In other words, your guests won't be judging you.
"They just want to have a good time. They want you to have a good time, too," Lowell said.
Before the get-together
The week before a party, allow about one hour a night for planning and preparation, Lowell suggested.
"If you haven't planned ahead, that's a real party killer," he said.
To Sharon Runkles of Boonsboro, having a plan is key to hosting a party.
"I'm an organizer, so when I know I'm going to have a party, the list comes out," said Runkles, intake coordinator for Behavioral Health Partners in Frederick, Md.
Runkles allows her children, Madeline, 12, and Evan, 9, to select theme parties for their birthdays.
Then she transforms her house to fit the theme. A little bit of creativity goes a long way.
"I plan the food around the party," Runkles said.
When Evan wanted a military party, his mom transformed her kitchen into a canteen. Everyone wore dog tags, and the entree was creamed chipped beef, which seemed appropriate for a military mess hall.
"Food is my way of making people happy," said Runkles, 40. "The more people in my home, the better it is. For me, entertaining is a way of relaxing."
It can be satisfying to entertain.
"I get great joy out of serving people," said Kline, noting that it is important to think things through before deciding to host an event. "Experience is your greatest asset."
The only way to gain experience, though, is to begin somewhere.
Choose fast, approachable, easy foods to make your get-together a casual, fun experience for everyone involved, Faden said.
Do all the preparatory work, chopping and marinating ahead of time so you can be part of your party, Faden recommended.
"For serving, you can make everything from scratch, but if it's stressing you out, don't make everything from scratch," said Jodi Colombo, an event planner whose business, Beyond Ordinary, is based in Hagerstown. "When you invite people to your home, they come to see you. It's not as much about what you're serving."
What about the clutter?
Afraid of what people will think of the clutter in your home? Assign a bedroom that is not going to be used and turn that room into a storage area.