Whenever we are party planning I always think in terms of decor, food and feeling. Let’s work backwards in this list as we unpack some good ole party tips!
Have you ever heard someone say “people won’t remember what you said but they will remember how you made them feel”? I believe the same is true about hosting. People will not remember a few dirty dishes in the sink, if your carpet was vacuumed or if the cheeseboard spread was Pinterest perfect. But they will remember how they felt when they arrived and mingled at the party.
My goal in hosting is for people to feel seen, comfortable and walk out the door saying “I can’t wait for their next party!” The feeling of your party is everything! A few tips on leaving your guests with a good feeling:
- Play some music! Nothing is more fun than walking into a party hearing a familiar song. Music gives off a vibe and since you’re the DJ, you set the vibe.
- Make your home smell delicious. Either have something baking in the oven, brewing on the stove, or have oils pumpin out your diffusers. Our sense of smell is directly related to memory and emotions. If you want your guests to remember good times at your parties make them smell good things!
- Plan what you want to be doing when you’re guests arrive. No one likes to be throwing shoes in closets or taking out the trash when people are arriving. I personally enjoy having a warm cup of coffee in hand or be in the process of filling diffusers when people walk through my door. I want them to say “wow that looks yummy” or “mmm your home smells amazing” — that way I can easily reply with “let me make you some coffee, come and sit, let’s chat!” And the party begins to flow.
- There are several other ways to create feelings from a party, but I’ll leave you with this: whenever someone walks in the door or room say “You’re here!” People love feeling seen so give it to them, make them feel seen! Take their coat and lead them to where the party is happening. With a little direction and personal touch, your guests will know and feel like they were the star of the party, not you.
Leaving your guests with a lingering feeling is always my first priority. My second is food. I’m a foodie, I love food. I dream about food. I spend 5+ hours in the kitchen every day. My home, our table, our parties always revolve around food.
I always plan the food based on the type of party. For Liliana’s tea party we had charcuterie boards, for smaller gathers I have snacks like nuts and banana bread, for Finley’s birthday party in October I made our family’s favorite chili recipe and also had festive halloween and other fall-type foods and snacks and treats. The food has to match the type of party, no questions asks.
A few tips: 1) Cover all the bases: meat, greens, carbs, drinks and sweets. 2) Don’t cater to everyone, but let people know that there are foods they shouldn’t eat if they have sensitivities. And 3) Have plates or bowls and napkins out in several places for people to easily grab and not have to think or question where they are. I’ve even written labels for what things are to give more direction, and it’s easy party decor.
So we’ve created the feeling and nailed down the food, now onto decor.
I’m not one to go all out on a themed birthday party, but then again, I kind of am. For Liliana’s Tea Party our kitchen and dining area was decked out. I wanted people to walk in and instantly feel like they were at a tea party. But on the other hand, for Finley’s birthday party I didn’t have tons of decorations up, but it was a “fall party” based on a new wreath I hung up, leaves were part of his cake decor, we played cornhole outside and based on the food we prepared it felt like a fall party.
You don’t have to be an awesome decorator or spend tons of money on decorations to look like a post on Pinterest. Creating an environment that feels fun and festive takes a little bit of work and truly adds so much to a party! And if this is not your strong-suit, invite a friend over to help! Even though I love this, I have still invited my friends and family members to help because it’s more fun to do together.
Here are a few simple decor ideas:
- Balloons. Easy to set up, fun for kids to play with, easy for photos and you can color-code them to the theme or your kids’ favorite colors. (Did you get all that…easy, fun, easy, fun…).
- Table settings or display. Adding different shapes and heights on a table makes everything more aesthetically pleasing, so think about cutting boards, cake stands and different ways to layer the food.
- Dishes. For Liliana’s tea party we had actual tea cups.
- Food. Add in fun cookies or cake pops as additional decor, like this halloween popcorn bark recipe.
Feeling, food and decor will make your party guests always wanting more. I hope you enjoyed this easy read, tag me or let me know what you learned and decide to try when you throw your next party!