Step 1: Consider your location
Where you hold your party is almost as important as the party itself. And while this is a House Party, you’ve still got options. You want to be sure to pick the right space for the party — someplace that accommodates all your guests, lends itself to the theme and makes your life, as the host, easier.
- Pick a room: Which room or rooms will make the most sense for your party? Think about the number of guests, the party’s theme, who will attend (if there will be children, perhaps the basement or play room will be best for the inevitable mess) and which room suits the type of party you want to hold. If it’s a sit-down you might want to host in the dining room, a buffet might be best in the kitchen, a viewing party should work well in the den or family room, and so on.
- Take it outside: Consider your backyard a great option in warm weather. It typically offers you more space and you worry less about the mess!
Step 2: Spread the word
It’s not a party if you don’t invite anyone, so get hopping.
- Set the guest list: Think about what kind of party you’re having and whom to invite (e.g., is it a girl’s night theme, a Mom and baby play date or an adult dinner party).
- Know your audience: Remember you’ll be sampling some awesome products at your party so be sure to invite people who can benefit from and will appreciate trying them.
- Be safe: Take into consideration age restrictions (e.g., if it’s an 18+ or 21+ House Party or if it’s a family-friendly fête).
- Email your invites: Use House Party’s simple online invite tool to import your email contacts and spread the word with a click of the button.
- Make it personal: Be sure to write a little note in the invitation, in your own voice, to let friends know how excited you are to have them join you.
- Plan for no-shows: Invite at least 5-10 more people than you want to attend.
- Be prepared for anything: Assume that some people will be out of town, cancel last minute or just not show at all (sad but true).
- Get excited: Watch the RSVP’s roll in and check out the comments your guests leave on your party page.
Step 3: Play up your theme
Most House Parties already come with a set theme, so the hard part is already done for you! But now you get to put your own personality into blowing it out. From decorations and the menu to everything in between, here’s how you can make your House Party your own.
- What are you celebrating? Is it a Ladies Night (how about some colored lights, fun pillows and feather boas?), Happy Hour (cool coasters, lively music and a dartboard) or Game Day Viewing Party (team pennants, foam fingers and pompoms)? Think about what product you will be sampling as well for hints on how to take your theme to the next level.
- Know your audience: Who you plan to invite should factor in. Is this a party for kids, adults only or just the guys?
- Where will the party be held? Most House Parties are held in the home, but which room? Use your own décor to your advantage, or completely change it. It’s up to you.
- Develop a wandering eye: Be sure to keep checking the Announcements and conversations on the party page for other great ideas.
- Get shopping: Use supplies and decorations that enhance your theme.
Step 4: Plan your menu
Very often House Party gives you downloadable recipes and drink suggestions for our parties. And if you’re having a party around a food product, you will receive that product in your Party Pack. But you can still add your own flair.
- Think about your theme: Viewing party means nachos, sandwiches, chips and dip and other “pub” fare. Cocktail hour means adult beverages (if everyone is of legal drinking age) and finger foods, passed hors d’oeuvres and lite bites. Hosting a play date? How about juice and milk boxes, finger fruits (grapes, cut up bananas), puffed snacks and peanut butter and jelly. (Always check if your guests have any food allergies.)
- Potluck rules: Consider asking everyone to bring something that fits the theme. It not only saves you time in the kitchen, it immediately gets them involved in the party. And it gives everyone a chance to show off their cooking skills.
- Consider prep time: You want to enjoy your own party, so be sure to choose dishes that you can prepare ahead of time and serve with limited kitchen time. Some House Parties will have you cooking as part of the party, and in that case you’ve got everyone pitching in, but if not, select menu items that allow you to not be tied to the stove.
Step 5: Shop for supplies
House Party understands that budget plays a big role in any party. So if you have items around the house that you can use, by all means, feel free. But if you do want to add decorations and supplies, we’ve got some great tips on setting the stage.
- Plastic or proper: If you have enough of the good stuff and are inviting over adults, go ahead and break out the china. (It’s also eco-friendly!) If your party’s in the backyard, involves kids or is more casual, plastic plates are easy to buy and even easier to clean up!
- Dress up your space: Having a theme makes decorating a cinch and super fun! If your theme is the beach, get some beach balls, towels, pails and shovels. For a mommy and me party, put pillows on the floor for comfort and use lots of color to stimulate little minds. Having a backyard BBQ? Get some tiki torches, Frisbees and maybe even a badminton set.
Think outside the box: Just because we provide the theme, doesn’t mean you can’t be creative.
- Don’t fill a single vase with flowers. Repurpose various sizes of glass vases and mason jars and create a unique centerpiece or runner. Fill them with seasonal items such as pine cones and needles in the fall and winter, and wildflowers and greens in the spring and summer. Or try filling them with fruit or candy — a perfect edible arrangement!
- If the weather’s too cold to host a party outside, bring the garden inside. Bring patio furniture and décor in to create a backyard feeling indoors. During warmer months, you can do the opposite. Bring a table and chairs from the inside, out!
Step 6: Decorate
Maybe you’re a minimalist. Maybe you like to go all-out. Whatever your style, decorating for a party can sometimes be as fun as the party itself.
- Make an entrance: What’s the first thing guests see when they arrive? Put a sign up on the front door (check out the Party Favors section of your party for a downloadable one), light candles down the walkway or tie some balloons to the mailbox. Taking your theme and decorations outside will get everyone excited before they even step inside.
- Recycle: You probably already have a lot of things you can use to spruce up your space. Move items from another room, dip into the holiday boxes, forage around the basement or attic. You never know what relic will be perfect for your party.
- Set the mood: Decorating is more than just balloons and streamers. Lighting plays a big part. Try a colored light bulb to make the ambiance more warm or cool, or use candles and leave the lights off altogether. It looks beautiful and will save on your energy bill!
- Don’t forget the table: It’s often the centerpiece of the party — literally! So be sure your table fits the theme. From specially designed plates and glassware, to tablecloths, runners, centerpieces, napkin rings and place cards, you have the opportunity to make your theme truly the star of the party. Check out Step 5 to see some more great table ideas.