How To Throw An Epic House Party, Easy.
Updated: Jan 7
Why does one need to *learn* how to throw a house party? Isn't it enough when a bunch of friends turn up, shlep some alcohol, you lay out some chips, everyone listens to some music, and chill? While that sounds perfectly normal and happy, there are times that call for more effort than that. For an impromptu jam that sounds like a perfectly normal way to have fun. But if you're celebrating an occasion, an event or doing it for a paid-house party platform like Scoot, you need to have your A-level hosting game on.
And you, my friend, have come to the right place to learn to throw a house party like a pro. Not to brag, but I haven't been called the "hostest with the mostest" for nothing.
So let's get started. Here's my10-step guide to throwing the perfect house party.
1. First rule of house parties, PLAN. In advance. You need to start planning for a party at least a week in advance. This gives enough time for the potential attendees to align their calendars or at least purport to make sure they attend. There's no point to putting in any effort in the house party if hardly anyone turns up because of lack of enough notice window. You can send an invite a week in advance, but the actual prep for the party should be at least a day in advance. Plan the people you're going to invite, the cap of the number, the theme, if any, and most importantly plan the heck out of the F&B.
(The Food & Beverage situation, for the uninitiated.)
2. Pre-prep for some food and drinks: If you plan to have restaurant-bought food and just lay out an assortment of bottled alcohol on the table, you're okay to do it on the day of the party. But if, like me, you like to put in a bit more effort and personalization, then you're looking at some home-made food and drinks. For eg, I recently hosted a party with the theme "Sangria and Mediterranean eats" both of which required a day of pre-work. For the Sangria, I had to make the cocktail on the eve of the party and chill it in the fridge overnight. Similarly for making a Hummus dip, I had to soak the chickpeas (chole) overnight to boil it the next day. Sure you can fast-track through both on the day of the party, but it'll just take a lot more effort the next day leaving you very little time to do everything on the day. Have as little to do as you can for the day of the party as there'll be some last minute action items that you can't put off.
3. Prepare you music: Music is the lifeblood of a party. The difference between a bad, average and a great party can be the music. Unless you're blessed with a playlist that screams "party god", you need to put some pre-work into the music. Depending on the theme and the nature of attendees you need to have at least 2-3 hours of a playlist made in advance so that there's no awkward "silent" pauses during the party, and you don't go from belting out AVICII to Daler Mehendi in a span of 5 minutes.
Also arranging music also means that you have a trusty music player and speakers. If you plan to use your phone, (bad idea) drop it. You'll need your phone for taking photos, calls and texts during the party and each time that happens, the music will halt. Use a laptop or a dedicated music player like an iPod (they still exist?) or a spare phone. If you're using Bluetooth speakers, then make sure they are fully charged before the party and will be close to a charging source if required.
4. Clean up the venue!
You don't want to put in all this effort to throw a house party and make people have a good time only for them to scrunch their nose up at that scrummy toilet or pick-out year old cigarette butts from under the sofa! A clean house is the first requisite for a house party. If you're no cleaning machine, have you house-help dedicate an hour extra to get the sofas, tables, floors and every other surface dusted, mopped and swept before the people turn up. The kitchen usually resembles an earthquake site after prep for a party so ensure that the kitchen platform is cleaned up and garbage is disposed because people will enter it at some point. Do not forget the toilet. Everyone at some point will use the toilet. Here's another post on some handy tips to clean the toilet.
5. Organize plates/glasses and cutlery
Depending on the number of attendees, you can choose to go with disposable plates and cups, or use the opportunity to show off those Moroccon blue-pottery plates and beer festival mugs you've been hoarding for a while. For a small number of people, using the latter would be great as it's more visually appealing and doesn't scream "I'm an 18yr frat boy" but if you're expecting over 15-20 people then disposable mugs and plates are your best bet. Just make sure they're recyclable material, and you have a proper disposal system in place beforehand, lest you discover mould-infested plates under your sofa a year from now.
6. Keep the toilets ready
After the party area, it's the washroom that's going to be the most visited area of the party. Make sure you give your loo a thorough clean on the day of the party. Other than cleaning the toilet bowl, scrub the floors, the wash basins and the taps. Follow these tips on why cleaning the toilet is the most important aspect of good home keeping. Keep a towel or ready next to the wash basin and a doormat outside the door. To take it to the next level, have a scented candle and some potpourri around.
7. Ambience! Ambience! Ambience
Cannot overstate this enough. A house that's hosting a party has to look the part, and not like a hospital room. Get rid of the white tubelights, the sad-ass pastel printed bedsheets and clutter on the day of the party. People should feel relaxed after a long day at work, and not dive back into it. Invest in some pretty string lights, incense, fresh flowers, floating candles, solid color sheets, whatever else floats your boat while also leaving ample space for people to walk around, and places to keep their drink in. If your house looks like a great party itself, most likely you will have one.
8. Don't forget yourself!
More often that, we get so caught up in arranging the above, that we totally forget to pay any attention to us - THE host of the party. There'll be a lot of people with their eyes on you on the day, photos will be taken, shared and put up on social media. This is one time you cannot afford to look like you spent the last 2 years in jail. So go put that face pack on while you prep the food, get a steam while you boil the pasta, and fish out that lovely maxi dress you haven't been able to wear because "nowhere to go". A house party in your own house doesn't mean you don't have to dress up!
9. Engage your guests
Now that the preps are done, and you're all set to throw the most epic party, here begins the most challenging part. (Yup!)
If the party's gonna have a bunch of disparate groups or people who're strangers to each other, it's on you to ensure that everyone mingles and gets the ball rolling. Try to introduce everyone to everyone, and engage in conversation with all. Often, there's a few people at the party who don't know each other from Adam, and due to lack of adequate social skills or confidence, end up confined to a corner and nursing a glass of drink all by themselves the whole party. Spot those out, and make them a part of a group or conversation. A great thing to break the ice with strangers is to ask them about themselves. What they do, what their favourite music is, if they've "seen so & so movie or been to so & so cafe" and so on. A host is only as good as the time the guests have at the party.
10. Follow up with the attendees
Now that the party's done and it was a success, you can settle back and relax and get that much needed rest. But don't forget to follow up with the invitees. Send them a little thank you note for coming. If you feel that everyone got along well with each other and there's a potential group emerging, corral them in up in a Whatsapp group or something to take the conversation further. You have a ready audience to invite to the next one, or get invited to one yourself!
And with that, now you're a legendary party host.