Monday, August 13, 2007

Party Planning 101 ~ Entertainment

Sorry for dropping the ball on the party planning posts! I was out planning for the real party on Friday with my co-planner Evie, and then toiling away on the Almost Done But Not Really room project for the rest of the weekend. Who recently mentioned that they have more clothes for painting than they do regular clothes? God, that SO summarizes my life right now.

A few more posts this week to wrap up our party planning primer, then I'm off to an exotic weekend in a un-exotic locale. Just in time to gather some much needed inspiration for next month's luau.

(Tiki Beach Luau, 2005, Everybody hula!)

Anywho - On to the entertainment. There are a couple of key components that should be at every party, and some additional ideas to consider. The number one source of entertainment on the agenda is YOU! Yes you, the hostess. You are the star of the evening. Dress a little more bold than you normally do. Smile a LOT. Make a point to talk to have a conversation with all of your guests. Try to match up people you think have similar interests. Sure, it can be a little stressful, but think of the valuable time your guests gave up to drive to your house and spend an evening with you. Make them feel welcome in return.

Another essential, in my opinion, is music. You may not have a set of DJ equipment in the family (it's pretty amazing what we collectively have between us). BT and I have been impressed at recent functions how good of sound MP3 player speaker systems put out. Try to come up with a playlist that fits the changing mood of your party - start out a little light, and go from there. Try to throw in a few songs that are notorious for inspiring large groups of people to sing along. Our playlist for next month's Beach Blanket Bingo party will start out with surf rock, but will inevitably turn to the old favorites. A band would be cool - look for local bands on MySpace.

I like to host a purpose driven event. Something that will take place after a few hours that is the culmination of the event. For a birthday, it is cutting the cake. For the Beach Blanket Bingo party, it will be the crowning of the best-dressed. A wine-tasting party awards the best received wine. A Sin & Virtue party ends with you feeding your "soul" to the Soul-A-Matic 2000 for a prize (real party - we are not the only over-the-top party givers in our group). Having a reason to stick around helps your guests plan their gracious exit.

What about booze? Surprised I don't consider it an essential? As you know, I sometimes host the Mormon crowd. We've had many fun, lively events with not a drop of booze in sight. Our wedding was dry. It was a little bland compared to other weddings we have attended, sure. But, family comes first. Usually...You see - once we built a giant tiki bar, it was a little hard to cover up that we are a couple of booze hounds. Family is always welcome at our big events, and they usually do show up. But it is understood that people will be drinking, and that drunk people often are asses. Drunk people, of course, being a source of entertainment - which is why I mention booze here and not under food planning.

It is good to have a few board games or card games put out for people to play if they need an ice breaker/ something to do. You can also try organized games and activities. But, it is essential that you time these right. It's awkward when people are just getting into their conversations, and a hostess tries to get everyone to stand up to participate in something. Know your crowd, and what they will be up for. If you are expecting children, however, it is good to have some planned events for them.

Oh - Take lots of pictures! People love to ham it up for the camera!

~ Vintage Vixen (Clothing that makes you stand out)
~ gURL (Party playlist quiz)
~ BevMo (Where the alkies go)
~ Webtender (Online bartender guide)
Vermont Country Store (Games)


jungle dream pagoda said...

I love this series! I have some catch-up to do!

June said...

Your party planning posts have been really enjoyable as well as very helpful. Thank you for sharing all this.

Cristina H. said...

"But it is understood that people will be drinking, and that drunk people often are asses."

Takes one to know one.... :)