Shaun’s Tips to Plan Your Party
Here are my top 10 tips to help you plan and throw a great party!
- Themes aren’t only for kids’ parties. Every party should have one. Having a theme will tie everything together. For example, I’m planning a citrus party. My menu will be easy because it will have the common element of citrus. Also, the décor will take on the theme with napkins, flowers and other decorations in citrus colors. Another example, every year I throw a Chinese inspired party to celebrate Elfie’s Birthday!
- Pre-plan everything. The best parties seem like they are just thrown together, but if you pre-plan everything, you will be much more relaxed. A relaxed host/hostess makes for the best party.
- Put your guests to work! If you have small jobs that need to be done throughout your party, ask your guests to help. For example, make sure someone is in charge of the music, another person is in charge or helping refill appetizers and maybe someone else is in charge of the bar. Having your guests help makes them feel more at ease and in my opinion, a casual relaxed party is the best.
- Coat rack. These aren’t just for fancy events at hotels. Invest in a folding coat rack so you can hang all of your guests’ jackets or clear out your own coat closet for your guests. I hate the idea of having guests throw their jackets on a bed — so many of us have pets — and a bed full of coats is always the favorite place for the cat to sleep.
- Slideshow! I am not a fan of having the television on while you’ve got a house full of people. But with new smart TVs and devices like Apple TV, I love to create slideshows and have them play on the big screen throughout the night. This always starts conversations, plus it’s entertaining! For example, at my launch party I filled a slideshow with photos that helped my guests learn about me, including photos of my pets, as you can see Elfie was featured.
- Signature cocktail. Every party should have a signature cocktail, even if you are serving beer and wine. A cocktail just makes the occasion much more special. I always assume this will be the first drink guests will have before switching to wine or beer.
- Try new recipes. Most people are reticent to try a new recipe out on guests, but I think if you aren’t going to try something new out on friends, who are you going to try it out on? Give new recipes a try — they are typically fun and tasty. If the recipe is a flop, it can turn into a great conversation piece!
- Be your own guest. It’s not fun for to be bombarded with work when guests arrive. When you are invited to a party, always take a gift. My advice is to never bring a gift that will make your host/hostess work. Don’t bring flowers unless you bring them in a vase or perhaps think about bringing an orchid. Lots of people bring wine. I wouldn’t hand it to the host and say, “I brought this; open it now.” Your host is probably very busy making sure everyone is having a great time and may have a drinks flow already in mind.
- Desert by the fire. After dinner is finished, we always excuse guests from the table, and we serve coffee and dessert in the living room by the fire in the cold months and outside by the fire-pit in the warmer months. It’s a much more laid back feel to have your guests move around then having them stuck at the dining table all night.
- Doggie bag. No, don’t give your guests doggie bags of leftovers but do give them a parting gift. Giving a gift at the end of the evening is a way of thanking your friends for taking the time out of their busy lives to celebrate life with you. I love to give homemade salsa, jams, homemade liqueurs or even cookies as a take away gift. One year I when I used burlap in my table setting for Thanksgiving I used the leftover to wrap up jars of homemade jams to give as a take away gift.
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