We just recently hosted our first official event here at CO Work’n, an Ice Cream Social that was orchestrated by Peerless Marketing to celebrate their recent move into one of our private offices. We are so thrilled to be able to offer the use of our co-working space for events to all of our members, and were therefore even MORE thrilled that someone put this awesome plus to work! We can only hope it’s one party of many.
The festive vibe got us thinking about parties in general, the good and the bad. Parties were a big part of my childhood, and I had the good fortune to be raised by a legendary party hostess who taught me the tricks of the trade, which I get to bring to events like the Sundae party. Yesterday's bash was a success due to some key tools that virtually every successful party employs.
Truly, no matter the occasion or theme, if you don’t include most or all of these in your shindig, it’s guaranteed to be a flop, regardless of your event, venue, or budget. Whether it's an office celebration or a quincenera, be sure to include these good-time staples:
1 - Choose a SIMPLE theme and stick to it
This is something that so many people these days get wrong: choose a theme, stick to the theme. This goes for details both large and small - for decorations, choose a color scheme of 2 easy hues and your decorations will look flawless every single time. For the overall atmosphere, make it known from the jump that your party is (whatever) themed, then just make sure your plans line up with the theme. To make an example out of yesterday's get-together: we promoted it as an Ice Cream Social, and the DIY sundae bar was the focal point of the event. It gave people something to do and provided a novel and fun atmosphere. For colors, we went with simple sunny yellow and off-white. The simplicity of our colors made our dollar-store decorations look polished - it was simple to fit everything into these decoration guidelines. Even Instyle agrees: “When in doubt, narrow choices-including menu and decor-and err on the side of simplicity. Too many options can make you overwhelmed and cost you time and money.”
2 - Music is not optional - it’s a MUST.
Make a fun party playlist ahead of time, even if your party doesn’t involve any dancing or reason for playing tunes. Play an upbeat track listing on a middling low volume level in the background from beginning to end and the atmosphere will instantly seem festive and light, without anyone being able to pinpoint quite why. This was yet another point cited by Instyle and the subtle difference it makes is so effective, you’ll wonder how you ever celebrated without background music before.
3 - Play a game. No, seriously.
You might think party games are super cheesy, and trust me, I do get it. However, I’ve found that nothing saves the day quite like a party game that everyone can participate in. It breaks the ice for strangers, gives those with social anxiety something to focus on and immerse themselves in, and lets peoples’ personality shine. My personal favorite is “Name on the Back”, which is always a hit. To make things more hilarious, change the rules and ask that people only interact with other party-goers as if they actually are the person they were assigned - it can get fun! Here’s a good resource for other ice breaker games that are crowd-pleasers.
4 - Send out your invitations effectively.
First, alert people to your party 3 weeks to one month in advance either via Facebook (create an event and invite guests) or email invites. I personally still enjoy making and sending snail-mail invitations, which I do 2 weeks in advance, then I prompt RSVPs one week in advance from anyone who hasn't done so yet, and send a personal text to most invitees a day before or day of. This might seem like overkill, but trying to procure an RSVP from anyone these days is so frustrating that putting a system like this in place is really the best way to handle the world’s growing flakiness.
5 - Ask for help from some reliable friends.
Assign 2 or 3 of your friends to tasks that you will need help with on the day of the party. Not only does this take a lot of the pressure off of you during the party execution, but it also ensures that you will have a few people present when the first actual guest shows up, which can be the difference between awkward silence and friendly chit-chat. I always round up some of my most extroverted contacts to assist me in greeting guests, refreshing food and drink, and making sure people know where the restroom is (etc.). Say bye to that awful feeling of anxiety that goes along with waiting for the first person to show up!
So there you have it - the cat’s out of the bag! The 5 tips I outlined are the groundwork for a party no one will soon forget. What do you think? Do you have any tips of your own to offer up? We want to know!