Although not commonly acknowledged as an art-form, there are some people who are the Van Goghs of party planning. You know who they are. No matter the occasion, no matter if they invite people at the last minute, no matter if it rains on their parade; everyone always shows up and has a terrific time.

Blog1 PhotoThe ideas here may not guarantee a Gatsbyesque bash, but will definitely give you some simple steps to success.

  1. COMMIT! Don’t be wishy-washy about it.

Make your list, contact your friends, and tell them you’re having a party. No “maybe I’ll have a few people over” or “I’ll see who is available and get back to you”. You are the party! You are going to have fun and damn-it, so will anyone else who shows up!

  1. GOOD PEEPS. Think about your guest list.

Have at least 2 people from each particular group of friends you know so nobody feels left out. If there is someone you’d really like to invite that’s solo, you can always suggest they bring a friend. Give some thought to things your diverse friends have in common. Then you can introduce them and say “Zoe, meet Zack. Did you know he only has one kidney, too?”  Also, don’t be afraid to have a multi-generational mix. You might not think grandma is cool, but others may love the stories that you’ve heard 100 times before.

  1. HAVE A THEME. A theme just gives you something to hang your hat on.

It can be a holiday, a color scheme, a country, a game, a food group…anything.  I know someone who had a great “State of the Union” themed party. Once you decide, just let your imagination go.  If you’re creatively challenged, go to Google or Pinterest for ideas. http://www.pinterest.com/micproject/  The internet has tons of party pictures just waiting for your click.

Your theme should be evident in the invite (which can be just fun wording on an email or an elaborate 3D mailer piece, food, drink, table décor and entertainment.

If you keep the theme consistent, your party will have a nice look.

  1. BE ORGANIZED. You want to have a good time at your own gig.

If everything is thought out and prepared in advance, you can enjoy the party too.  You don’t want to be a slave to the kitchen while everyone else is outside whooping it up.

Have all your food prepared in advance, set out in serving bowls and ready to go. If you have food that needs cooking or heating, make a list of the menu, how long each dish needs to cook, the temperature and what time it goes in and comes out of the oven. That way, good friends can help pitch in, take out, or set up the food.

  1. EMERGENCY PLAN. If the party is flowing, go with it and enjoy. But…

If that dreaded lull comes over the room it’s always a good idea to have something planned as an “ice breaker”.

You could have some trivia questions ready: What superpower would you most like to have? What is your favorite physical comedy scene in a movie?  These always get everyone talking and laughing. A game is always good to have on hand. (http://bit.ly/1jCH7jJ )


  1. BYO Something. If people ask to help, let them.


It automatically makes them more invested in the party.  If you don’t need food, drink, ice or chairs consider asking them to bring a used book to donate. We just LOVE “Party Philanthropy”! (http://bit.ly/1l9jNVJ )


  1. ENJOY! If you are having a good time, the mood will be infectious.


Even if the turnout is not what you had hoped, kick back and make the friends that are there feel valued and appreciated.