The best party I ever attended was in the summertime. There was no traditional reason for holding it – it wasn’t a birthday or graduation celebration, it was not a 4th of July or Labor Day party – it was just a “Let’s Enjoy Summer” kind of party.
Now, before you get any wild ideas about what may or may not have happened at this party, I feel I should mention that hundreds, if not thousands, of water balloons and super soaker squirt guns were involved, and yes, I was about 8 or 9 years old. (Okay, okay, it definitely wasn’t thousands… but also maybe.)
My mom had invited as many kids as possible to come to this water fight – we’re talking kids from my class, my older brother’s class, plus any of their siblings, and any of their friends, and all the kids from our sports teams and church activities to come and bring their best water blasters. It was quite epic – especially to my little 9-year-old mind. Needless to say, I don’t remember much about the details of the day, I just remember lots of running, throwing water balloons, squirting people left and right, and feeling overjoyed that my mom planned SUCH a fun summer party!
Now that I am older, I LOVE throwing parties! Big or small, I love hosting people. Every few months, I turn to my husband and ask what events we should plan. From all this planning, I have learned a thing or two about how to host fun, memorable, enjoyable events and I’d love to share my tips with you so your parties can be amazing too.
Pick a Date & Location
First things first – look at a calendar to choose a date for your gathering. Consider putting out feelers to confirm if a few people can attend before setting the date in stone. Also, you will need to decide on a location for your shindig. Will you be outside on the patio? What kind of weather is expected? Keep these things in mind as you start your planning.
Select a Theme (optional)
Maybe the theme revolves around an occasion like a graduation or birthday, or maybe you want to host something more along the lines of, “Endless Summer”, “Fancy Fiesta”, or “Evening in Italy”. Whatever the theme, make sure you convey that in your invitation so that everyone is well aware in advance.
Now that you have the main details settled, it’s time to spread the word. First, consider how you want the gathering to go when you think of who you want to invite. Are you planning a rip-roaring, elbow-to-elbow party? In this case, I hope I’ll be included on your extensive guest list. Or are you envisioning a more intimate event with a handful of close friends? The mood of the occasion will help dictate how long your invitation list will be.
If you are trying to expand your circle of friends and branch out a bit more, I recommend you include your neighbors, and the fun senior citizens you keep bumping into at the grocery store or the gym. You’re throwing a party! The more, the merrier, am I right?!?
Now, it’s time to think about any activities you want to include. Once again, think about the atmosphere you are hoping to create. Are you hosting a casual backyard barbecue? Maybe your guests would enjoy a no-pressure game of Cornhole. Are you asking guests to gussy-up or arrive in creative costumes? Maybe a photo booth or a photo backdrop is in order. Whatever you choose, keep in mind the location and theme of the party, along with the probable level of interest and ability of the guests to participate.
Make a Menu
Mmmm! Is your mouth watering already just from thinking about all the possibilities? (Mine is!) The first thing to think about is what sounds delicious and could match your theme. Next, consider whether you will be cooking or bringing in food or some combination of the two. Will you be able to keep the hot food hot, and the cold food cold – or would it even matter? (I’ve noticed people seem perfectly pleased to be grabbing another slice of pizza – hot or not – as a party comes to a close.) How will you be serving the food? Where will guests be eating the food? Once you have these nailed down, think about what beverages you want to serve and how you want to display, prepare, and provide those. Lastly, you will need to decide whether or not you want to have any appetizers or desserts.
Decide on Decorations
Your fantastic party is now fast approaching and it’s time to get things ready. Your decor decisions will be heavily influenced by your theme. Are you going for something more casual? Then skip most of the decorations and let the food convey the theme. Are you hoping to create an elegant red-carpet evening? Well, then maybe you want a literal red carpet! (Again, if that’s the case, I would love to see this party and hope you invite me!) My personal recommendation: start with things you have around the house and then decide on the one or two little things that you might need to enhance the decor. Most of the time, in my opinion, less is more.
Cheers to you and your upcoming event! I am certain you will make it a wonderful occasion. With a little planning and a bit of luck, you just might be able to look back on your soiree and remember it as fondly as I remember that soaking wet, summer sun party so many years ago.