Hosting a party of any kind can be an overwhelming endeavor. We know, we do it every day!
Between tethering together a guest list, juggling +1 personality swamps, thumbing through the old records for that blow-minds 80's anthem, getting an outfit that's carefully set to stun instead of kill my feet:
Quickly, it can all collapse upon you; crushing any hopes you had of actually ENJOYING YOURSELF.
Which is why we've put together this simple guide to help ensure that you get through this like a pro and with a genuine smile on your face.
nobody said it was easy, but we're here to make sure that it IS.
As the host, it really hinges on a just a few simple factors that make or break your experience. Master these few tips, and you can't stop yourself from throwing an incredible party.
You've invited them. You're such a sweetie for doing it, too. You've spent the last two nights tunneling through your wife's iTunes to ensure a well rounded, Britney friendly playlist.
You've finally fixed the guest's bathroom door - planed and sanded the swollen thing yourself - so that it'd fully close in preparation for your guests.
Your mother drove in from Connecticut to take the kids to Kinky Boots with a roll of quarters for Dave & Busters afterwards.
You've worked hard and have done a lot to prepare and when your guests turn up, they're not always sympathetic to your struggle...
Be gracious in the face of indifference. Be gracious in the face of inconsideration and tardiness and impoliteness and poor grooming habits. Be gracious, because your guests (whether they're thrilling you or not) are why you've thrown a party in the first place.
Camille from college has started a new diet and scoffs at the food? It's funny. Let her scavenge through your cabinets for a rice cake and some almond flour.
Teddy tripped over the threshold and split his lip all over the crudité? Toss the veggies and toss Teddy a towel, get some new snacks and log the story for one to tell at your next party!
Glenn wants to watch Game of Thrones on your bedroom desktop? "Mmm... ok, Glenn... Password's hawkeyespy2020."
It can hurt if you're looking for reciprocation during your party. Chances are, you won't be getting it in droves. The gratitude will most likely take the night to sink in for your guests and looking for the recognition in the moment can be hugely disappointing. So relax, stay calm, get in there, be open and...
This part is crucial. It's both selfish and incredibly self-less. Stop the work, stop the worry, and stop the stress. You are your guests beacon in the dark. Give them a glow and they'll safely come ashore. Your energy gives the allowance for everyone to feel comfortable and welcome; your smile and ease will open people up for conversation and dancing and play. All of that is a formula for fun.
Lead by example. Don't just point to the bar, go to the bar. Get yourself a drink. Eat the food. Party at your own party. A problem is just an opportunity to say "no problem."
Nothing - and this we can assure you - nothing sets a party off like a host enjoying themselves. Not just presenting as having a good time but deeply and truly, having a good time. You've put in the effort and now it's time to reap the reward.
How do you get there?
Be good to yourself. Don't leave everything until the day of and don't leave everything up to you alone. Hire a great caterer to take care of the food (we know a good one), order florals to be delivered, ask a friend to help with the seating chart...
Choose the things that you enjoy doing and make those your responsibility - delegate the rest. Throwing a party can and should be fun.
Be good to yourself. Don't let the little things be giant sources of stress. It's just a party, after all. Visualize the night as a guest, like a virtual tour in your head, and take notes as to where you go:
Being able to visualize how guests will behave and enjoy themselves at a party is a great skill and a wonderful exercise in making smart decisions that'll help to make your party an easy and painless success. This is how we approach every event at b i t e, whether it be an 8 person tasting menu or a 1,200 seat gala: visualization.
Everything's easier when it doesn't feel like it's your first time.
Here are some pro tips:
Oooh, aaah... the mysterious B-A-R (put your Streisand accent on and that rhymes).
Without a doubt, the bar is the most mystical and confusing part of planning a party.
Preparing your bar with the right and appropriate amount of libations can be tricky. We've created the charts, formulas and descriptions below to help simplify your planning and demystify this enigmatic bar thing.
The best place to start with is to consider how many drinks your guests will consume while they're partying at your place. Then we'll decide how much of what will be what. We have a simple formula that we go by and it's shockingly accurate.
2 drinks per hour (up to two hours) per guest + 1 drink per hour per guest (for hours 3 & beyond)
A cocktail party that last for 2 hours with a guest count of 50 will serve 200 drinks. That's (2 drinks x 50) for the first hour + (2 drinks x 50) for the second hour = (200 drinks).
Here's a bar chart, because it's a bar chart (see what we did, there?):
The chart represents a cocktail party for 50. You'll notice the numbers taper off as the party time extends. That satisfies our formula, as the consumption of alcohol naturally slows at a party after 2 hours.
This formula can easily be tweaked to accommodate your crowd and their habits. If you know you and your friends to be light drinkers, you could start tapering off the numbers after 1.5 hours or even after the initial hour of if your group has strict bedtimes. If y'all are notorious for stoking the party flames over multiple calendar dates (and court dates, probably, too) you can extend the tapered period to after 3 hours or beyond. This is where you, as a host, will know best.
We're going to level with you; this is about to get pretty convoluted. But before we go there - before we take it to the depths of catering mathematics where we need to wear a Veuve Clicquot sponsored diving suit - let us breakdown some of the basics.
A list of approximated servings / bottle.
These are mere approximations. If you know of the cocktail you're intending to serve and have a recipe for it, you can do the appropriate math to get the exact amount of product that you'll need. Here's a list for citrus juice:
Fruit is incredibly fickle and an inexact calculation. We find that the above approximations are accurate enough to help us get within the appropriate ballpark.
Ok. So you want to know more? You just NEED that gold star, huh? Here are some formulas that you can use to get this thing laser focused:
If there is a specialty cocktail (this number will play with another formula later):
(guest count) x (75%) = specialty cocktail served
Let me clarify what I mean by a specialty cocktail. If it's Cinco de Mayo and your making Margaritas; that's not a specialty cocktail, that's the menu!
A specialty cocktail would be an offering that's unique, delicious and special, but isn't known by your buddies local barkeep as their "go-to."
Again, knowing your guests intimately helps anticipate what they're going to be drinking.
Here's a formula for those classics:
(total drinks to be served) - (specialty cocktails to be served) x 50% = classic cocktails
By classic cocktails we mean: Manhattans, Martinis, Collins, G+T, Cosmos, Old Fashioned, Mojitos, Margaritas, Sours, Moscow Mules, Southsides, etc.
The rest of what you'll end up serving will be wine and beer.
So, for a party of 50 guests for 2 hours:
These numbers will never be exact. People are enigmas - that's why a party is interesting to begin with, right? If you go strictly by these numbers without taking the characters of your guest list into account, we feel confident that you'll be within a respectable margin of error. Knowing your guests and some of their tendencies will help you to adjust your numbers further.
Remember, it's perfectly acceptable to run out of something, just so long as that something isn't EVERYTHING.