Having a party? It can be stressful – can be, let’s face it, it will be for sure. Trying to remember all the details: ice, the right bar stuff, the right food, the right outfit, a clean house. Stressful. Here are five things that sometimes get overlooked, but given some thought a few days before the big event will keep you and your guests feeling the vibe and enjoying the party.
The wrong lighting makes your food, decor, and even your guests look less than their picture perfect best. All too often we see too many lights left on. Yes, it is necessary for your guests to be able to see each other and the furniture, however; there likely won’t be any surgeries performed. Low warm light makes people’s skin glow and makes an intimate and interesting environment. Candles, whether they are clustered votives or pillar candles set on simple glass disks help create an organic flickering light that contributes energy to conversations. Even the updated LED battery powered lights that imitate candles are very well done, so if you are flame-phobic, you still have somewhere to turn for your candle needs. Bad overhead fluorescent lights? Really very little can be done in this situation, but turn them off, and bring in a couple of standing lamps to warm up the room.
Whether it’s a bridal brunch shower or a late night after-the-theater rendezvous, your guests will be enjoying some refreshments. We always like starting with drinks and conversation first, letting everyone arrive and get comfortable, and then proceed to some more serious eats. Nibbles during this convivial hour are crucial. Drinking without eating a little something makes for very ravenous (and sometimes very tipsy) guests. It doesn’t have to be fancy or passed around by a nicely dressed eat well server. Un-fussy bowls of nuts, like our cayenne cashews, easy breezy boiled edamame pods with sea salt, or even organic root vegetable chips can give everybody a chance to munch a bit and keep their appetite in check.
There’s no way around it: guests are coming to your house – and they will be bringing their cars. This is an especially good time to cozy up to your neighbors so that your good terms can possibly guarantee you some spots, or at least a turned head when your friends accidentally edge onto someone else’s lawn or park on the wrong side of the street. City parking is especially tricky, so maybe note the nearest lots on the invite. And be aware of, say, a sporting event or large fireworks (hmhm) celebration that might knock out a bunch of the street spaces that are otherwise almost always free.
This is a tricky one. Yes, it’s true you want everyone to be able to visit, and especially when the crowd is of mixed ages, you don’t want to break out your double subwoofer (or maybe you do…). But, music can contribute a lot of texture and interest to a party. It can really make a difference in the first half hour or so when guests are arriving and meeting each other, and mingling. Music at that point is the glue that holds your three arrived guests together. It fills the space of the people who are not there yet. As the party starts to get going, you may want to increase the tempo and volume of the music to keep up with the growing noise and energy level of your party. The only exception to this rule is if the party is indoors and in very cramped quarters. Even in this situation music can really add a lot to the party, but you may choose to keep it at a lower volume level, and go with a smoother, less frenetic beat.
The trash man cometh…hopefully the next day. Unless you have a talented charming eat well service staff to assist you, there will likely be beverage napkins, wine corks, wrapping paper, beer bottles, and all kinds of other kinds of colorful things that will need a place to be placed. Help your guests help you by having a nice looking trash can at the bar- there will likely be a big need there, and then strategically place trash cans around the party area. If possible, place them conveniently, but kind of out of sight, as they typically are not the thing you want in the corner where your fabulous photos are being snapped. And if your party is a large one, or if you expect people to linger, recruit friends to help you monitor the situation. If you are really organized and have the containers, recycling the beer and wine bottles can keep a lot of bulk out of your cans. Save and stash the beer and wine boxes, and refill them with the empties to avoid overflowing recycling bins the next day.