It’s festive time. Christmas and New Years are around the corner and that’s lots of reasons to have a party. Though if you like having your family and friends over there are always a gazillion reasons… birthdays, anniversaries, the first-day-it-rained pakoda party or just a I-feel-like-having-coffee-with-my-friends party. Every reason is a great reason… and I have another one which I’ll get to later on. But the thing is, I’m ready to party. And since it’s the season and all, I thought it’s a great time to share my before-a-party-checklist to get party ready.
Whether it’s a party for 50 people or 5, these little things can make it special. The funda, as always, remains the same… it’s the small things that make a big difference. So here’s my list of small things to do to get your home party ready in a big way!
Let’s Get Party Ready!
Getting party ready is actually a 2 part process. There are things I do before hand, which includes the planning and the preparation. And then things that I do on the actual day of the party.
I like to start of by making my guests party ready..
(1) Get Creative With The Invite:
Most of us send party invites on Whatsapp. We all get hundreds of messages on Whatsapp every day. Be honest, do you actually read them all? I usually scroll down the messages, scan them and manage to read a few. So I like to send an invite which will stop the scrolling and be read!
It’s not too difficult to make one. Google up an image which goes with your theme and use any photo app to add your text to it… your invite is ready.
For example, we sent this invite out some time back to friends. It was just a regular get together where we were going to serve Sangria. We made that the theme for the invite and the party went from being a regular dinner to a ‘Sangria night’.
We sent this the evening before as a reminder.
Sending an exciting invite sets the mood for the party even before the guests arrive. There is a certain sense of anticipation that starts the party off with high energy and enthusiasm.
But however exciting the invite might be, I ALWAYS follow it up with a phone call. I think it’s important to speak to and personally invite all your guests.
(2) Plan the Food:
Food and drink is obviously the most important part of getting party ready. I plan my menu according to the occasion and who I’ve invited. For example, if there are elder relatives coming over I would do fewer starters to serve with some soft drinks and a proper dinner course. While for the Sangria night above we had loads of starters flowing with the drinks and just a single dish, like a biryani, to wrap it up.
I don’t usually make everything at home. I might make a few dishes and order some from outside. Or at a larger party have someone cater so that I can spend time with my friends and not have to worry about the food.
I don’t necessarily serve a dozen different food items. I loved this post on organising a soup party. And I’ve had a ‘Coffee & Cookie night’ with my girl friends. We all met after dinner so I just served tea, coffee and deserts. You can keep it really simple and that’s okay. But I do make sure I don’t run out of food and no one goes home hungry!
Another thing you don’t want to run out off in the middle of a party, is ice. I usually get extra ice from friends in the building and store it in a big ice-box to be used through the evening.
(3) Clean Up:
This sounds kind of obvious, doesn’t it. But it’s not everyday cleaning I’m talking about. It’s the little extras which, again, make a big difference.
There are some things at home that are cleaned on a weekly / fortnightly or monthly basis. For example, I keep a lot of plants inside my house. Over time the leaves get a light layer of dust on them. This is not something we clean every day. But if we’re expecting friends over, we go out of the regular cleaning schedule to make sure we wipe down the leaves with a wet sponge. The leaves get that much brighter, shinier and the room looks that much better for it. Look at this plant… at first look it looks bright and clean, doesn’t it?
Now here’s a close up of the leaves.. before I cleaned them and after I cleaned the one on the right.
Same with windows. We don’t wipe down the glass every day, but we make sure we do the day we’re entertaining. Nothing like crystal clear glass to make a room look bigger and brighter.
While I’m at it I also put away the little things that might have collected over time, like a pile of books or newspapers or some junk mail lying around.
(4) Dress It Up:
Think of your favourite place to go eat. Think of what you like about that place. Food is usually one part of it. The ambience of the place and the way it makes you feel is another big part. So I try to recreate some of that ambience in my home.
I get some fresh flowers for my centre table and light diyas and candles around the room. Take out some fresh, dressy cushion covers and drape a throw on the sofa. Get the accent lights on and have some soft music playing in the background.
I try to do something different to add a wow factor. Do you remember how I added strings of marigold to the chandelier above my dining table on Diwali? We also have a separate post on Christmas decor ideas if it’s a Christmas party you’re planning.
It also makes your guests feel special when they realise you’ve gone out of your way to make things special for them.
Though most of this is done on the day of the party I check before hand that I have everything I need. I order the flowers before and make sure I’m stocked up on my candles.
(5) Make Sure the House Smells Good:
It’s easy enough when you’re lighting candles, just make sure some of them are scented. I have the made the mistake of over-scenting my home once. I lit about a dozen candles in the living room and ALL of them were scented… and not all the same fragrance. Can you imagine what a disaster that was? My home smelt like a perfume shop and that wasn’t great at all!
I have learnt from that. We now light only a few scented candles at one time and I make sure they’re of the same fragrance.
I also have this Buddha fountain at my entryway. The day we’re entertaining I put a few drops of scented oil into the water before I start the fountain. It gives off a light fragrance and the foyer too smells great.
(6) Especially Remember the Bathroom:
It’s such a dampener when you step out of a beautifully done up living room into a bathroom that’s wet and piled up with buckets and clothes. So we make sure to wipe dry our guest bathroom and put away all the extras into the other bathrooms for the day.
The bathroom needs to look and smell good too, so I usually have a little plant and a scented candle on the bathroom counter, and add a fresh hand towel just before the guests arrive.
(7) Set a Beautiful Table:
Whether I’m laying a table for a sit-down dinner or a buffet, I like to make it pretty. I bring out my beautiful crockery and table linen and add some flowers and candles. Do you remember how we used plants on the table in this post on table setting?
The rules do change if I’m laying a table, say for a New Year party. I wouldn’t take out my best crockery or crystal ware if I know there’s going to be drinking and dancing all night. Then I take out stuff which won’t make me too sad to lose.. because I expect a couple of accidents and breakages to happen in all the dancing.
(8) Plan the Seating and Layout:
If it’s New Year party I would clear out a part of my living room to make a dance floor. On Diwali we had planned for some cards, so I cleared out some chairs and laid down a large mattress with lots of cushions on the floor where everyone could sit together and play cards.
But if it’s more of a catch up session I’ll make sure there’s enough seating for everyone. I pull in the dining chairs and add them around the sofas to increase my seating there.
(9) A Welcome Mood-Maker:
Sometimes greeting your guests with a little something at the entrance sets the mood for the party. Like for this orange themed baby shower we had these huge orange gerberas and hair clips for everyone who walked in. It immediately set the mood, got everyone smiling and was a bit of an icebreaker as everyone helped each other put them on.
At a New Year party we had a tray of shot glasses at the entrance. Everyone had to down a shot before they were allowed to enter.
And I remember being welcomed with a fragrant jasmine gajra at a friend’s karvachauth party.
(10) A Party Mood-Maker:
Do you remember this beautiful marigold photo booth at a family wedding I attended?
You can have a simpler photo booth by keeping some props in a corner and encouraging everyone to take funny pics.
For a New Year party you could have a large blank paper on a wall where everyone can write down their New Year resolutions.. and how long they plan on keeping them!
This is especially great if everyone doesn’t know each other. Getting into an activity together gets people moving around and talking and it’s easier to break the ice.
(11) Relax and Have Fun:
My final step towards getting my home party ready is to get myself party ready. I preplan enough so that on the afternoon of the party I can take a nap.. especially if it’s going to be a late night. And then I don’t stress too much. Things do go wrong sometimes and it is okay. When you’ve done 10 things right and made an effort, your friends will overlook the one thing that went wrong. That’s if they even notice it… you’ve planned so well and they’re having such a good time that they most likely won’t. 🙂
I’m sure everyone has their own ways of getting party ready. I’d love to hear what yours are and add to the list.
Especially because I’m planning another little party around now for a special reason. Better Homes & Gardens and Social Samosa are Celebrating Creators, and I’m celebrating with them! They have announced the Lifestyle Influencer Awards and I am really excited to have been nominated in the Best Design Inspiration Blogger category!
I know I’ve made it to this list only because of YOUR constant support and encouragement.. and now I need your help to make it to the final round. So please take the time out to go to this link, scroll down to ‘Rittika Chokhany’ and cast your vote.
To a season full of celebrations and parties… cheers!
Until next time,