I don’t consider myself an entertaining guru by any means, but over the last four years of my life (around the same amount of time I have been married) I have hosted my fair share of parties. I love opening my home, welcoming people in, and showing everyone a good time. I think that a party done right can be a truly memorable experience that can only strengthen relationships. They are a time to share, to laugh, to unwind, and to create fun memories with good friends.
I particularly love that moment in party when everyone’s guard comes down (typically after a drink or two, wink wink) and when they physically look like they are comfortable (stiffness is gone and their posture is relaxed.) It’s after that moment, when people start sharing funny stories and laughter comes easy. Friends are such a crucial part of life. A good friend can help you conquer hardships and can help brighten the worst of our days. Not to be corny or anything, but they definitely make life sweeter!
So when guests come over to our home, I want to do everything in my power to make sure they feel relaxed and taken care of. It’s the little things that matter — from having a tidy and clean house for them to be in, to providing a constant flow of snacks and drinks so that they don’t ever feel like their needs are not being taken care of. And it is these little things that truly make a difference in the overall experience.
It can be a lot of work, but after all is said and done, that time and energy you’ve spent for your friends, is 110% worth it! My husband and I absolutely love having friends over.
Over these last few years I have learned a few tricks here and there that have helped me immensely when planning and coordinating parties. It’s a short list of useful things I think about and/or do before, during and after a party, that has helped me when hosting. And today, I have decided to share this list with you in hopes that it serves as a guide or brings good ideas your way!
So let’s get started, shall we? Here we go!
- Put together your guest list:
Is it a friend, family or work related party? Try to find a mix of people who make an interesting group. Be sure to be strict about the size that fits your space, as you don’t want it to feel crowded.
- Set your date:
Think of your guests when selecting a date. What day is it more likely that your guests are available? You probably want to work around their schedules, as you want them to show up and you want it to be convenient for them!
Extend an invitation one to two weeks prior to the party date; a simple phone call, text message or Facebook message will do. Remember to re-confirm their attendance one or two days before the party (serves as a good reminder for your guests; people have so much going on, that I guarantee a quick text will be much appreciated!)
- Set your budget:
Consider drinks, food, cooking and prepping gadgets, serving tools, flowers and decorations to establish your initial budget. See what you have available at home, and start planning your shopping trip by creating a list of all of the other items you are still to get. To stick to your initial budget as much as possible, do your research ahead of time:
- Find out which stores carry the products you need and compare prices to see which store has the cheapest tag-price.
- Search online for in-store coupons that apply to products you need; you can print these out ahead of time and have them ready to go for your shopping day trip(s).
These two tricks will help cut down the bill and might even allow you to buy an extra bottle of wine at the end of the day (wohoo!)
- Plan your music and entertainment:
Tailor your music selection to the preferences of the group of people you’re inviting as this will make everyone feel comfortable and at ease. Make sure your selection goes along well with the type of party you’re planning on throwing; you don’t want to have hip-hop playing in the background during a fancy sit-down dinner party, just like you don’t want to have a jazz playlist when you’re trying to get people to get their funk on in the dance floor! Make sure both “party type” and guest preferences are considered when selecting music.
Whether you’re putting together a kid’s birthday party, a family BBQ, a bachelorette party or an Ugly Christmas Sweater party, make sure you select appropriate entertainment. A kid’s party may require clowns and face painters, while a bachelorette party may call for beer games and dirty dancers! 😉 Call various local businesses ahead of time to see what their availability is and what their hourly rates are; make sure you book your entertainment in advance to ensure it’s locked down for the day of the event! Call a few days prior to the event just to ensure you are locking in for their services; last thing you want is for them not to show up when you’re guests are already looking forward to this fun party treat!
- Create a solid plan and stick to it:
- Two (or more) weeks before:
- Create your guest list.
- Set the party’s date and send out invitations (or call to invite.)
- Begin your online research for: party-theme ideas, decoration ideas, recipe ideas, any local services you may need, product price comparisons, and coupon saving/printing.
- Consider what you need for the party (taking into consideration the items listed above) and set a realistic budget.
- Book needed services.
- The week before:
- Confirm RSVPs.
- Order any needed products online (sometimes you’ll need products that your local stores don’t carry, so ordering them online is the only way to go — pay attention to delivery dates and times to ensure you get them on time!)
- Buy any needed gadgets, tools and decorations.
- Two days before:
- Determine a fun music playlist and create it.
- Start setting up decorations.
- Start baking or cooking things that wont spoil.
- The day before:
- Remind guests of the party.
- Grocery shop.
- Pick up fresh flowers.
- Finish setting up decorations.
- At night, food prep as much as possible: wash fruits, etc.
- The day of:
- Deep clean your house; make sure everything is put away and in its place.
- Stock your bathrooms with toilet paper, tissues, and fresh towels.
- Set up food and beverage area.
- Shower and beautify yourself. 😉
- Get music started to get you in the mood and to have it all set up and ready for when guests arrive.
- Put food and drinks out for your guests.
- HAVE FUN!