Dear Hearts, I can't stress this enough. You MUST have basic party prep finished before guests arrive. My best suggestion is have your best friend over to 1/2 hour earlier to help set up. I have been to parties where I am the one setting up, while the host is busy greeting guests. See, greeting your guests must be a priority, however, if you are not yet ready....? Well, you see the dilemma.
7 days before: Intensive house cleaning - scrub baseboards, ceiling fans, hand wash floors.
3 days before: Prepare food list, grocery list and to-do list.
2 days before: Get out all the serving dishes you will use and wash them and place them on dining room table for easy access.
1 day before: All shopping must be finished by this day! The rest of the day should be spent making the dishes that can be made in advance and beginning set up.
Day of: Spot cleaning and finish all prep, including assigning jobs to helpful friends and kids.
By the time your guests arrive, your main job should be filling drinks, seeing that no empty dish is ever left on a table, (My personal pet peeve, I'm a nazi about that.) and chatting. Also, and this is absolute must. Please see that everyone is introduced to one another. Don't invite a houseful of guests that don't know each other and leave them to shuffle around awkwardly until the liquor kicks in.
Don't freak out if you are not perfect. I've made each of these mistakes and that is how I learned for the next time! But do learn from them.
Last tip: Keep Celebrating!