- By Jasmine Chu
- Published 03/5/2012
Whether you’re a tried and tested host or this is your first time to throw a party, with some key know-how it needn’t be a stressful affair.
From affordable yet charming decoration ideas such as Chinese lanterns to some essential advice on keeping the conversation flowing smoothly, the following guide will help you throw a party to remember with a minimum of fuss.
How to Make Your Life Easy When Throwing a Party
There are a number of simple and affordable yet effective ways to ensure your party turns out successfully:
Manageable Guest List
Especially if you’re new to playing host, the best way forward in terms of time and stress is to keep it relatively small, rather than aiming too ambitiously. For dinner parties, be careful not to invite more people than will comfortably fit at your dining table. If you find yourself overstretched on the guest list, it’s better to throw a cocktail party with finger food so everyone can mingle while standing and sitting wherever there is space.
Simple Yet Special Menu
Unless you’re a star chef, it’s often a good idea when it comes to the menu to have one or two impressive dishes and keep the rest simple (this does not have to mean boring). This will minimise any culinary disasters and also allow you to relax a little. Another tip to make your life easy is to choose the entrée first and then plan the other dishes around it.
Savvy Presentation and Ambience
A dinner party will be that much more enjoyable with a little presentation effort. Any dish will look appealing with a garnish such as a subtle spray of flowers or a handful of fresh herbs. In addition, even a simple dish can be made to look romantically enticing if the table is set with pretty candles and colourful napkins. Another affordable yet appealing idea to add to the ambience is to hang Chinese lanterns strategically – their lovely glow will add charm to the dinner table and relax your guests
Keeping Your Guests Entertained
While the menu and the decor is fully under your control, many hosts get the most worried about what to do to keep their guests entertained – even the most perfectly arranged dinner party can be a disaster if the conversation turns stilted. Some tips here are to have some appealing yet relaxing music that you know your friends will like playing in the background, although be careful not to turn the volume too high or people will have to shout over it. In the end, the entertainment will be driven by the type of guests you’re having round – for example if there will be children, be sure to have some appropriate DVDs to keep them out of the adult’s hair, or if your guests are older they might like to have some chess, scrabble or poker to play.
Getting the Beverages Right
One of the worst party dampeners is when guests don’t have enough drinks. To get around this, ask people what beverages they enjoy when you initially invite them, including their children (if they’re coming along). As a tip for alcohol, the usual winners are red and white wine, rum, vodka and whisky. Be sure to have enough ice to hand, and remember to put the white wine in the refrigerator as well as open the red wine to breathe a half hour before serving it.
By following the useful advice in the above guide, your gathering is sure to be well on its way to success. All in all, with a simple yet tasty menu that has the right ambience such as candles and Chinese lanterns, and with plenty of drinks accompanied by relaxing music, it will be hard for your party not to turn out well. Finally, once you’ve done the preparations, the most important thing is to make sure you enjoy yourself!
About the Author: Jasmine Chu is a decorator and independent retailer of Chinese lanterns.