It’s the official, non-official start of summer – Memorial Day weekend! Are you throwing a soirée or going to one?
The key elements are always the same at a successful party – great mood and laughs. But just how, you’re asking, do you guarantee those things? Here are a few pointers to get you from little clusters of strangers sitting around, to an all-ourtparty.
Pick a theme, visually-speaking
Colors make a huge difference. People understand a concept when things look uniform and consistent. When you send out the invitation, choose some of the same colors as the decor you plan to use. The day of, you could go as easy as balloons and streamers in corresponding blues or go as far as matching paper plates with contrasting pattern napkins. A sign by the entry of the party in the same hues gets people in the mood as soon as they arrive. Go the extra mile with crepe paper streamers hanging in the doorway or painted party hats. What ever you decide, there are endless ways to incorporate color. Just remember to use it sparingly and with contrasting colors and patterns to keep it interesting.
Image: Real Simple
Let them choose
It’s a lot of pressure to serve something that everyone will like. Rather than trying to make everyone happy, simply drop in a line in the invitation reading, “Feel free to bring something to toss on the grill or a drink you like.” Then if someone has strict diet needs or don’t care for the veggie burgers you chose, they won’t feel weird about skipping out on your array of delicious foods!
Image: Southern Living
Plan an activity
Even if it’s as simple as designating a corner to play board games or have a crab walk race, giving people an alternative is always a great idea. Once the food, drink and music are enjoyed, people tend to get antsy (especially if they don’t know many people in the crowd). Giving them a break from the main area will stir up curiosity and who knows? Maybe Twister will become the hit of the evening.
Image: Martha Stewart
Introduce something new
We usually know what to expect. The same foods, wines, desserts. But offering just a few new items to your guests can be a great conversation starter and highlight of the evening. Explore liquors or new recipe ingredients and you’ll have people talking about it the whole party.
Even a simple cocktail like Lillet, a French aperatif can be a new experience for many. Set out some ice, lemons and leave a few instructions. Or let guests explore it on their own.
Play what’s familiar
Current songs come and go. So keep it classic with some of standards whether it’s jazz or rock. Everyone loves a song you can sing to. And if you don’t have time to build a playlist on your iPod, put one together in Spotify (free on your desktop or laptop, a small fee on your phone) or let Pandora play a mix of your chosen category.
Keep the kids busy
If the kids are happy, the adults are happy. Add just enough activity that the children can be somewhat autonomous for the entire event. Everyday goods like sidewalk chalk, jump ropes and flashlights can be intriguing for a curious group. Set up a smaller, separate food table with child-friendly on-the-go foods: carrot sticks, pretzels, yogurt tubes. Pull all the toys, art supplies and books to one area. Better yet, if you have a swing set or play house, group them in the corner so the adults can keep an eye out but still have their fun too.
These are just a few ways your party will stand out from the rest. I hope everyone has a smashing holiday weekend. Send us your photos if you have some great tips to share. Cheers!