The older I get, the more I’m surprised at the number of people who have made it to adulthood without knowing how to throw a half-decent party. Because yes, you can send the invitations and buy the beer, but that doesn’t mean people will end up enjoying themselves. It’s almost Christmas, so you may be in the midst of setting up your very own party right now! Here are some of our tips on how to throw one that people will be excited to attend.
1. BE CHILL: In our post on how to be a good host, we mention the importance of being gracious. You never want to make your guests feel like their presence is a burden for you (especially if you’re the one who invited them!). The way you execute this will be different depending on the type of party you’re hosting. If you’re hosting a dinner party, find dishes you can make ahead or order out one or two things so you’re not spending all your time stressed in the kitchen. If it’s a potluck, make sure you’re not getting 12 potato dishes, but let your friends make what they want to make. Most people have a better time if it’s a little more free-flowing.
2. Music: Have you ever been to a fun party where there is no music playing? If you have, please comment and tell us how this was accomplished, because in my opinion nothing kills a party faster than when there’s a lull in the conversation and you’re left with absolute silence. If you’re having a party where people are dancing obviously music is important, but don’t discount it as filler noise when people are just getting into conversations. And unless you trust all the guests’ music tastes, make sure there’s one person in charge. Otherwise that one person whose idea of a good time is Papa Roach B-sides WILL be taking over your iPod.
3. Activities: If you want to have specific activities like watching a movie or playing board games, definitely include that in the invitation. Springing things like that on a group is definitely a “know your audience” thing. Some people will be totally down for an impromptu game of charades, others will just see it as forced fun, and an interruption to the perfectly fine time they were having before.
4. Food and Drink: Again, the availability here will depend on what kind of party you’re having, but plan on having at least something for everyone, whether it’s a cheese plate and some wine or a keg and order-out pizza. Unfortunately, this is where I see most hosts stressing themselves out, either trying to provide every single option or haranguing their guests to show up with something. Remember, most guests will show up with something without you reminding them! I can’t remember the last time I hosted a party where most of my guests didn’t offer to bring food, alcohol or something else before I even got the chance to ask for it.