Here’s the deal: nearly everyone in this world enjoys a party. There’s food, drinks, friends, and great music. What’s not to like? The flipside, of course, is that practically no one would ever claim to enjoy planning parties.
The prep work is definitely time consuming. First you need to know how many people are coming over, and then you have to plan a quick menu for everyone. Even the most casual chips-and-dip parties still require preparations, so just imagine double the work for actual, sit-down dinners. You also have to consider the post-party problems. You’re already tired from the actual partying; unfortunately, you still have the dishes and leftovers to deal with when the guests are gone. You’ll be cleaning up on your own and wondering what exactly happened to your brain when you decided to throw a party.
This is pretty much why a lot of people shy away from actually throwing parties. Of course, you can always get friends to help out with the post-party clean up, but it would be bad taste to force them to stay behind and share with the grunt work. They may volunteer, but you forcing them to help out will probably end the party on a sour note. Besides, it’s your party. You don’t want people to remember you as “that guy who made me clean up after inviting me to dinner”.
So let’s say you still want to throw a party, but don’t want to suffer through the difficulties of planning it. Here are a few tips that should really help you out.
1. Keep the number of guests small.If it’s your first time to plan a party, try to keep it as manageable as you can. If you can only cook for three to four people (including yourself), don’t invite half a dozen. It’s better to keep the party intimate than worry needlessly about the logistics.
2. Prepare a proper menu. This just means you have to think about what you’re serving your guests. If you have any specialty dishes, of course your menu should showcase them. If you’re not the cooking type, consider ordering and plating to at least preserve the “home-cooked” feel. At the very least, the idea is to have a list of courses so you know exactly what you’re looking for when …
3. … you draw up your shopping list. This has to be done at least a few days prior to your party. A list keeps you organized, so you don’t realize in the middle of cooking stroganoff that you forgot to pick up the beef. It also helps you keep within budget, as you already have a planned meal in mind and won’t wander through the aisles of the supermarket looking at random products.
4. Make it personal. The difference between a home party and dinner out is that you’re supposed to offer a homey touch. Small things like preparing your friends’ favorite dessert, or remembering their preferred drinks – these make your party a much more memorable one than just a dinner out and about.
5. Have fun. It goes without saying that the goal of a party is to enjoy. Some hosts tend to go all out with their preparations that they become more occupied with the cooking and preparing that they end up wasting the night away in the kitchen. Hope for the best, plan for the worst, but once your guests arrive, just let the night take its course.
Gwen Addison is an avid event and party planner. She highly recommends creating and sending out Custom Invitation Cards for your next party with easy-to-use Greeting Cards Software. Your guests will love them!