There is still plenty of summer left and that means that you definitely have time to plan the perfect summer party. With a bit of pre-planning, your party can be the one that people will be talking about for weeks to come. Here are some ideas and tips to make your get-together a hit:
Decide on a date
Most parties are planned for a weekend; Saturday is the most logical day because most people are off. Sunday afternoons are also great on long weekends, or for alcohol-free parties (no hangovers on Monday morning!)
If your guest list isn’t going to be too long (say, less than 20 people), you can book a few days or a week ahead. That way, you can look at the forecast and decide which day is best. Keep in mind, though, that weather patterns and forecasts can change quickly and it’s always best to have a plan ‘B’ in case of rain.
Create your guest list
Ok, so you have a date in mind. Now you have to decide who to invite. Is this going to be an adult-only party, or is it a family friendly event? Obviously, teens and pre-teens are more independent, while toddlers and infants will need to have adult supervision. Keep in mind, also, that some parents won’t like the idea of alcohol being served at a party that their kids are attending. In that case, having a "make your own fruit smoothie" (with a variety of flavors available of course) may be in order.
No party is complete without music! It’s best to come up with a playlist that will suit everyone, especially if you have several different age groups attending. You may want to move your speakers outside, or invest in a small set of outdoor speakers. You can also rent these from a variety of stereo and home furnishing stores.
Nothing says summer like potato salad, deviled eggs, and BBQ’d hot dogs. If your guests are a little more discerning, you may want to consider having your party catered. While this is a pricier option, it will give you more time with your guests, and less time in the kitchen cleaning up. Another option is to have a pot-luck; have everyone bring something (and then they take their dishes home for them to clean!)
Ice-cold punch (spiked with vodka or family-friendly) will keep your guests hydrated throughout the party. Most people will bring their own alcoholic drinks, but it’s always a good idea to have some beer and wine on hand for guests who just want a glass or two. Note: If you don’t want alcohol served, make sure you make this well known when you invite your guests; otherwise, you could be in for some awkward moments when Uncle Jim pulls out that bottle of Jack Daniels and passes it around. Fruit smoothies, water, lemonade and iced tea are also great choices.
While you may be a little old for ‘Pin the tail on the donkey” or “spin the bottle” your guest will appreciate something to do while enjoying food and drinks. If you have the room, how about setting up a badminton net, or lawn bowling or bocce ball? If the party is indoors, ping pong or billiards may be an ideal solution to keep the party going. If you are lucky enough to have a pool, noodles, and other toys are always a hit with guests.
When the sun goes down and the air gets chilly, light that fire and bring out the S’mores! Keep the music playing and let your guests unwind by the firelight. There’s no better end to a great party. These are available in a variety of stores. You can even make your own!
Party planning doesn’t have to be complicated. Just a few components – food, drink, music and friends – and your party will be one that doesn’t get missed.