So I’ve lived in this awesomely unique loft apartment in Green Bay for about 6 months and have only had about ONE person over (excluding family members, which are a given). I’ve been wanting to throw a housewarming party, but I feel like the moment for that has passed. So maybe I’ll throw a “Fall is almost here” or “Celebrate being Young!” party. Just because I can. Here are a few ideas I came up with (and got help from others, like my girl Martha) to have a fun, inexpensive last-minute party.
Get ready: Ask yourself, when is this party? How many people are coming? What is the reason for the party? What’s my budget? Facebook, for all of its ups and downs, is a good way to send free invitations, and get RSVP’s in a timely manner. Everyone checks their Facebook. Even my Grandma. Or, if its low key enough, call your friends to invite them by phone. Then you’ll have your RSVP right away.
Guest List: Get your list of people together, and gather phone numbers, just in case. Is this a business party? Is this for close friends, or a large group of friends plus acquaintances? Based on the crowd, then you can pick the location.
Location: Once you know who you are inviting and how many people, you’ll know if they will be more comfortable in your apartment, in a park (based on time of day, and time of year) or if you should bring your party to a bar or banquet location. I’ll keep this article focused on the instance that you decide to have people over to your house/ backyard. If in your apartment, make sure to clean your bathroom, and put away anything you don’t want people to rifle through.
Dinner Party, Apartment Therapy Style.
Theme: Now that you know who will come, and where you will have the party, the next thing you can decide is if there is going to be a theme or not. Your theme can even be an occassion. New job? Moving? Survive a lightening storm? There you go. A theme can be a great way to pull the whole party together and have some good old-fashioned fun, especially if there are costumes involved. I once went to a party where everyone dressed like a nerd. Argyle socks, glasses with tape around the middle, and suspenders all around! Maybe consider a movie theme like Alice in Wonderland where people dress like their favorite character, and you serve little cakes and drinks in tiny glasses. Or you can celebrate another country and their traditions, with themed food and drink. Or even a “Young at Heart” party with kids themed snacks, coloring books, kids video games, and fun colorful cocktails.
Adorable and inexpensive flags.
Decorations: Use what you have! Tea Light candles make for good warm lighting, and a 50 pack can be as cheap as $5 at Target. Use a string of christmas lights around the perimeter of a room, on the floor or tacked around the ceiling, or in a large vase, or wrap the lights around some branches outside. Cut some triangle flags out of paper or fabric and string them up with some yarn, or use this idea from Martha Stewart to make some cheap yet adorable paper bag lights. Save jelly and spaghetti sauce jars for a little while, and put candles in them to place outside for cute night lights.
Photo thanks to Martha Stewart.
Menu: For food and drink, you can either make your party a BYOB, or a potluck, and you’ll of course save a lot of money. You can also make some punch using few ingredients. Here’s a website for a TON of party punch ideas. Make sure you have a bag of ice ready, or make ice in abundance, and keep emptying ice-cube trays in plastic bowl in the freezer to have it on hand. My boyfriend makes a killer queso in the crock pot with a block of cheddar, a block of pepper jack, a half block or so of Velveta cheese, salsa and some milk. Simmer, stir, and serve! Or what about a “choose your fillings” Grilled Cheese Sandwich bar? Get some bacon, apple slices, Velveta, pesto, tomatoes, and different kinds of bread. Hit up the local Dollar store for dishes, plastic silverware, and napkins. Why spend more?
Photo thanks to Martha Stewart. Ok, you’re thinking, does she get all of her ideas from Martha Stewart? No. I get the rest from Pinterest.
Entertain! Have a good movie on in the background, or put on a video game that anyone can pick up and play, like Rock Band, Scene It, Mario Cart, or Guitar Hero. Have an iPod ready with a playlist long enough for the party, and put it on an iPod dock, so everyone can enjoy the music. Or play DJ, and let people make requests. If you own a Mac, get the “Photo Booth” ready and let guests take goofy pictures of themselves. Have your guests leave you a self-addressed envelope, send those pictures to Walgreens and print them off, and mail a copy to your guests.
Games: If you have board games, set those out for your guests to play. Some good examples that we have are Uno, Scrabble, Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit or Twister. Or, get everyone involved in a group game of Truth or Dare, or “Who Am I?”, the game where people have a name of a celebrity written on paper and attached to their back and they have 20 questions to ask to figure out who they are.
Even if you just want a totally low-key party where you just want to have a get together, relax, and have a few cocktails with some close friends, it will be easy to throw a party on the fly, and still have an amazing time! Party On!