So we’ve been working hard all these months and shouldn’t it be time to reward ourselves with a party? The year-end festive mood is just the right excuse to let our hair down and have some fun.
Don’t fret if you’re tasked with the role of party organiser. You may think that you’ll miss the chance to enjoy your long—waited rest. After all, the weight of all your party guests’ happiness rests squarely on your shoulders. That’s a huge responsibility isn’t it? Well in fact as the organser, you get to enjoy the fun even before the party begins.
With a little strategic planning and a cool head, you can host a great party without too much hassle. ’ Best of all, you will probably enjoy planning, thinking of ideas, preparing the food, choice of music and decorating the place.
Whether it’s a house party for the family, an office party for colleagues or a party for friends, there are just some basic rules of the thumb that will make your life easier and the party livelier.
FRIENDS, FUN AND FOOD DEFINE A PARTY
Any social gathering can be simplified into three main components: guests, food and drinks, and of course entertainment. Once these are taken care of, the other aspects such as decorations’ and door gifts are other items that you can easily string together.
If you have any say in deciding who gets to come to the party, you will want to choose people who will enjoy each others’ company. At the very least, refrain from inviting to the same party guests who are at loggerheads with each other. Look for people who are like-minded with similar interests so that everyone can gel together.
Sometimes, the guest list is fixed, as in the case of a family gathering or work party. Then what you can do is to see that you don’t sit hostile parties next to each other. But all said, parties are also social opportunities to meet new people outside our circle. Chances are, in a big party, not everyone knows each other. Some of your shyer guests may end up as wallflowers if you don’t help out. As the host, you probably know most of your guests, and should take the initiative to introduce people. If you are familiar with your guests, try to link up those with a common understanding, such as having the same hobbies or working in the same industry. This will help your guests feel at home. Otherwise, include an ice-breaking event to kick off the party.
Be observant, mingle with your guests, reach out to those who appear to look out of place and see if you can help them feel more involved. Some introverts are not comfortable with interacting with other guests, but would gladly help with the management aspects of the party, such as serving food, —manning ‘the music playlist etc.
That said, if you are feeling overwhelmed with all the planning, don’t be shy to enlist the help of some friends or co—workers. More hands make lighter work.
From card games to dancing to themes and costumes, there are many things one can do to spice up a party. The most important thing, how- ever, is to set clear expectations for your guests. Your invitation should contain the following information: Date and time, venue, what to bring, whether they can invite other people, dress code, and how to RSVP. When other aspects such as food and activities are firmed up, notify your guests.
This will enable your guests to make preparations on their part so they can make the most out of the party. For example, a guest can’t have fun at a beach party if he has not been told to bring his swim wear!
Setting the mood is important at a party. Regardless whether there is a dance floor, good music livens up the atmosphere, and could even be a conversation starter. Design a playlist depending on the theme of the party and the type of atmosphere you wish to set. Balance well-known songs with lesser known ones, as Well as high-tempo songs with slow songs.
Avoid lights that are too bright. Warm light creates a cozier and more welcoming ambiance. Short bursts of coloured lights with the right music can heat up the mood and encourage people to dance. Just ensure that this is only at the dance floor so you don’t give all your guests a headache. Year-end party decor helps too in getting everyone into the party mood. And you may want to give each guest a party pack with whistles, balloons, masks, hats and sweets.
Keep activities simple and easy to follow, and that will eventually get people joining. Don’t be too serious about the rules and don’t force those who aren’t willing to take part. After all you don’t want to upset your guests.
Give your guests a comfortable and safe environment. There should be sufficient comfortable seating. Clean bathrooms should be available, and put up signs to remind guests to keep the bathroom clean. Keep breakables and sharp objects away from potentially dangerous situations. If your guests are drunk, give them a quiet room and some water or hot tea to sober up before leaving, and remind them not to drive.
Food can make or break a party. When people are tired after fun and games, or bored, eating comes next. For those who don’t want to look awkward standing around trying to blend into the walls, the buffet table is their sanctuary. If your guests aren’t enjoying the activities, at least they can enjoy the food.
Variety is key to satisfying a large party. Foods like pizza and fried chicken are common at parties, but not necessarily enjoyed by all. Some guests may favour healthy food like fruits and snacks. You may have the guest with health issues, or the guest who’s on a diet. And don’t forget the ones who are allergic to peanuts, or can’t stomach raw fish or even seafood. Label your dishes like they do at hotel buffets. Do take note of anyone who requires special diet because of religious or health reasons.
Aside from the usual booze and soft drinks, do provide healthier options like fruit juices and water as well. On a side note, if you have guests who react poorly to alcohol, keep them away from the booze so they don’t endanger themselves and others.
Keep the menu simple. Not everyone has an adventurous palate. While having a couple of exotic or interesting dishes is fine, it is best to have basic recipes that most people can eat.
For small parties, potlucks are good as not only are they more affordable, they also encourage guests to have a shared responsibility in contributing to a party. Of course, it will likely add a different set of worries. Some coordination will be required to make sure that there is diversity and guests do not bring the same dishes.
To keep your food fresh and delicious, don’t place your food at room temperature for more than two hours. Use portable stoves to keep your hot food hot, and an ice box or cooler to keep your cold food cold. Most catering services will provide these for you. Observe food safety and hygiene.
Last but not least, you can’t please everyone, so do not beat yourself up if some guests did not enjoy themselves. Put in your best effort, and enjoy your own party. Your satisfaction is to hear your guests saying: “Thank you, it’s the best party ever.”
– This article first appeared in a lifestyle magazine