again. 

    Don't have a plunger handy? Check out this tutorial for unclogging your toilet without one. All you need is hot water and dish soap. 

  • You've Run Out of Food


    Image @Corpid/shutterstock

    Your guests have arrived like they've just come off a hunger strike, and you suddenly find yourself with empty platters and a ravenous crowd. Don't panic!

    Consider simple appetizer recipes you can whip up in a flash. Cheese quesadillas are always a hit, as is easy guacamole served with chips. Pizza pinwheels can be put together in less than 30 minutes. And an overall tip: Consider keeping some extra ingredients on hand -- just in case!

  • Red Wine Spills


    Image © Bill Sykes/cultura/Corbis

    Some guests get a little too excited -- especially when there's wine involved. So what do you do when suddenly a large glass of red wine spills all over your couch or carpet? 

    Accidental Housewife Julie Edelman shares her secrets for removing that bright red blotch in a jiffy. A little white wine and salt will lift that stain, but remember: Dab, don't rub, and get started immediately!

  • Guests Are Feeding the Dog


    Image ©Agnes Kanteruk/shutterstock

    It's a party, and some guests want Spot to have a good time too. It's always wise to remind friends who don't own a pet that while your dog would love a pig in a blanket, it's really not good for him. Keep some dog biscuits on hand -- especially if you have young guests who'd get a kick out of giving your pet a treat. But if you find that your mutt somehow got into the buffalo wings and just got sick in the den, don't worry.

    This video walks you through how to clean up pet vomit. After you've removed the bulk of debris, start by sprinkling baking soda over the area to remove moisture and odor and work it into the carpet. A solution of vinegar and warm water sprayed on the spot will also help break down the stain. 

  • Guests Are Crowding the Kitchen


    Image © Randy Faris/Corbis

    Many party hosts agree that the kitchen always seems to be where the action is -- and, unfortunately, where guests congregate. This can make it tough to open the oven door or circulate with the rest of the crowd.  

    Emilie Hardman, a sociology PhD candidate and food blogger, explains that guests want to be near the host, as that's the person everyone knows. While that's understandable, it's the host's job to make them feel comfortable elsewhere. Something as simple as saying, "Come into the living room, there's someone you should meet," can do the trick.

    If you return to find the kitchen crowded once again, consider asking a guest or two to pass around a tray of appetizers or check on the levels of chips and dips in the other room. Most people want to be helpful and will accept the task.

  • Muddy Footprints


    Image © 2/Ocean/Corbis

    You're thrilled all the kids are getting along, tossing a football around the backyard. But you're far from elated when they come running into the house leaving a trail of muddy footprints all over the carpet. Don't panic and scream, "Party's over! Everyone out!" just yet.

    Whether you have synthetic or natural fiber carpeting, removing mud is easier than you'd think. Dishwashing detergent and a little lukewarm water can go a long way toward fixing the problem and getting you back in the party mood. 

  • Vomit on the Rug


    Image ©DavePot/shutterstock

    You knew your nephew looked a little green when he arrived, but you were hoping it was just because of the long car ride.

    What do you do when a guest suddenly gets sick all over the living room carpet? First, escort everyone else out of the room to prevent a possible chain reaction, then follow these clean-up steps: Remove all debris first, then grab your white vinegar and allow it to soak in before rubbing it in and follow the rest of the steps in this helpful video. 

  • Handling Drunk Guests


    Image ©gwolters/shutterstock

    Once the drinks are flowing, some people don't know when to say when. The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health explains that as a host, you should be prepared to ask for a guest’s car keys or invite your guest to stay overnight if you suspect she's had too much to drink. Have designated drivers in mind before the party starts, and make sure they're sober. It's also a good idea to have cash and phone numbers ready for taxis.

    Before sending that guest home in a cab or with a sober driver, offer him or her a pint of water or a bit of fresh air -- and definitely get them away from the bar!

  • Lingering Guests


    Image ©auremar/shutterstock

    Etiquette experts agree that if you know you have guests coming who won't leave until all the food is gone, and the sun is rising, it's a smart idea to put an end time on your invitation. This also compels guests to arrive on time. 

    Table Manners columnist Helena Echlin advises, "If you set an end time, guests will stop treating your drinks party like a concert where they can drift in whenever. Instead, they'll treat it like a movie, where they won't show up late, because it means missing too much."

  • There's Nowhere to Sit


    Image © 2/Andersen Ross/Ocean/Corbis

    Let's face it: Guests get tired of standing after a while. Don't force adults to juggle their food and drinks or end up in an impromptu game of musical chairs, waiting for someone else to give up a seat. Before the party, arrange whatever you have on hand -- benches, ottomans -- in an inviting circle.

    Still don't have enough places to sit? Give your patio furniture a good cleaning and bring it indoors. By the end of the night, your guests will be especially glad to take a load off. 

home life entertaining kitchen home repair

More Slideshows