I'm getting ready to throw one of my two annual parties (Sat 25th, 1 p.m., come on out!) which made me think of it. A number of years ago we had a large house, and I was surprised that it is much easier to get people to intermingle in a smaller home or apartment. I once had something like 40 people in an 800 sq foot old townhouse, too cold outside to go there, and it was a huge success.
I think it's really important to make introductions, which is becoming a lost art. But it's important to get the various "clicques" broken up and reassembled. A good introduction will help with that. You don't want your relatives, his relatives, the people you work with, the people he works with, your neighbors, and your kids' parents separating off into groups who don't talk to each other. It makes for a very boring party of a bunch of people who talk to each other every day so being there isn't special. I also hate men in one room talking sports, women in another talking kids. I don't have kids, husband isn't a big sports fan, so that is excruciatingly boring.
After my last party (XMas) a freind was thrilled. "You don't have all the same old people at your parties!" Huh? this is a very small town (3500) and I'd think that everyone in town would be the "same old people!"