There are good hosts--and there are Town & Country hosts who handle everything with enviable ease and manage to have fun at their own gatherings, too. They know how to set the scene for a memorable get-together, make guests feel comfortable, fill lulls in the conversation, create a cozy guest room, and much more. Here are the secrets to their success, with enough reassurance to relax even the most jittery prospective host. Whether the event is a full formal dinner or a cocktail party with hors d’oeuvres, this guide provides invaluable advice on putting together the guest list; readying the house; estimating how much food you’ll need; hiring caterers and other professionals; selecting a restaurant or banquet hall; making introductions (even when you’ve drawn a blank on a name); and dealing with awkward situations. Plus, there are timetables to keep your planning on track, and sidebars featuring great party givers, conversation jump-starters, instructions for decanting a bottle of wine, suggestions for throwing a party in a small apartment, and much more.