No party is complete without food — if you want your guests to stick around, provide food. But you also don’t want to spend the next three days glued to the kitchen, so what do you do? The party has to be fun for the host, too!
- Consider a DIY-style food service. Have all the ingredients for tacos, sundaes, breakfast, or anything your heart could imagine. And it’s another element of fun for your guests when they feel like they’re doing something, it gives them something to talk about and enjoy.
- Have finger foods available for guests as soon as they enter. Something they can pop in their mouth in the blink of eye. They’ll be content from moment one! Anything from veggies to chips to fruit to cheese to dessert is good! Also, finger food is easy and quick to prepare, too.
Think DOA — drinks on arrival. Just like the food, you want your guests sated as soon as possible. Having something to drink from the get-go allows you freedom from worrying about serving, in addition to all your other responsibilities as people trickle in.
- You could have a signature drink for the entire night (matching the color theme?) Just for the record, having a bowl of punch is efficient and tasty, and you could also have DIY cocktails too (set up everything for martinis with a little instruction sheet in the corner, for example). Or just a big ol’ tub of alcohol and soda!
- Take care of your DDS, if you have them. Don’t relegate them to drinking water or Diet Coke. Have flavored syrups available for homemade soda, or splash up that tonic water with fruit juices and garnishes.
Arrange it so that you won’t be distracted from being a good host/hostess by the need to tend to the music. Putting your iPod on shuffle just means something embarrassing like the Oklahoma! soundtrack will start playing or worse, someone will steal your iPod. So set up music that keeps it pumping and that no one will be walking away with.
- Wireless speakers are a good investment if you don’t already have them. Design a playlist now of all songs that meet your party needs. This is a great activity for a committee and the committee members can include their teenage children to help! Make sure the playlist is long enough so repeating will go unnoticed. When the party rolls around, you hit “play” and your DJ-ing job is done!
This is another good activity for a decorations committee. Your theme should make this a lot easier — once you know it, you can narrow down what you need and let the committee handle it. If you don’t want traditional decorations, use tablecloths and/or place-mats and the like, for easy clean up. Here’s a bare minimum checklist of things to have:
- Tablecloth and/or placemats
- Matching plates/cutlery/napkins
- Centerpiece for table(s)
- Party favors, seating tags, drink tags, etc.