Party Planning Ideas
Don’t wait until the next holiday to throw a shindig. For most of the country, we are sitting frozen in our homes surrounded by snow and ice. If the weather has you freezing… heat things up by hosting a theme party and game night. In fact, the following tips will encourage you and your friends to PARTY all year-round!
Tips for throwing an awesome party any time of year:
1.See the Possibilities: Okay, so you’ve realized that there is definitely interest and time to host a party and now you’ve set the date. Whether it’s someone’s birthday, a milestone occasion, a real reason to celebrate or not…start envisioning the possibilities. Should you pick a theme, require guests to dress up, play games or decorate? I suggest yes to all of the above. It makes for great pictures, can be done so on a tiny budget and the memories will last for years. It’s time for a theme party!
2.Who to invite? This is probably obvious, but depending on space and the number of players needed for “the year’s most awesome game night,” you may want to make your invitation list smaller or larger. Games like Twister, Charades, Apples to Apples and Catch Phrase are great for larger crowds. But “pair” games, those requiring 2 people to a team such as Cranium or a Murder Mystery party, need fewer numbers. So invite the town or just your closest couple friends and choose the games accordingly.
3.Meet and Greet: When guests arrive, arrange for an ice breaker, a perfect way to get your guests to co-mingle and reduce the possibility of wallflower syndrome. Arrange your furniture differently if it opens the room for more walking and talking. Some traditional ice breakers include name tags; everyone fills out a nametag with not their name, but their 3 favorite things. It induces conversation and allows for people to introduce themselves only after a conversation has already been started. You could also use color coded wine charms on the stems of the glassware you use. That way, for the games you play later, the pairs of people needed are those whose wine glasses match! No one is left out or “picked last” and now your guests get to meet someone new.
4.Turn up the Tunes: …but not too loud. Make sure your music isn’t so loud that it’s hard for guests to hear each other. It is also a good idea to appoint either your significant other or friend to play DJ for the night. That way you can sit back and manage all the other tasks. Find some good rhythm and beats that will get people moving to the music. Maybe they’ll even start dancing and singing. Bring people “back to the oldies” or impress them with music they’ve never heard. Burn CD’s ahead of time or use iTunes or your music player to set up a play list. Choose the “shuffle” option and your party is good to for the evening.
5.Offer Deliciousness: This can be totally stress free and here’s how. Ask for help! On the invitations you send or by word or mouth, simply assign an hors’duerves to each person. You can obviously make the hot appetizers, since you have the stove and oven, etc… Buy why not ask friends to supply the veggie tray, chips and dip, cheese and sausage, etc…? Other great snack ideas are gourmet pretzels, spinach dip and Hawaiian bread, cheesy popcorn and potato chips with French onion dip. If going for something more “posh” – Google recipes online and you’ll print off at least 30 in five minutes! With that said, don’t be afraid to ask your friends to bring food along. They may even take it as an opportunity to show off their own cooking skills!
6.Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff: Try as you may to let the party run itself. The people and music, the food and drink will all create the atmosphere on their own. Try not to obsess over every detail and hide yourself in the kitchen. Your guests came to enjoy your company too! And if possible, take a shower and get ready for the party an hour before because if you look good, you’ll feel a lot better about the flow of the evening. If you forgot to buy ice…you can send someone for it. Just sit back and relax and pour yourself the first glass of vino!
7.Give Something Away: As guests depart, offer them something to remind them of the evening. Be known for your awesome party favors and guests will look forward to your next party. For example, make copies of the CD you played that night, especially if the theme you chose tied to the music you played. Salsa music played at your fiesta, Italian artists from a wine and cheese, Jamaican beats after returning from a vacation, etc… What about giving away a pair of wine charms, monogrammed key chains or bumper stickers from your favorite sports team? Again, the theme you choose can tie into the way you decorate, to what you serve as appetizers, the music you play and the favors you hand out. The theme will dictate not only the sights and décor, but the sounds of the party as well.
8.Friends don’t let Friends: Make sure if you are serving alcohol that your guests drink responsibly. Have a safe place to store coats, purses and hats. Tidy up and stow away any items that could fall over and break. The reality is that no matter how old the average age of the party, accidents do happen! Keep an eye out for any potential “issues” and vacuum the guest room just in case someone needs a place to stay overnight.
by Rachel Kuebbing & Kristen Grace,