I live for a good house party. All of the people you like in one place just hanging out, reconnecting, drinking, and having fun. There’s not the same hassle of getting everyone to the same bar, milling through crowds, waiting in line, and having to spend a lot of money for what may only end up being an okay night. Parties, unlike bars, you can plan. Plan them right and they can be a blast. Here are 10 tips for how to plan a house party and putting yourself on track for an awesome night everyone will remember.
1. Make a guest list
A good party really is about the people at it. It’s the most important thing about how to plan a house party! You want a fun, high energy group that can be comfortable around each other, whether just sitting around and chatting or getting super competitive with drinking games. That’s why planning out a guest list should be your first step. Figure out who you want and need to come for the party to be perfect. Pinpoint those people who will talk to anyone or always get games started. Make sure anyone you invite will know someone else beside you at the party, so they don’t have to stand around awkwardly. The great thing about house parties with games is that you really can invite anyone because once the games get started everyone will get to know each other quickly.
2. Choose a night
Once you know who you really need in order to have a good crowd, then you can decide on when the party should be. Typically you want a Friday or Saturday night so everyone can come without worrying about work or school obligations, but that can of course vary depending on what fits your crowd. Of course, no day is going to work for everyone you want to be there, so the best course of action is to speak privately with those you really think the party needs to #thrive and then figure out which day suits the most of them the best. After that you can survey the rest of your friends to see which day the most people can make it to.
3. Set a budget
Parties can get expensive, especially if you’re covering food, drinks, and decorations all by yourself. It’t not as fun as some of the other things you have to think of when you’re working on how to plan a house party, but it’s hella necessary. Before you start buying, decide ahead of time how much you’re willing to spend because, if not, things can quickly get out of hand. Team up with friends to throw the party so you don’t have the entire spending amount weighing down on just you. Grab three friends willing to throw in 20 bucks each and you’ll have a super reasonable party budget.
4. Choose a theme and decorations
I love party themes because I will happily admit that when it comes to parties I am extra AF. I just think it’s really fun to plan and decorate. You can have cool cocktails and fun banners or signs perfect for every Instagram and a cool party atmosphere. If you’re extra like me, then you’ll have to pick a theme for your party. Themes are fun ’cause you can make people dress up in fun outfits different than their typical party wear. Make it an America party for 4th of July and have everything be red, white, and blue. Gather your girls together for a GNO and make the pinkest, most delicious cocktails you can find. There are too many good party themes to choose from, but once you’ve got one set, you can decide on which decoration will fit the vibe. Since decorations can become expensive and time-consuming, pick a few big pieces that can take up most of the party for cheap. Sometimes a banner, some streamers, and some helium-filled balloons are all you need to amp up a space.
5. Decide on drink options
Another huge thing for how to plan a house party is deciding on how to do drinks is all up to you and the kind of party you want to have. You can make it totally BYOB. You can buy a couple of cases of cheap bear. Whatever suits your crowd. That being said, if you want a super fun and impressive house party, you’ll definitely need some kind of cool drink option prepared. Huge amounts of PJ are pretty easy to make on the cheap or you can class it up with some pretty cocktails. Whatever you choose, I definitely still recommend encouraging your guests to BYOB. Because no matter how much you make, you will always run out, and you don’t want the party to end just because the alcohol does. It’s also not a bad idea to ask your guests to pay a few bucks for drinking the alcohol provided. It’s a reasonable request and will enable you to have more fun options at the party.
6. Figure out food
Parties don’t have to have food. It’s another thing you get to choose when you’re working out how to plan a house party. Really most house parties don’t bother. It’s another time hassle and monetary expense you might just not want to deal with. However, people who are drinking often do better when there’s food around. Potluck style parties are a great option. Everyone can bring some food as their contribution and you’ll end up with lots for guests to snack on. Or you can just buy a few bags of chips for cheap that should help people survive through the night.
7. Pick the right location
You’re probably thinking, this is a house party. Why would I need to decide on a location? I’m going to have it at my house. And yeah, that’s the ideal situation, but not all houses are going to be the right option for a party. You’ve really got to consider your neighbors and your location. Every party gets noisy. It’s inevitable. If you spend all night worrying about people being too loud and trying to get them to be quieter, you’ll ruin your own fun and probably that of others. You’ll want to make sure this won’t be a problem in advance.
If you live in a quieter area with older neighbors, maybe pick somewhere else where you’re surrounded by students or people who won’t be so sensitive to noise. You can also talk to your neighbors in advance to let them know what’s going on and make sure they won’t have any problems. The last thing you want is the cops knocking at the door, having received a noise complaint, or even to just spend all night worried about that happening. Extra points of location to consider are parking and proximity. You’ll do better if your place isn’t too far away from where others live so they can walk or Uber easily. If they have to drive, you’ll need plenty of parking possibilities available.
8. Make a playlist
This step is pretty important when you’re figuring out how to plan a house party, but totally fun. You’ll need the right music pre-chosen to fit your vibe and fit your crowd. Typically you’ll do well to have a nice balance of current hits, classic oldies, and jamming throwbacks. Fill it up with songs people can sing along and dance to, or if you want your party to be more conversation-oriented, fun songs that can easily play in the background. For a fully developed playlist, ask your friends and guests to contribute suggestions. Good music really helps amp up the fun vibes. Beer is great on its own, but pair it with everybody singing along to “All Star” or “All the Small Things” and that’s a good party.
9. Set up games
Games are the last thing you need to take into consideration once you’ve got everything set up. All you really need to do is make sure you have all the materials ready for whatever game you might want to play. Plastic cups, ping pong balls, and a deck of cards should fulfill most of your needs, but deciding what you might want to play in advance will help make sure you’ve got everything covered. If you don’t know what games to play or you’re bored with the same old same old, do some research for other fun drinking games out there you haven’t tried before and get everything you need to have the group test them out.
You can think about how to plan a house party as much as you want, but in the end once people arrive, things will largely be out of your control. People aren’t necessarily going to do what you want. Things are going to go exactly how you envisioned them. Drinks will spill. The beer may run out. Your friends could get tired. When these things happen, it’s time to throw your party planning persona out the window because there’s nothing you can do. As much as you planned, in the end you have to go with the flow or you’ll end up ruining your own time trying to get people to do things they don’t want to do. Just relax and enjoy the party, however it turns out.
That’s all house parties really take: some friends, some money, some planning, and a house. After that, they can be as simple or as extravagant as you prefer. Set a theme, make people dress up, buy and cook food, or go the other route, where all you have to do is buy a case of beer and tell everyone to come over. Either way, you’ll have a blast.