party disasters

Part of planning a party is knowing how to sidestep a crisis. Don’t flirt with disaster at your next affair — save the flirting for your guests. Instead, be prepared with our tips on how to prevent these top 10 party emergencies.

1. Everything just isn’t ready!

You had your whole day planned: setting up the decor, making food, getting yourself ready… Then an unforeseen obstacle got in your way and detained you. But just because you had to stop doesn’t mean the party train does. And when that first guest comes knocking followed by three more, it’s too late to catch up.

To counteract this, don’t lump all of your prep work onto one day. Spread it out as much as you can, and plan to stop early so you can relax before guests arrive (and leave yourself a margin of error in case everything takes longer than you expect). Drinks and food should be bought ahead. Decorations can be set up days before. Pick out what you’ll wear ahead of time, right down to your shoes. It’s also a good idea to prioritize your list of party tasks and do the most important things first. That way, you’ll be sure to get the birthday cake made, even if you run out of time to make the guest of honor a personalized playlist.

Finally, if you find yourself really falling behind schedule, recruit some backup. Ask a close friend or two to help you out and pick up that missing ingredient for you, bring ice, or come over early. You don’t need to do everything by yourself.

2. Late or MIA entertainment

Is the band late? Did your Cinderella call in sick? Always have a backup plan: Have speakers set up and a playlist at the ready just in case. And for children’s parties, keep any entertainers a surprise … just in case they fall through. You can always simply gather the kids into a circle and read them a story or try a singallong instead.

3. Vegans, food allergies, and picky eaters

Keep your guests from starving or breaking out in hives come suppertime because they can’t eat what you’re serving. Save yourself from this party fail by asking guests ahead of time to share any food allergy or other dietary concerns. And try to keep your menu diversified so you don’t have too many items with too many of the same ingredients. Finally, cater your menu to your guests. If you know one of your guests isn’t an adventurous eater, save the avant-garde dishes for another dinner party.

4. The no-shows

There is no worse feeling in the world than that moment you invite 30 people to a party and only 6 show up and the hot food for 30 end up in the trash.

A way to avoid issues caused by no-shows is the RSVP. Give a deadline that gives you enough time to prepare for the heads making an appearance. But even then, there is only so much you can do once a guest RSVP’s a positive response to ensure their coming, that is, without being rude and pushy.

Understand that unplanned events do occur (emergencies, unplanned events, etc.) and that not even the RSVP is absolutely full proof. The best you can do is invite people you know will show up and would enjoy the party if turnout is an issue.

5. Party not getting started

The food is served, the music is on, the drinks have been stirred, but the party is just not starting.  The group chemistry could be off, guests may not know each other, or no one is in the mood to start the energetic buzz that gets the ball rolling.

The best thing you can do is make sure the music played is upbeat, introduce guests to one another, and plan some activities. Have some word games, board games, drinking games, anything really that gets everyone up and moving and most of all – interacting.

If the games turn into a tournament or the living room into a dance floor, so be it.

6. The uninvited (and probably unwelcome)

The world is a small place are the chances of an invitee bringing an old ex, someone who has made trouble in the past, or even someone you don’t have room for, it brings forth an awkward situation.

To prevent uninvited guests simply vocalize that space is limited on the invitation that would then discourage bringing the surprise guest you won’t know about until they knock on your door.

But even then, as word spreads of your party and people decide to show who were not invited, tell them that you are sorry but preparations were not made and that they have to leave.

The best thing to do is to see where it goes and decide whether or not they should be kicked out (in a mature and polite manner) or can be integrated and accommodated with back-up food and drink.

7. Controversial topics

One second the room can be filled with cool and healthy conversation and in the next it can be 100 degrees hotter, all over an argument. Heated discussions can often shut down a pleasant evening and are extremely difficult to recover from once its already happened.

This can be prevented by reminding every person that they are entitled to their opinion whether one or the other agrees. Don’t choose sides, lighten the mood with a subject that is easy for everyone to talk about As a host, you need to redefine the mood with something positive. The next time you see an argument coming up , interfere with an activity and make sure the guest don’t hold grudges.

8. Inclement weather

In setting where the temperature or weather are subject to change, you want to make sure you have a backup. Nothing can ruin an outdoor event like unexpected rain could. But not only that, a heat wave can come by and burn the flesh off of every one of your guests.

The only way to prepare for this is to look close at weather prediction days before and make sure to have an alternative if setting conditions are unpredictable. This can  be as simple as having that old tent in the garage nearby and handy or making sure the AC unit in your living room is up and running. But also remember that the weather predictions aren’t always 100% and that things do happen.

9. The tipsy guest

When making drinks available at a party, the goal is usually to loosen everyone up and help them enjoy themselves. But in one drink, a polite and cool guest can become the tipsy guest. Sure signs of the coming of a rude and obnoxiously drunk guest are empty glasses stacking up, the vocalized ‘I want to get hammered’ remark, and body language.

Prevent this special guest from making an appearance by counting the amount drinks they’ve had and watching to see if they are still manageable. But even a you can’t avoid a guest from getting ‘hammered’, people will still get drunk. The best thing you can do is make sure to stop the drinks from coming in and offer a safe environment where they can sleep it off, throw it up, or sober up with time.

Pay attention and accommodate your guests, it’s easier than scrubbing up the almost-digested dinner off the carpet.

10. The busy host

As a host almost all of the responsibilities of the party fall on you. Tasks can pile up and before you know it, by the time you are done with everything that you feel has to be done, the party can be over. Don’t get caught up in the tight deadlines that come with throwing a party. Knock off the essentials (food, drink, entertainment) and then do what you can when you can. The last thing your guests want to see is you running around stressed out, busy, and not even enjoying your own party. The number one goal of the host is to give attention to your guests and enjoy yourself.

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