Throwing your first official party? Deep breaths. We’re here for you. Check off these 10 things every party needs and you’ll be golden (and earn yourself the best host(ess) title while you’re at it).

1. A clean space

Please clean. Quickly vacuuming the carpet or taking a cloth + cleaning solution to the countertop can do wonders. Put away any clothes, mail or toys lying around. If you don’t have a ton of time, a 20-minute tidying up could do the trick. Be sure to stock your bathroom (you don’t want guests stuck without toilet paper or soap) and have cleaning supplies on hand (i.e. trash bags, stain removers, paper towels) if guests (or you) spill anything. Open your doors to let a breeze in 30 minutes before guests arrive and set out a couple of candles (to keep lit or to blow out when guests arrive). A fresh, clean and tidy place will make guests feel more comfortable.

 

10 Things Every Party Needs

 

2. Simple yet stand-out decor

No need to go overboard — just set out a couple of things that tie your theme together, whether it’s a dinner party or a birthday party. Find flowers or greenery in your own backyard and add it to a couple vases, hang a printable banner or dress your table(s) up with a table runner, place settings and/or a centerpiece. Lighting also counts as decor. Turn lights on or off based on the mood and set out a few candles if your event calls for them.

10 Things Every Party Needs

 

3. An activity

Whether you’re having a house full of kids or an apartment with a few close friends, your get-together should have some sort of activity. If it’s a themed party, set up a photo booth. If it’s a casual get-together, get a teeny bit competitive with games. If it’s a dinner party, spark up some good conversations, especially with guests you don’t know well. If it’s a game day or awards night, make your activity watching the show together. Picking an activity will eliminate boredom and get guests asking when the next party is scheduled.

10 Things Every Party Needs

4. Partner(s) in crime 

We’re not saying you can’t go at this alone, but having someone by your side is helpful. Pick a partner or partners in crime to think of things that may not cross your mind — like finding these tips. Have them grab ice the day-of or put the playlist together. You can also joke about any party mishaps or crazy guests together.

10 Things Every Party Needs

 

5. Background music

No party is complete without music to set the mood. Before the party starts, put together a playlist (or find one online) then turn up the tunes once guests begin to arrive. If you’re planning a dinner party, you may want to make a special playlist for background music. Still not sure about which songs to select? Learn how to pick the right music for the right occasion with these tips.

10 Things Every Party Needs

6. A food table

When figuring out the food, there’s a few things to think about. Will you set it up buffet style and let guests serve themselves? Are you planning a potluck? Are you serving dinner sit-down style? Once you’ve determined that part of the party, you can start to plan your set up. If you’re hosting a casual get-together or expecting a lot of guests, you may want to set up a food table in an open area so guests can come and go as they please. Need something that’s easy to serve (and even easier to make)? Try our top 5 appetizers. When you’re making your menu, you should also take into consideration guests who may have food allergies or dietary restrictions.

10 Things Every Party Needs

7. A drink station

Make it simple for yourself by selecting just a couple of options (one alcoholic and one non-alcoholic). You can set the drinks up on a separate table next to the food, or place them on the opposite end of the food table so guests have easy access. In addition to serving a soft drink or non-alcoholic party punch, make sure you have plenty of water on hand. If you have the time, create a signature cocktail specifically for your party (we happen to love this mango ginger fizz — just add vodka).

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8. A toast

Whether you’re planning a casual get-together or a fancy formal affair, take a few minutes to thank guests for coming with these tips on giving a toast. No need to make it a big deal or turn it into a stressful situation. Just say a few kinds words while cracking open a cold one. Cheers!

10 Things Every Party Needs

9. A takeaway

Not every party requires a full-on favor, but it’s always nice to send guests home with something to remember the party by. For instance, if you’re planning a casual dinner party you can send guests home with some leftovers. Or, if your party has a photo booth, give guests some snaps to take with them when they leave. If you still can’t think of anything, make the takeaway a plan to get together again soon. 

10 Things Every Party Needs

10. A thank-you note

Yes, guests should thank you for throwing your get-together, however, be the host(ess) with the most(ess) and go the extra mile by thanking them for celebrating with you with free photo thank-you notes. We’ll even send you an email two days after your event as a reminder and all you have to do is click the link to create a celebratory collage of photos from your event. Everybody loves reliving a good time.


Evite-Thank-You-Card

 

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