The other week, I decided to throw a party. I realized I hadn’t thrown one of my infamous Dinner-n-Jam parties in awhile, and also noticed it seemed like everyone including Wal-Mart was creating their own stimulus savings plan – and knowing I was on a limited budget – I decided to throw my version of a stimulus Pot Luck Dinner and Jam Party – it went off without a hitch this past weekend.
Here I show you some tips on throwing a good party where all have a great time, even when your own budget is tight.
Tips and Tricks
- First and foremost – Be Organized – set up a date anywhere from 3-6 weeks ahead.
- Second, Be Flexible – A relaxed host/hostess during the party ensures everyone will have a great time.
- Decide if any ‘theme’ for the party you might wish to use.
- Make up your guest list. Make sure to invite people from your gym, some good friends, and even people you would like to know more about. A group party is a great environment to learn a little more about people.
- I highly recommend using an online free source such as evite.com to create your invitations, manage your emails and guest lists. This is so useful, nowadays, saving you monies on stamps, it’s eco-friendly and really helps set the tone for your party. You can set it up, so that you receive text or email alerts when people R.S.V.P. and you can easily add people and send additional invitations on the fly.
- Create a list of what guests should bring. When using evite.com for example, you can create a list of items for guests to choose for themselves what to bring.
- In my version, I requested people to bring what they drank, and/or to provide one dish. Leaving said variety of possible options allows guests to bring things they can easily afford. What to put on this list? Put things such as cold appetizers, hot appetizers, cheeses, main dishes, bottle of wine, ice, dips, chips, music. On evite.com for example you can set up your needs such as 3 cold appetizers and 4 bottles of wine. As people R.S.V.P. and select off this list, the items needed will automatically reduce, and therefore reduce your need to go off and buy loads of food for your party.
- Be open and allow guests to bring people to your party. I find if I mix it up (inviting different types of people) to every party, I find I have more new people I can invite the next time. Besides, these parties allow for having a nice mix of people which certainly adds something to your ‘group’.
- Allow your friends to help when they ask what they can do when as they arrive at your party. Why get stressed out? Something my Mother taught me years ago, and she was the queen of parties – by allowing guests to help gets everyone involved in making an OK party, become a great party. Allow one person to be the ‘bartender’ whiles another stirs up the chili and another sets up the cheese platter.
- When people ask if they can help you clean up, say yes! Many hands make for light work! Don’t be too bashful, and you will only be more than grateful after everyone leaves.
- Set up tables the night before, so you are not stressed on the day of your party. I usually keep the selected tablecloth folded on top of each of the tables. Set aside serving spoons and forks to help serve the foods that will arrive. At times, when I am planning a sit down, I have been known to set up the table and then place a sheet over the entire table to keep it clean right until guests arrive.
- Set up areas for trash – allocating receptacles for cans, bottles & trash.
- Designate a smoking area if you have any friends who smoke.
- Keep scented candles to a minimum, one small ‘gentle and light’ scented tea light will do. Use flavors such as ‘clean linen’ or ‘ocean breeze’- avoid vanilla, or heavy scents such as food-related strawberry cream or coconut for example since some people can be ultra sensitive.
- Set up an area where coats, bags and other items can be kept as people arrive.
- Make sure to have ample toilet paper.
- Clean only those areas you know your guests will mingle in – the kitchen, living room, bathrooms. I tend to do a little of this every day starting a week before, thereby; I don’t have much to do at all on the day of the party, but to relax.
- As people R.S.V.P. review the list of items they will bring. If you know someone will bring cheeses for example, make sure to have a cheese plate or wood cutting board handy and related cheese utensils and knives – cheeses should be set out at least one half hour prior to people arriving to become room temperature. Reviewing will let you know if you need to supplement a dish or two.
- Set out wine opener, bottle openers, cooler filled with ice for possible beers and wines prior to people arriving.
- For music, I personally chose some CD’s to rotate until the live music started.
- Prepare any foods you can a couple of days before, dips, soups, etc.
- Relax and let people be themselves.
- Turn down the lights a little and remember to have fun yourself.
- Mingle around introducing people to one another is a great way to get people to start talking with one another.
- Finally Good luck!
Why don’t you share your party success stories with us all? We would love to hear about it.