1. Even if you put a ton of effort into making a seven hour long playlist that includes songs you know are special to particular guests, the music will not be the focus. Nobody cares about your playlist as much as you do.
2. Caja chinas are the best thing ever. Cooper cooked pork shoulders AND chickens in ours - and they were the best food we had.
3. Underbuy on salad. Even when the salad is from Samos. Trust me on this. Underbuy on cider, too, even if it's fall.
4. When it's warm out, people drink beer. Not red wine. Of course you can't predict the weather, so even though I knew this before, I still bought way too much red wine, all of which is still in the wine cellar. And we ran out of beer. Which brings me to...
5. While it always seems like a good idea to get a third keg, in reality, a few 30-packs would make a lot more sense.
6. If you need a bunch of cheap tablecloths that can be ruined, WalMart is your store.
7. You can never have too many plain white platters. As a corrollary: try to live near an IKEA.
8. People bring desserts. Which is nice.
9. When you make your day-of timeline (what, don't you make a timeline?) leave tons of time for putting food out. Otherwise, you will spend the first hour of the party with your mom, ferrying food and in and out of the house.
10. RV = playhouse. This family had the right idea. Just be sure that none of the kids have the keys (we learned the hard way on that one). And another good tip: before you let kids inside, disconnect the battery so they can't blow the horn. You'll thank me on that one.