The big night is here: the night of your first big party. I don't mean a "parents-are-out-of-town" or "getting-drunk-on-a-stolen-keg" party, I mean a party with tasty food, sparkling cider, and a guest list. Whether you're throwing your first soirée, dinner party, pool bash, or holiday celebration, there are several things you should know before you dive right in! You don't want things to accidentally spiral out of control and end up with the police on your doorstep, but you also don't want everyone to get so bored that they leave early. Here are a few tips for first time party throwers that will help you avoid both of those scenarios!
1. Send out Invitations
Invitations are somewhat of a lost art, but they are still a tradition many people appreciate. Get creative with your invitations, then send them out or hand them out in person to your friends. Even though a mass text could be faster and cheaper, invitations are totally worth the extra effort! They make your party seem more legit so people will be more likely to attend; plus, tangible invitations make great mementos for remembering your first big party!
2. Have Food Ready Ahead of Time
Nothing is more awkward than having guests arrive at your party as you run around frantically turning on the stove, turning off the oven, draining pasta, and ordering pizza all at once. So let me save you the stress and let you in on my rule of thumb: have everything ready 30 minutes before guests plan to arrive. It’s way easier to throw something in the microwave if people show up late than to cook with guests loitering in your kitchen!
3. Have a Variety of Food and Drinks
Everyone has a different taste in food and drink, so you have to account for that. You’d be surprised how sour someone’s mood can turn if you don’t offer food they like at your party. And the last thing you want at your first big party is a party pooper! So make sure you have a variety of refreshments, without spending all of your money on them, to keep your guests as happy as possible.
4. Make a Playlist
Who doesn’t love good music? It improves the mood and creates a certain ambience, plus fills in awkward lulls in the conversation with either discussions about the song or merely background noise. However, random radio commercials are no one’s friend! So make a playlist on your iPod or phone and have that playing in a speaker throughout the party.
5. Plan Activities
Planned activities can be a hit or miss at parties. Whether or not set activities will go over well really depends on you and your group of friends. In my experience, the best thing is to have lots of activities available, but not thrown in your guests’ faces. For example, when everyone is eating you could say “Hey, I have Cards Against Humanity if you guys want to play later.” Then, if the party starts to die down, you at least have an activity to turn to.
6. Be Strategic with Your Guest List
We all have those two friends who don’t really like to talk to, or even be around, each other. In that case, you have to be strategic about your guest list. You don’t want anyone to be uncomfortable at your party, but you also don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.
7. Go with the Flow
The most important rule I can tell you is simply: go with the flow. You never know what’s going to happen at a party; everyone might end up staying the night or leaving early, or you might all decide you want to go out for dinner and come back later. Even though all of these outcomes are less than desirable, you have to accept them as possibilities because, well, teenagers. We don’t always do what’s totally proper, so we might as well have fun doing it! So just go with the flow and keep smiling like the amazing hostess you are!
If you’re about to host your first party, I wish you the best of luck! Hosting parties is stressful before, during, and after, but the memories are irreplaceable. What’s the occasion for the party you plan to host? What other golden rules should all first time hostesses follow?