A party can be a place where a lifetime relationship begins with a toss of the hair or where social mobility ends with an ill-conceived joke. Be honest with yourself if you are throwing a party for reasons like impressing the boss or playing matchmaker. Always remember when throwing a party that it is better to have too much elbow room than be stuffed butt to gut all night long. And also remember that nothing ends a party like a safe ride home for anyone who overindulged in spirits.
How do you throw a birthday party? By sending out invitations. Guess what? Party invitations are not just for birthdays and weddings. A memorable party commences with the arrival of memorable invitations. Creative invites run the gamut from you showing up and personally performing a singing invitation to a box left outside the front door that reveals an invitation tied to a helium balloon when opened. Creative invitations are almost a guarantee for more people you invite to actually show up. After all, if you put that much thought into the invitation, the party itself will be dynamite.
Assign a Theme
Every party has a theme, even if you don’t think so. What you would normally consider a non-themed party may actually be a Goodbye-to-Summer or Last-Friday-of-April party. There is a perfectly valid reason to assign a theme to your party: it narrows your choices for decor and eats and that’s a good thing, Martha my dear.
How can you possibly throw a great party without your food coming into cosmic alignment with your theme? Unless befuddlement is part of your them. A Hawaiian luau with steak and potatoes just isn’t really a Hawaiian luau party, no matter how well you grill up a steak on your George Foreman. Themed food doesn’t necessarily mean food, either. Party theme food that matches a theme can mean everything from shaken-not-stirred martinis served at a James Bond-theme parties to caviar for your Academy Awards party to vanilla ice cream at a party to make fun of the Tea Party. To make sure you aren’t caught short, make it an elemental task that you have every edible item inside your house the day before the party.
Staging a Party Like a Play
Organized parties often get out of control because of lack of planning. The best way to avoid both parties getting out of control and parties that quickly die is to think of it in terms of putting on a play. Orchestrate activities, eating, entertainment and games as if each represented one act of a play. Icebreaking games could Act One and last roughly 20 minutes. Playing games could be Act Two and last 45 minutes. The order matters far less than that you provide ample time to enjoy the party festivities and that you don’t become so strict with your production that you usher in a lousy fourth act simply because the third act is running long. Don’t be afraid to sacrifice certain plans if other plans are going better than expected.
More or Less
Make preparations for either more guests than expected. Even if you request an RSVP on your creative invitation, it doesn’t guarantee that the number you expected from that house will arrive. It is better to have too much food than too little and it is always easier to cut back on planned activities than come up with something to entertain more than expected.