The time of year for frolics and festivities is almost upon us, starting with Halloween and working through Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Year's Eve, and Boxing Day. No other time of the year has so many parties jammed into such a small space of time- and it can get a bit overwhelming! Don't worry, though- we're here to help you plan a flawless fête without fret.
Without a doubt, the first step is to plan thoroughly. It is vital to know the approximate number of guests, the theme of the party, and the date. Let your attendees know as early as possible so that they have plenty of time to fit you into their schedule- it's only polite! This also gives you more than enough time to find the perfect decorations, plan your food and drinks out, and make sure your bash is to die for.
Make lists if you find them helpful of the tasks to complete each week as you get closer to the date- buying decor should be done furthest out, buying the beverages can be done a few weeks out, and buying food can be done a few days beforehand. The lion's share of decorating can be left until the day of, but don't leave it until the last minute. Otherwise, you'll find yourself without enough time to get ready yourself!
This is an important but often overlooked part of planning. Many times, it's just going to be the holiday theme that you plan on celebrating- New Year's Eve, Halloween, that kind of thing. If you want to throw a truly unique event, though, try to get a bit more detailed. Maybe you want to do New Year's in New York or Halloween in Westeros. This lets you tailor the party to be a more exclusive and interesting event, with themed food, cocktails, and even attire. Encourage your guests to take part if you are doing a specific theme- you can even award prizes to the guests with the best clothing or most in the spirit of the party. (Mini bottles of alcohol are perfect for this!)
Food and Drink
It's a vital part of any gathering: the snacks and libations. Wine, beer, and bubbly are easy and popular options, but be sure to have a good variety to keep everyone happy and socially lubricated. If you have a theme, try to stick to it with the drinks. For example, if you were to throw a Westeros party, try picking up a few bottles of mead (a wine made from honey that is gaining popularity), some traditional beers like Chimay, and some fruity red wines. Better yet, decant the wines into interesting bottles and label them with names that fit the theme. Creative cocktails are excellent for this as well, and can often be made in batches to ensure a minimum of work during the party itself. Be sure you also have a supply of water and nonalcoholic beverages available for those who want to stay sober and to keep everyone hydrated.
Food is also very important, but again, you don't want to be trapped in the kitchen- it's your party, after all! Select food that can be made beforehand and can either be left at room temperature or kept warm in a slow cooker to make life easier. Prepare everything you can the day before, or the morning of the event. Also keep in mind that it's no fun to try and wander through an event with a plate of food that needs knives and forks or is too big to be eaten in just a bite or two. Keep portions to smaller, mouth-sized bits to make everything nice and simple. This also makes it easy for guests to grab a quick nibble in between drinks, which keeps them from getting too drunk.
Music is, of course, a must. Be sure to keep with the theme and the holiday. Spotify, Pandora, and Slacker Radio can be your friends for quick and painless playlists, though you can certainly program your own if you have a large enough collection. I feel it's always a good idea to have a tv on (muted) for those who want to just sit down and chill for a bit, and there are plenty of good movies out there for any occasion.
Beyond this, though, it can be beneficial to the vibe of the party to have games as well. Games can help bring together the groups of work friends, weekend friends, and yoga class friends and ensure everyone is talking. Group games are always good- trivia is often a good choice, as everyone knows a little something. Give people an incentive to participate by having easily splittable gifts for the winners- silly things are often the best prizes that people will remember! Keeping everyone involved and circulating is the point of an epic party, after all, and this is one of the best ways to keep everyone chatting.
When the time finally comes, try to give yourself a little time to relax before everyone arrives. You don't want to be rushing around at the very last second trying to get ready or finish up preparations. If you have forgotten to do something, try not to stress about it. Parties are supposed to be fun, and that applies to you too! In fact, since you don't have to drive home, you get to have more fun than anyone else! If you've planned everything out properly, most of the work has been done before the actual date, so there shouldn't be too much for you to worry about. Enjoy your party, and make sure everyone else does too.
What was the best party you ever attended? Tell us in the comments below!