It’s my birthday party tonight, that I have been planning and looking forward to for a long time. I’m nervous. My husband and I threw a 30s party not quite ten years ago which flopped, although I looked pretty. My graduation party also did not go the way I wanted it to. Things I have learned:
- Offer people a drink when they arrive. That gives them a) something to do with their hands, b) social lubricant for those who need it and c) a good excuse to get out of one conversation and into another (“oh, look, my glass is empty, I’m just going to get a refill” [ghosts]).
- You need something new to happen about every half hour. That means you have to plan it and make it happen. You can’t just sit back and hope. “Something new” includes things as simple as bringing out the next course or offering hot drinks. (Tonight we will have the band perform a song or two, then call a barn dance or three, then open up the mic for guests. Rinse and repeat.)
- Icebreakers don’t have to be hideously embarrassing. Find something that’s relevant to the people coming to your party. Hiding rubber ducks all over your living room and having people count them is a fun way to get people moving around. (I’m hoping that decorating the hall with old photos of me and my twin brother will do the same this evening. The photos will be hung from balloons which will be cunningly suspended from the ceiling on fishing line so they look like helium balloons but don’t cost as much. Side note–I had to write that as an extra sentence because I couldn’t work out how to frame it without making it sound like my brother and I spent a lot of time hanging from balloons as kids, while our parents snapped pics.)
- People don’t hate party games as much as you do. Proposing a game of Pass-The-Pictionary is a GOOD IDEA.
- People don’t hate being told what to do as much as you do. Telling someone to pick up the guitar and finding them something to play that everyone can sing is a GOOD IDEA.
- People don’t love dressing up as much as you do. Telling everyone to wear silly hats or 30s style clothes won’t make up for a lack of points 1-5.
I am currently occupied in kicking myself for forgetting to get any gluten free cake options. We’d better get some fruit.