I realize this post comes a little late as we are in the process of recovering from Independence Day hangovers-- but running around in Milwaukee's Largest Kazoo Band occupied a majority of my time. More on that later...
Better late than never, kittens.
As a party professional and event planner I wanted to share a couple of SUPER simple tips to make sure your summer parties don't suck.
We've all been to that party--awkward pecking around the yard with half strangers and assessing the best way to make an escape.
FRIENDS DON'T LET FRIENDS HAVE CRAPPY PARTIES.
Being a Host Ninja is easy peasy!
1) Introduce your guests to one another. And that bullshit " Everyone, this is Stacy, Stacy this is This is Everyone" garbage doesn't count. There is nothing more uncomfortable than standing in a room full of strangers watching you eat.
Be a dear and make your guests feel welcome by introducing them LIKE AN ADULT. Include a fact about that person when introducing them to someone else, in a sea of new faces it makes them easier to remember.
2) Straws make everything better. Stick them in bottled soda, glasses of lemonade, and bottles of champagne. They also make a handy proboscis for stealing sips of other peoples drinks...
3) Soundtracks make or break the mood. Deafening silence makes people feel self conscious. Make sure there is a little background noise to set the tone. Give your party momentum by letting your guests choose their own DJ adventure.
4) Keep hot stuff hot and cold stuff cold. Would you care for a delicious sweaty deviled egg? Or perhaps some room temperature mystery pasta goop? Would a luke warm hot dog strike your fancy? Or my personal favorite: rubbery practically composted crudités.
Borrow a hotplate from your mom, and don't forget the ice.
5) Seriously, don't forget the ice.
6) It's okay to decorate! A little pageantry let's your friends know you're excited to have them. As a party goer, a little pageantry on your part lets your host know you appreciate them too.
7) Making your friends slink through the house with a leaning tower of baked bean-sullied plates and trying to jam them into your office-sized waste basket under the sink is a no-no.
Put out a garbage can. Bonus: If your guests see where to get rid of their own garbage, it means less empty can corralling for you later.
8) Give people something to do. Sidewalk chalk. Bubbles. Disposable cameras. Photo booths. Lawn Twister. Squirt guns. Guitars. Build your own dessert. Make a fort. It gets conversation going and gives anxious guests some relief.
On that note...possibly the most important Tip:
9) Do NOT force your friends to participate in games if they don't want to. Block parties and backyard gatherings are hard enough for some people to endure: chastising them for not wanting to play volleyball with your Harlem Globe Trotter friends isn't helping them "out of their shell"--
It's helping them to find a way to hurt you.
10) Enjoy your party! Yeah, it sounds like a cop out tip, but it's true!
If you are having a great time, your guests will follow your lead.
What are your tricks for ensuring your guests are making merry?
PARTY ON, MUFFINS.