“And the award for best party host goes to……YOU!”
That’s the kind of praise every host dreams of hearing. Whether it’s the Super Bowl, the Academy Awards, or the Kentucky Derby, those who love to entertain take advantage of a theme to make any party a hit. From the invitations, to fashion and décor, to food and activities, a successful party host needs to carefully thread a theme throughout, without falling into the trap of a Party City theme nightmare.
The invitation sets the stage for any event. If you plan ahead with the wording and style of your invitations, you can set the stage for the right feel for any party. For example, Evite Postmark unveiled a free Academy-approved Oscar collection of digital invitations around Oscar season. A quick internet search can garner you similar results for any theme you wish. You can stay casual and digital, or go old-school with printed invitations sent in the mail. Either way, find a design that nods to your chosen party theme.
To take it one step further, offer some ideas for how guests should dress to fit the occasion. Encourage team jerseys or colors for a sporting event, extravagant hats for a horse race, or a Hollywood glam look for a movie-viewing event. When your guests arrive, their own fashion choices will help set the tone for the party without having to deck your halls with crepe paper to achieve the look.
Once guests arrive, have a signature cocktail ready. The golden hue of a glass of champagne is always an appropriate choice to pass around to guests for an awards show, while beer and Bloody Marys are more fitting for football. A classic like a mint julep should be available for Derby guests, or have a bar station for guests to mix their own favorites.
As with any great party, you’ll need to serve excellent food. Your options are limitless and can range from simple hors d’oeuvres to gourmet creations. If celebrities or royal viewers will have a sushi and shellfish station, you can do the same on a smaller scale. Shrimp cocktail and California rolls will give the same vibe with a more affordable price tag. Also consider options that your guests can personalize to their own liking. Chili that can be garnished with cheese, scallions, or varying degrees of heat is one option, while a sandwich station with choices of meats, cheeses, veggies and dressings is another way to go. For less work on your part, consider having catered entrees delivered, freeing your time for the festivities.
To keep all guests happy, whether they are sports buffs, movie aficionados or high-stakes gamblers, offer a mid-party activity to keep everyone interested. Bring out a mid-party snack to accompany your activities. Popcorn with Oscar Bingo, clams on the half shell for a halftime game of paper football, or a between-races betting sheet alongside a London Broil appetizer. You can offer anything for a prize from a dollar-store trophy to a gift card to a local restaurant.
Instead of cheap paper decorations, think outside the box for ways to decorate your home or venue for a themed event. Use pitchers of your signature drink in each room as a centerpiece. Line up your game prizes for a visual cue of what’s to come. And take care to present your food in ways that tie to the theme. Don’t overdo it, let your décor be suggested instead of outright announced by themed decorations.
As your party winds down and guests depart, consider sending them off with a gift bag. This year’s Academy Awards gift bag totaled $45,000 in perks and swag. While your guests won’t expect their own Heathrow Airport VIP membership, you can get creative and cute with items you include. A decorative box filled with snacks, a gift card to a local movie theater, or an iTunes gift certificate for a theme-related game or app are great ideas that fit any budget.
You may not have your own paparazzi following, and maybe you won’t be the next first-round draft pick, but you can host any themed party like a pro with a little creativity and advance planning.
Of course if you do decide on a caterer, our Jersey City Catering team is ready for any event. Call us today to schedule a consultation.