How to throw a party with basically zero effort

6 Feb

Growing up, my parents never really hosted people. I can probably count on one hand the number of times non-related adults came to our house for a social reason. My brothers and I had friends over, but they never did. Somehow, though, I grew up into the kind of person that absolutely loves throwing parties, which I now do about once a month.

Maybe it’s the recent-college-grad in me, but I find throwing a party to be super, super easy. And fun. And I think everyone should do it, although maybe not quite as often as I feel the need to!

Guest list: Basically everyone I know in town. This doesn’t include people like my coworkers or former professors, but basically everyone. My parties in Minneapolis were generally an odd mix of swing dancers, my roommate’s church friends, math PhD candidates, their friends, and other people I collected. I always tell people they’re welcome to bring friends of theirs, and have actually met some cool people just because they’ve shown up in my apartment. Plus, throwing parties so often makes it a great way to turn acquaintances into friends: it’s easy to end a conversation with, “Oh, I’m having some friends over on Saturday, you should come!”

I overheard one of my friends telling someone else, “Lauren’s parties are the best, I always meet someone I didn’t know.” It can be really hard to make new friends, so people appreciate being introduced to people that are already vetted by their friends. Just make sure to actually make introductions so people don’t feel uncomfortable!

I invite people on Facebook, and usually send out a reminder text a day or two before to a few friends. Most folks are terrible about RSVPing, so I can invite 30 people and have anywhere from 3 to 30 actually show up. Don’t worry about it (just have one or two good friends that you’re positive will show so you don’t end up by yourself).

Décor: Umm, nothing. People make their lives so much harder by thinking their parties need to have a theme and they need to decorate for it. I promise, no one cares. In fact, no one wants the extra pressure of having a “themed” outfit. Just clean up your place. I do, however, usually move my furniture around to be more conducive to conversation and set up a snacks-and-drinks station on a wall by the door.

Snacks and drinks: This is where parties get stressful and expensive, and often is what stops people from hosting. I usually have some wine and beer available (you don’t want people drinking liquor anyways, that’s bad news bears), pop some popcorn, and maybe throw out some cheese and crackers if I’m feeling fancy. More importantly, just tell people to bring something. Straight up, when you invite them: “please bring a snack or beverage to share!” This way, you don’t end up with way too much or way too little to serve everyone, since the food quantity magically matches the number of people who show up and you get more variety.

Activities: Don’t worry about it. (Most of my party-hosting advice can be boiled down to: chill out). If you have some games, those can be fun, although I’ve found Cards Against Humanity, while fun, to be a bit of a party-killer (it goes on forever and people can’t extricate themselves from the game without leaving entirely). Good things are games that are relatively short and let some people play while conversation continues to occur: Jenga is good for this. Connect Four probably would be too. Last weekend, I had four guests start up a game of Settlers of Catan. At some point, I want to play pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, but that actually involves set-up effort.

Music: The internet! Just pull up a station on Pandora, or Spotify, or whatever internet-radio you use. It’s a lot less stressful than making a playlist. Don’t make the mistake of not having music on though, it’s surprisingly awkward.

Bam, there you have it. A super fun party that takes almost no work on your part. Except for washing dishes the next day, that part sucks.

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4 Responses to “How to throw a party with basically zero effort”

  1. Tickled Pink February 10, 2015 at 11:42 pm #

    I’m the same way – love throwing parties! I love your stress free and laid back approach to it – I bet your guests will feel relaxed and welcome. I especially like your tip on guests, because for many people, meeting new friends CAN be difficult. Your parties seem like the perfect place to make new aquaintances:)

  2. autumnkovachak February 6, 2015 at 12:25 pm #

    Yes, yes, yes! I adore throwing parties for all of those reasons. I’m dying to live in a place where I can do that again. It’s so serendipitous seeing all your friends meet each other. It takes some tracking down to get people to respond and come but it’s so worth it. I know I appreciate a little reminder a day or so before an event. It actually makes me feel like my attendance is personally requested rather than a random addition on a FB list. Keep it up!

    • laurenkcampbell February 6, 2015 at 1:23 pm #

      When you live in a gigantic Manhattan penthouse you’ll throw the best parties 🙂

      Speaking of which, there’s this HGTV show (it’s on Netflix) called Selling New York and they’re selling these multi-million-dollar apartments. It’s ridiculous.

      • autumnkovachak February 6, 2015 at 2:21 pm #

        Haha! I’ll be a Ms. Gatsby. 🙂

        Oh, I will have to watch! I’m sure it’s crazy!

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