How To Own Your Next Party
How To Own Your Next Party
Do you want to throw an unforgettable party for your friends and family?
We’ve all been to at least one really good party or event that has a special place in our hearts. We may not know exactly what it was; the great conversations, great ambiance, delicious food, the amazing Californian grown goodness we may have sampled... But for some reason, it was the kind of evening where you even remember the music that played and how you felt that night, all the pictures you took.
Ah, the beauty of parties.
The magic is from the good people and great connections and nothing can replace that.
But, to honor the special coming together of friends and family, there are some things that you can do ahead of time to make sure your guests feel like a million bucks.
Try doing one or all of these tips to create an affair to remember. Because life is short and dear people are rare.
Tip #1 Don't Hesitate To Be A Radass
Create an invite.
This is a lot more doable than you may think. It can be something virtual, posted to Facebook or EventBrite, or something printed out. You’ll want to buy some stamps for the latter, and FYI, everyone loves getting personal mail.
There are so many great online sites that do a beautiful job with a physical invite, and at every price range. I love Vistaprint.com for large quantities, and Bayviewprintingco.com, for a high-end letterpress look for extra special events. Both of these sites will work with you to create a custom work of art, so don’t worry if you’ve never done this before.
Whatever your creativity or tech levels may be, I encourage you to be creative with this project. This is your chance to set the tone of your event. Think about the colors of your home, the season you’re in, your city, the reason for your party, etc. Try working on Canva, or if you’re a little more techy, on Photoshop. Or make a good old fashion collage out of pictures and text, and then scan it into your computer or take a nice close up of it to send to your printers. Aim for either a flyer or a greeting card style of invitation. Whatever suits the occasion best.
Or, print them yourself. Hit up your local Office Depot or log on to Amazon. There are pre-cut or perforated postcards and greeting cards on standard 8.5”x11” nice thick paper, which makes it easy to cut or fold.
And while we’re taking DIY here, you can also get a stamp made. Believe it or not, it’s only about $12 to $20 dollars, with a 1-3 day turnover to do something like this. First, I log onto Dafont.com, or other sites that offers specialized fonts, or just use the standard ones in Word. I browse through the fonts until I find one that I like. If it's a summer boat party, look at the nautical fonts, or for an art deco party, I’ll look at art deco fonts and so on. Once you’re happy with your font, use it to create a file including the name of the event, the date & time, and the location.
Keep it two to three lines tops, and at 16pt -18pt to keep it within budget. If you want to add one more romantic or funny line or a quote in there, go for it. You can even submit artwork to be made into a stamp if you prefer that instead of text, just know that the price will go up. Also, with original art work there could be a fee to get your work ‘machine ready’.
Bonus: Later you can incorporate the stamp into other parts of your event. You can stamp it onto menus if you're serving a special dinner, or to decorate gift bags (more on this in tip # 8), stamp it on the bottoms of Polaroid pictures taken during the party. There are so many fun things you can do with these stamps that make it so worth the cost, so have fun with it!
Tip #2 A Home Away From Home
Have a designated coat and purse area set up for guests upon arrival.
This could include an actual coat check with an employee checking in coats and purses or just a fold up table/side table in a corner of your living room.
If it’s the latter, make the area looks purposeful and cute. Dress up your table if it’s a fold up or if you just happen to have a nice tablecloth. Put out a little Welcome sign on the table, string up some lights. Whatever you do, it should be apparent that that’s where you would like your guests to leave their things. You don’t want folks walking around with their coats and purses, or worse, to end up using your floor.
Whatever the set up is, I like to include a hanging or tabletop mirror, and a tray with mints. Guests will be coming and going to access their coats and purses all night, and it’s nice to be able to do a quick check up in the mirror or pop a mint or two.
Tip #3 Give Good Bathroom
Speaking of freshening up, always have a happening bathroom. Apart from the obvious things like fresh towels/napkins, nice smelling soap, plenty of toilet paper and scented candles, there’s always a little extra you can do to lively up this part of the house. Bathrooms are usually the smallest room in a house or venue, so they’re easy to transform.
Create a mood in there. Connect a wireless speaker to an I Pod with a happening playlist, or a continuation of what's playing in the rest of the space. Hide it under the sink or hang it up high to make it appear seamless (and to keep it dry!). Everyone loves listening to music while they go potty.
Next, you decide on the lighting of the bathroom. It will further enhance whatever mood you’ve set out for. Try hanging up some Christmas lights, or some bistro lights from Target. And go for the classic reds if you’re doing string lights, they make everyone look good in the bathroom mirror.
Once you’ve set up the speakers and arranged alternate lighting, work on your decor. Is it a disco themed bathroom? Hang up a disco ball and play some disco music all night. Pick whatever theme suits your event or party. I’ve seen people do all kinds of creative things. Gender reveals with pink soap giveaways, Christmas in wonderland with fake snow on the floor, and even a prohibition themed bathroom complete with props and a backdrop for selfies and group pictures. (But they were extremely rich. And had a team. And had multiple bathrooms on just the first floor).
Use what you already have in your home. A tropical island theme is easy to pull off in my bathroom because I already own a lot of houseplants. I set them all around the bathroom, on the sink, the windowsill, in the tub, and on the floors. And voila, 20 minutes later you can have a jungle themed bathroom.
Green Bonus: Last but not least, I also like to set up a tray (somewhere high and away from youngsters) with a vape pen, it’s easy, mess free, and I know that some people like to medicate in private. So if you can, this is a great place to share and truly makes people feel right at home.
Tip #4 Wow Your Guests Right Out The Gate
It’s party time, and your event is just about to start. Yes, you look fantastic, and the place looks great!
It’s aperitif time. This centuries old tradition is still used today by restaurants and hotels all over the world for a reason; it works. Who doesn’t want to be greeted upon arrival with a refreshing drink?
First things first, make it freaking delicious!
Summertime calls some THC infused gazpacho, or a white peach and raspberry sangria. Do a little research, depending on the season and your specific event, and make something unique and refreshing. Also, don’t forget to include a virgin version. Not all of your guests may be consuming, so don’t exclude anyone right out of the gate.
Keep both versions as similar as possible, it’s important that everyone experiences the same thing. Serve only a 2-3 ounce pour, this way people are less likely to decline, and you won’t need to stock that much of it. This is not the first drink of the evening, just a little welcome treat.
Bonus: If it’s an especially successful drink, guests will talk about it all night.
Secondly, if you can, you be the one to serve your guests as much as possible. Or be there as your staff starts passing drinks. This is the time for you to savor each guest. Events typically get busier as the evening goes on, especially dinner parties. So remember to make the most of your night. You did all this planning and replanning, and now you deserve to enjoy yourself!
Tip #5 Back Away From Your Phone
Don't ruin the first impression by having a cell phone as an accessory. I’ve seen this happen so many times, especially at home parties. And I myself am totally guilty as charged.
Remember that your guests just came from all over town to attend your event. Make the most of the moment and say proper hello. Plus, you have that drink to pour.
Give your phone to someone else and have him or her take your calls/answer texts. It could be a trusted friend or someone you've hired. Just be sure to write things down for them, like any passcodes to gates or secret parking spots, etc.
Bonus: This trusted and well-informed friend can double as your photographer, since they’ll already have your phone handy, and the emergency beer and ice person for later if need be, just saying.
Tip #6 Hit Them With Music
Have a great playlist already going. This is the last thing you want to have to worry about during your party. I wait on making my playlist until I know exactly who all is coming, to be sure to include a little something for everyone.
Plan it to last several hours. You can always start it again, or have a second "after party' playlist prepared. Yes, do include something for everyone, but also make sure to add some classics that ‘get the party going,’ like Fela Kuti, Bob Marley or some 1920’s big band. Whatever your choice in music may be, festive and upbeat are always key.
Tip #7 Bon Appetit!
Spruce up your appetizer or food area with two fun things; personalized notes and risers.
Make some personalized or funny little notes and put them out on special dishes. Examples; “My Sister's Ceviche Recipe” or “My Replacement Pie, Don't Ask”. It’s a great conversation starter and inspires conversations.
For cannabis edibles, write things like “2 mg of THC Per Piece” so that guests can keep track of their intake.
The notes don’t have to be fancy, hand tear some strips of a nice paper you like, use colored post-it’s or even some masking tape and a sharpie, just be consistent. It's the content that matters.
Next, having treats and appetizers set up on raisers not only looks clean and professional, it also keeps things like medicated edibles away from small children. They also work great as a space saver, and are highly visible. You can always tell from across the room when it’s time to replenish.
I recommend investing in a two or three-tier serving tray. They’re worth it.
I got mine at Cost Plus Market. They come in glass, plastic, or wood. If you’re good with your hands, make one yourself. Just score three slabs of different sized wood, a long stick, some super glue and a drill. Or just flip over a heavy flower vase or a mason jar and set a plate or tray on top and secure with masking tape or museum wax for a bohemian look.
Tip #8 The Back Room
It’s not as extravagant as it sounds. But also, it is. Everyone loves a VIP area.
This should only take about fifteen minutes, and it’s so worth it.
Choose a semi private area. It can be the floor of your master closet, a corner in your office, the pantry, the roof top, a stairwell, or even in a restaurant walk in, lit up with some Christmas lights, just don’t let chef see you.
Set out a nice 5’x7’ rug or blanket, some big pillows, or low chairs, camping chairs. Whatever the space calls for. You want everyone to feel super comfy and stay for a little while.
Prep an ice chest with beer or champagne, a water bong, and lots of ice.
For snacks, I like sliced barbequed brats with some mustard sauce, or a cheese plate. Think picnic style; casual yet intimate. And easy to eat.
Even set up a secret desert stash with donuts or strawberries and whipped creme.
Tuck away some glasses (go big with some flutes!), lighters, plates and napkins to boot.
Trust. You’ll thank me for this later.
Bonus: If no one ends up partaking, you’ll have guaranteed leftovers for the next morning.
Tip #9 Tokens Of Love
Whatever your budget and time allows, give a little something to show your appreciation.
This can be anything from a cute postcard, some mini jars of jam set out on a side table, to an actual gift bag with multiple goodies tucked inside. You can order some paper bags on Amazon, or at a party supply store. The stamp you had made for the invitations will come in handy to embellish these if you like. Or just tape some of the invitations you had printed on the outside of the bag. There are so many things you can do to personalize gift bags. Just stay away from glitter. Just no.
As for what goes into the bag, I like to serve something that was already being served at the party that would travel well. Like cookies or habanero cornbread, nicely wrapped with plastic wrap or wax/butcher paper and fastened with a little baker’s twine. If you want to go the extra mile, add stickers. You can stamp them up or write sweet notes. This works for store bought goods as well as your own hand made stuff.
Other things to include in your gift bag; special soaps, individually wrapped chocolates, cool key chains, medicated THC mints, pre rolled joints, tangerines, etc.
Give whatever your heart desires. Just know that goodie bags never go out of style. Everyone loves them.
Tip #10 We Bid You Farewell
Towards the end of the night, as people start to leave, set out three things to get your guests ready for their drive home (use small cups, this is another little tasting/goodbye drink);
Ice cold sparkling water (plain so it doesn't clash with coffee and chocolate).
A large French press, (or any way you like to serve coffee) with a side of honey sweetened almond milk or regular milk.
And last but not least, a tray of bite sized dark chocolates. I love the ones with a cherry core, but use what you have and what you like most.
These three things go so well with one another. The sparkling water is a refreshing palate cleanser and the coffee and the chocolate are invigorating.
Bonus: You can further lively up their drive home with a Sativa dominant pre roll like the Lono Haze by The Betty Project, a really tropical CBD strain or a concentrate. Right now I am loving the Tangie by Absolute Extracts, it tastes fruity, is uplifting and inspires focus.
Thank you so much for reading my blog. Stay tuned for my upcoming three part bong series on choosing a bong, smoking it like a boss, and keeping it looking pristine.