While there are certain events that people drag their feet to when invited (no more middle school graduations for me, thank you!), a cocktail party isn’t likely to be one of them. This is because cocktail parties are usually casual affairs filled with close friends and family. Combine plenty of adult beverages with good company, and it isn’t hard to fathom why the cocktail party remains popular. But, if you’ve never thrown a cocktail party before, how should you go about doing so?
The steps to throwing a good cocktail party are easy to follow. Hosts should come up with a guest list and budget. They will also need to gather supplies and set up the party’s space. But once those tasks have been handled, a host can typically sit back and enjoy their own soiree. This makes cocktail parties a welcome rarity for most with hosting duties.
Come Up With A Guest List
The first step that any host will have to do is come up with a suitable guest list. As long as there is ample space, there is no limit to how many people you can invite to a cocktail party. Keep in mind that larger parties will be more expensive to pull off. For a more intimate event, consider capping the guest list at no more than 20 people. You will be surprised at how large a party that really can be.
When coming up with your own list, give consideration to how you think the overall group may get along. Don’t invite friends who don’t like each other, and the same goes for any family members. Doing so is the easiest way to prevent unnecessary drama from occurring. Once a good guest list is formed, the host will better understand what they need while party planning and coming up with a budget.
Make A Party Plan
There is so much to consider when planning a cocktail party. There truly is no one size fits all approach to such events. What will be most important is that hosts come up with a reasonable budget for the party. This budget will help hosts decide how much alcohol to procure, how much to spend decorating, and even what activities the party offers.
And when it comes to activities, you don’t necessarily need to spend a fortune for fun. For example, parlor games can be an inexpensive and enthralling form of entertainment that will get your guests interacting with one another as a natural icebreaker. More expensive options could include renting a yacht for a cocktail and cruise party. What one you can afford will be dictated by your budget. If you have caviar dreams and a Pepsi budget, try economizing on some aspects so that you can have what you really want at your party. There is always money to be saved when it comes to table and glassware or by sending evites instead of mailed invitations.
Finally, ask your guests to help carry some of the financial burdens. Get everyone to bring a favorite spirit to share. Assign some guests to bring essentials the day of, such as ice. You should also choose a theme and ask guests to dress up so that the night feels a little more special for everyone.
Make Sure You Have The Right Supplies
There is a lot more to a cocktail party than having a steady supply of vodka and cocktail shaker. Guests will expect to be provided with food. To avoid serving a meal, have your party take place later in the evening. Events that start after 7 or 8 p.m. generally are exempt from having to serve a full meal.
This doesn’t mean that you should let your guests go hungry. Light snack foods should be available. A classic cheese board is always a clever choice if you’re stuck on what to serve. One can easily be put together in the space of an hour. And don’t forget to pick up often overlooked items, such as cocktail toothpicks. That is unless you are comfortable with your guests eating with their hands.
Set The Atmosphere
Setting up for your cocktail party should be done with care. You can’t just tack some streamers to the wall and call it a day. The effort that the host puts into decorating and preparing for the party will directly influence the atmosphere that guests perceive. So do a good job preparing!
If you’re hosting at home, do a good job cleaning up clutter and clearing surfaces so that everything looks tidy. Make sure you have enough seating for all of your guests.
Lastly, put some thought into the music that is being played. When in doubt, go for inoffensive background music versus anything that might cause a distraction to the conversation.
Enjoy The Party!
Once all of the above is taken care of, it is time to relax! The number one reason why anyone chooses to throw a party is to have a good time. So, with all the stress of planning and setting up taken care of, stop and take a moment to yourself. Be sure to savor what all of your hard work made possible before grabbing a cosmo and joining the party yourself!