A lot of people who host parties are clueless about how to throw a great one. Even people who have thrown good parties in the past may want to get a few pointers. This article offers advice on what you need to consider as you plan your party. Party hosts who have time to plan in advance might want to make a party planning checklist.
Great Party Settings
There are many places to host parties although the most common tend to be at places where people live such as apartments, fraternity houses, condos, and houses (as opposed to say, renting a party room at a hotel). Remember to inform your neighbors before the party.
Before you decide to actually have a party, keep in mind that both friends and strangers will be coming to the place where you rest your head at night, and likely making a mess of it! Don’t let this deter you, but you should be aware that some guests may get drunk and show no respect for your home. They may steal or break something or worse, puke all over your belongings! It has happened ya know! Don’t expect to be able to follow everyone all night and besides, you want to have fun at your own party so let loose a little!
“…When a couple is hot and bothered and drunk, they will be creative in finding a spot to play because they want it right now!…”
Expect that some people will wander into various rooms, the roof, the fire escape stairwell, or the backyard looking to hook up. When a couple is hot and bothered and drunk, they will be ‘creative’ in finding a spot to play because they want it now! Some party planners really plan ahead by putting condoms in bowls around the house.
Your potential guests need time to plan so be sure to book them in advance. This is especially true of occasion or holiday parties like Halloween or New Year’s Eve where people tend to wait until the last minute so they can try to find the ‘best’ party out there. If you get them to commit in advance, a lot more people will show up and the party has a better chance of being a success.
So, what is enough notice? For a typical party, try to let people know at least 2 weeks in advance. For holiday or other parties, 2 weeks should really be the absolute minimum notice for people to RSVP.
One way to invite a lot of people is to send out a mass email. Many people don’t like it when people hit ‘reply all’ and write ‘I would love to be there but…’ thereby spamming everyone in the group. To avoid this, blind carbon copy (BCC) everyone on the list so no one sees the entire list.
Another way to use the Internet to invite everyone is to use Evite.com which helps send out the invitation and organizes the responses. This method is fun, easy to use, and has become very popular.
The next issue is deciding who to invite to your party. It’s better to invite as many single people as possible to the party. Single people will cut loose more often and stick around to see who else is coming. On a related note, as host it is your job to introduce everyone to everyone else. If your guests aren’t meeting anyone, they won’t stick around. Couples tend to leave parties early because there isn’t much for them to do.
Here are some ideas for theme parties: 60s, 70s, 80s, Halloween in Summer, Domination and Submission, Pimp and Ho (Pimp and Whore), Scavenger Hunt, A Theme Based on a Movie (Austin Powers, Star Wars,…), Any theme based on a TV show, Porn Star party, or combination of dress up as your favorite musician and karaoke party!
You can buy Karaoke machines for $75-200 at music and electronic stores. Don’t kid yourself about people using it. People are always shy to start but once they do, the party frequently goes into anarchy to see who will sing next!
Kamikaze parties can also lead to lots of debauchery. Everyone wears a white bandana with a big red dot in the middle (like a Japanese flag…kamikaze!). For every drink someone consumes, they get a mark on their bandana. That way you can see how many drinks (or just kamikazes) they have had. Women may be able to use this to their advantage and stay away from drunken idiots who have had a few too many, with the proof on their forehead!
Great Party Music
Music sometimes helps take away the awkwardness of the quiet times during the early stages of a party. It can also help get people talking, either about the music itself or just by having less people listen into a conversation since it acts as background noise.
Unfortunately, music is one of the most overlooked parts of parties. You’ll need to prepare music for when the party is getting started and moves into high gear, but also for when the party is quieting down after a night of craziness. Advice on party and chill out music can be found in Citynet Magazine’s guide to burning a great party CD.
Food is always key! Make sure you have enough chips, dips, nuts, and pretzels to keep people snacking all night. These also make people more thirsty and so they consume more, getting them even more drunk! Just for the record, your guests don’t have to be drunk to have a good time do never force anyone to drink. But, do keep in mind that a little alcohol can get people to relax and have a good time.
I would also suggest vegetable plates for the more health conscious. Also, some vegetables (and fruits) will refresh your mouth after a lot of chatting with fellow party-goers. The best types to have are those that you can easily grab and dip like carrots, cauliflower, peppers, etc.
It’s always better to have more food than less. You don’t want to run out of food because it could annoy your guests. Sometimes it’s hard to judge how much to buy but you can at least buy some giant party size bags of snacks (chips, pretzels, nuts, etc).
Since you are running the show and are graciously allowing people to party at your place, you only need to provide a handful of alcohol. Tell your guests to BYOB (Bring Your Own Beer) and they’ll comply. Have some hard alcohol and beer ready but remember that a lot of guests will bring more. Either way, you will need a ton of ice…don’t forget the ice!
You may get adventurous and buy a big slab of ice for an ice luge! Carve a path or two into the ice and pour shots at the top. Your guests can amuse themselves by opening their mouths at the bottom and drinking the alcohol as it pours in.
Sometimes house parties or fraternity parties get busted by the police. Make sure no one is selling alcohol! If you do choose to sell at your party, you may be able to get a one night alcohol selling permit which is frequently not that expensive.
One of the main things to consider for larger parties is that the fire inspectors will have to come by and certify that your setting is safe for groups to gather. This is usually not such a big deal and worth looking into early on.
You should also offer alternatives for people who are driving or simply don’t want to drink alcohol. Make sure you have bottled water and soft drinks. You should have soft drinks and lemons and limes for mixed drinks anyways. In fact, you might want to assign various drinks and such for different people to bring.
Finally, watch the drinking age or at least watch for the cops! In Canada, the drinking age is 18 or 19, depending on the province. In the US, it’s 21 and having underage people caught consuming alcohol at your party can land you in big trouble. If you think some people are underage but find it socially awkward to ask them to stop drinking, at least be smart and have people look out for the police. All of this may sound strange but after having been to many parties that were busted and known people who have gone to court, I think it’s realistic!
Anti-hangover pills are now widely available. Popular anti-hangover pills such as Chaser and RU-21 may be useful for you and your guests. Be sure to read about these pills in the Citynet Magazine review of anti-hangover pills.
The Great Party Atmosphere
The more people interact, the more they will enjoy your party. One trick to help ensure a lot of interaction is by setting up the furniture in a semi-circle. That way people can easily see one another on either side and are not all staring at the wall across the room or looking in all different directions trying to avoid staring right at the people directly across from them.
You also want to do something about the temperature. If it gets too hot, people will get sweaty, feel gross, and want to leave. On the other hand, some may just take their clothes off which may be a good thing! Ha ha! Either way, open windows!
The Clock is Ticking
The best parties are those that naturally take on a life of their own. Just play some music and let people mingle for a few hours, with or without dancing. The night will go by pretty fast so try to enjoy it as much as you can! There are also many activities you can set up to spice it up. Play board games with a sexual flavor, drunken twister, or regular drinking games.
Out of Town Parties
If you plan on throwing the party at a country house (cottage, beach house, mountain house, etc), you have to consider that many guests will expect to stay for the night. This means that you must be sure there is lots of room, enough bathroom facilities, and possibly something to snack on for breakfast.
You don’t want your guests to arrive in a bad mood so be sure you send out very clear driving directions. Include a map, phone number, and landmarks that they should see on the way (including landmarks that show they drove too far on a given road).
Throwing a large great party can be big undertaking. Be sure you’re ready for it! Prep your party checklist, bring a camera, have fun and party smart.