The Goods

It's all in the details: How to throw a successful soirée

From setup to snacks, and playlists to pinatas — the perfect party just takes a little planning

From setup to snacks, and playlists to pinatas — the perfect party just takes a little planning

(Credit: iStock/Getty Images)

It's our birthday here at The Goods and we love a good party. But let's face it, birthday or not, hosting a soirée can be a bit of a tall task because there's so much to organize. There's the food, the fun and of course, the playlist to prep in the hopes of keeping your guests entertained. If it all sounds a little overwhelming, fear not — to help you sort out where to direct your planning efforts, here are the must-have elements that will allow you to host the ultimate bash.

A quality invite

The party actually starts weeks before with the invite. Set the tone with an invitation that communicates the vibe of your party. Have an elegant and understated classy invitation for a fancy party, or a quirky invite for a lighthearted and fun occasion.   

The invite will also communicate the dress code for your guests. It does not have to be explicitly printed, but the look of the invite will inform what your guests will wear. It should also clearly communicate where and when your party is happening. Add a fun little tagline for an extra touch that helps build positive expectations.

The first five minutes are the most memorable

First impressions are everything and your party is being judged as soon as people begin to arrive. Plant yourself very close to the door so you can offer a warm welcome and take their coats. If not, you can also have a clear welcome area with a personal touch and obvious space for guests to put their outerwear. Try kicking things off right with a party starter such as fancy welcome cocktails.

The highs or the lows are what everyone will remember

This may seem odd, but your party should have a few great moments that will serve as highlights long after the party ends. The best ways to make the night memorable for a good reason is with great music that changes throughout the evening.

Also, be an attentive host — don't let people's drinks run dry, and make sure that you have enough food for everyone. Be a connector, and help introduce your guests, with phrases like "Hey! Have you met ___? I would love to introduce you!"

Set a table worth talking about

When it comes to party food, you want the table to be a conversation starter. Anything goes. The idea here is that you can pull on any number of household items to build height and layers. Start with the tallest pieces at the back and layer forward. If a dining table is pushed up against the wall and near an outlet, run lights throughout the different decor elements to make accessories sparkle. Pushing the table against the wall can also allow you to more fully stock the surface and start with taller decorative layers at the back. And try tacking on a cheeky detail to tease your guests, such as using an inexpensive (unused) garbage pail or other fun bowls to serve popcorn.

Make sure the food is mobile

Appetizers should be simple to move around with, so guests can mingle. We suggest using tins as food vessels. These fun labels add a charming touch to the meal. You can download them here.

Make the last 5 minutes memorable

The recency effect is a psychological phenomenon where we tend to remember the final experience more than any other over the course of the evening, so how people leave and what happens when they leave the party is the last thing that sticks with them. So make the goodbye as warm as your welcome! Try revealing a surprise in the final minutes, such as bringing out a decadent dessert or a fun game like a DIY piñata.

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