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Throwing A Successful Party

I have been to several parties over the years, but just recently I got invited to a couple of parties and they were dry, dull, and boring. The host & hostess couldn't wait for me and my sisters arrival to make their party a real party. I looked at them funny, and they said "you girls know how to throw a party, we don't" and yet they keep having them. Anyway, I told them it wasn't that they didn't know how to throw a party, its the people they invite.

I'm sorry, but there are too many folks that are my age who think that just because your married with kids you no longer are able to have fun. That is so not the order to throw a successful party there are several key elements that one must do, that is absolutely necessary to having the bombest of parties.

Before everyone blasts me, unless its a BBQ or something to that effect...I feel that all adult parties are just that...for the adults. Therefore, if you have teenage children, make plans to have them stay with a friend and/or older relative the weekend of the party. If the party is on a Saturday, get them out of the house Friday night. I say this, because at times adults just want to be adults...that means sometimes saying what it is they wish to say without fear of being overheard by youngins. Or for that matter, your parents...they too need not be involved all the time when you are having YOUR friends over.

So here are some of the steps I think are needed to plan a successful, because one of the main things people forget to do is plan the party. Its like planning a wedding, its a day you don't want people to forget...and that is how I feel a party should be. Don't give me an excuse as to why I don't want to go to your party...give me a reason to look forward to coming!

6 - 12 Months In Advance
This is the most vital part of the your party. This process includes, what day, time, the month, and the venue should you not have the space in your home to throw it. Start this process at 6-12 months in advance. During this stage you will also decide on a menu, or a theme, the number of guest, and also you set your budget for what it is you wish to spend. The budget includes venue, decorations, menu, and drinks. Will you provide music? If so, will it be a live band, jazz trio, or a dee-jay.

This includes all of your table settings, lighting, party favors, linens, any type of gifts you may give the guests. This is also a part of your budget, so don't overdue it.

What will you serve your guest? Will it be heavy hor d'ourves, light fare, full course dinner, or lunch or whatever. What is the budget for food. Will you serve drinks or can the guest bring their own. If you are serving drinks and using a venue that is not your home, you will need a one day liquor license for your event.

Games may sound trite and silly to alot of people...but it is a sure fire way of livening up your party and getting those dry azz people to interact with folks like myself that enjoy a good party. Don't inundate the guest with alot of games, but ensure that there are at minimum three for the guest to enjoy. I strongly suggest investing in a karoke machine, especially if your having a small party of no more than 50 guests, then this will definately be a hit! You can also give prizes, have judges and just have a good time with this machine!

3 to 6 Months in Advance
At this stage you should have finalized all of the major decisions above, and now are in the process of purchasing items for your party. This includes the table settings (i.e. cups, plates, forks, knifes, bowls, spoons, napkins). The table cloths, whether they are plastic or linen rentals, this process can be done in advance and stored somewhere before the event. Also along with this purchase are any prizes for the games you may think of playing and any other items that will give folks "The Wow Factor". Don't forget the little items, like wash rags, gloves, dish detergent, trash can liners, can openers, wine openers, serving utensils, and food servers. Additionally this step also includes buying your decorations, ordering your ballons, and if your having music, paying the deposit for the DJ.

If using a caterer, the deposit should've been made or should be made now to ensure that your food will be available for your party. However, I suggest if there is something that you can make on your own, then do it. It may take up some of your time, but it will save money in the end.
Purchase your cases of water and soda, and if your serving beer and wine, purchase these cases also. I suggest for the beer to purchase a keg (1/4, 1/2, or full) depending on the number of guest, this is cheaper and less messy as opposed to having alot of beer bottles to throw away.

2 - 3 months in advance
For a house party, invitations don't have to be sent this far in advance, however, you should have your list of names together with full addresses, purchased your stamps, and have the invitations purchased if buying general ones from the store, or ordered if having them custom made. After this is done, you can address your envelopes and get them in themail at least 45 days prior to the party to give your guest enough notice to make sure they have the availability and to make any arrangements they need to. This is a perfect time to inform them that the event is for adults only or that older children, say 16 and up are welcome. To keep it simple for a house party, always plan on at least 50 people coming. I say this because, not everyone on your list is going to attend, prepare yourself for this, but some of the folks will come and may want to bring other people. Use this rule of thumb, 25 couples is 50 people, 35 couples if 70 people, and so on, so at a house party, always prepare for 50 people, besides folks will remember you for having less, never more!

Inventory Check
Check all of your purchases and review your checklist to make sure you haven't forgotten anything. Pick up more water or soda if you think you don't have enough.

Special Arrangements
You may have to purchase/rent some chairs, and move some of the extra furniture that you have in your home from one room to another. This may mean packing up delicate glass vases or valuable items you just don't want to get damaged by mistake. Also, remind your children and the sitter if it is an adult only party that they will be staying with whomever on that weekend. Make all hair/nail/pedicure appointments for at least 3 days prior to the party, and that includes sending your husband/significant other to the barbershop.

This can include preparing the party favors, making up any baskets or prize packages for your guest. Putting together any games that you wish to play (i.e. making directions on how to play, or just putting all of the games in a box for easy retrieval). I suggest that you use boxes to put different things in, a box for decorations, a box for table linens, a box for party favors, keeps you organized and not feeling frazzled like you will forget something.

Final Payments
Never pay for anything too far in advance. The musician/dee jay, and the caterer usually wish to have payment at least two weeks prior to the event. Don't think they are going to steal your money, after all you have signed contracts that are legally binding and will hold up in court.

1 Week Prior To The Party
This is the time to make up all of your drinks or anything that you can find to "brand" your day. Always people will remember the extra special touches that you have for your day. I always make my jello shooters at this time and my signature drink to get that out of the way.

Day Before The Party
Clean your house in advance and do any and all prepartions. Nothing is worse than going to a party and the host/hostess home is not clean. Cleaning shows that you took the time to prepare for your guest arrival and that you wanted them to come and see your beautiful home. You should not be at the hair or nail salon on this day, rather you should be home, cleaning your house, moving the furniture, setting up decorations, deciding where/when the games will be played and what you will wear. Make any little extra items, such as cupcakes, or cakes that you may serve for dessert no earlier than this day. This is a good time to ask for help from family and'd be surprised, because people want your day to be a success and will not mind lending a hand.

Party Time
Your house is clean, the food is on the table waiting to be eaten, and your dressed and your looking your best. Put a smile on your face, open the door, and say "Welcome to The Party!"

Throwing a party is easy with planning and preparation...the only expectation that the guest will have is that they want to have a good time. In order for that to happen YOU have to learn how to have one yourself. Imagine, you can throw any type of party you want, then do doesn't have to be a Colin Cowie event, it has to be yours and it has to reflect whom you truly are.


P.S. If you need any help, I'm just a blog away...


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