Have you had high expectations for a party, only to discover it was just another boring get-together? Me too. And we certainly don’t want to throw that party ourselves. Here are some practical suggestions on how to make a party more fun.
Why are you throwing this party?
- are you introducing new people to your group of friends?
- is it a milestone that requires an over-the-moon party?
- are you having a party just to add a little fun?
- is it a casual dinner party focused on great conversation?
- are you celebrating an accomplishment?
Knowing the type of party you need is the foundation to other decisions. Then you can make your party more fun by adding a theme. This will make it easier for you decide on decorations, food, entertainment and other elements.
- the theme can be as broad as chic versus casual
- it can also be as specific as any party theme such as zombie, the 90s, or your favorite movie
How to stir up anticipation for your party.
- Send your guests a an invitation that excites like gift invitation (an object, a toy, ornament, cookie or candy that goes along with the theme of your party) or an invitation that appeals to the senses.
- Use social media to keep them “updated” and excited.
- Create your own hashtag such as “#JanesAwesomeBirthdayParty”
- Create a Facebook Event
- Post a countdown sticker on Instagram
- Create augmented reality (AR) camera effects (like puppy ears or unicorn horn) that reflect your party theme for everyone to use on their avatars with the free Spark Studio
- Interview the birthday boy/girl or guest of honor and post the video of their excitement
- Post teaser photos that hint at the party theme and as your prepare
- Post a theme song video on your event page
Make guests feel like they’re part of it all.
One of the secrets of the community spirit at Burning Man is that they are all required to bring something to give to others while they’re there like food, apparel, necklaces, whatever they want. They are in a unique place with thousands of strangers there for the same reason, and they are encouraged to share and participate with others they don’t know.
How much more effective is that principle with a group of people who know and care about each other!
Ask guests to participate in your party theme in some way so they all feel connected.
- Costumes are great way to make them feel connected and gives them something to talk about when they first greet each other.
- Asking them to make a donation to a charity related to your party theme – or your favorite – makes them feel a part of something before they even arrive. (Cookies for Kids Cancer at a cookie exchange.)
- Make the food a bake-off. If you’re having a chili bar party, ask everyone to bring their best chili recipe. Offer a prize to the winner. If any one doesn’t want to participate, they can bring their favorite topping or nacho chips. Then proceed with the rest of the party as you planned with entertainment, etc.
- Ask guests to bring a decoration. Have a tree set at the front door suitable to the calendar holiday (easter, christmas, thanksgiving) and ask them to bring a decoration to put on the tree. When you have the party next year, use the decorations again.
- Guests can bring props to use for photo booth pictures that go with the party theme. Set up a background with a wall of tinsel, a mural, balloons or a banner and a container for the props. Have a friend available to take the photo with their phone for them. When they go home, they take the prop with them. (Make sure they know this for the best props.) Put a sign with your party hashtag there too for sharing on social media!
Make your party more fun from the moment the guests arrive.
Yes, we said the invitation was the first impression, but maybe it was more a “sneak preview” of the party. The real first impression is when the guests arrive at your place or the party venue.
In fact, it’s been proven that their first impression as they come in the door is one of the things they’ll remember most about the party. What impression do you want to make? What do you want them to remember?
Getting there easily
Don’t assume that they know how to get there. You don’t want them arriving all stressed out because they got lost. Post a Google map on your Facebook Event page or email directions – or both. If you live an apartment where they need specific instructions in order to get inside, make sure you tell everyone so they feel comfortable when they arrive.
Our party printable packages include a lawn sign because we believe that it serves double duty of letting everyone know “yes, this is the place” and pumping up the excitement. If you have enough money in your party budget, add themed outdoor decorations and standees too.
Making them comfortable
When they arrive it’s important for them know right away whether they should take their shoes off or leave them on, and where to put their coats. Confusion and awkwardness is not the way to begin a great party. Another sign easily solves this problem, or delegate door duty to someone so you can greet everyone and have a short conversation.
And while we’re talking about knowing where everything is, make sure guests know where the bathroom is as well. Yes, another sign or two solves this problem too. (Our party printable packages usually includes a theme sign.)
Make sure there’s plenty of places for everyone to sit so they can mingle easily. No one wants to stand for 3 hours or wonder where they should be seated when they have a beverage and appetizer. Set up cozy little groupings that encourage small talk. Put the tables of food and beverage bar away from each other and the seating area to encourage mingling and discourage people talking where others want to grab a bite.
If there are people on a special diet, have signs that let them know if something is gluten-free, nut-free or vegan. In fact, also tell them you will have dishes and desserts that they will enjoy when you give them their invitation. It makes everything easier for them.
Excitement from the doorstep on
Create an exciting atmosphere from the moment they step in the door.
- Use a scent that goes along with your theme: pine scent for Christmas, sea breeze for a beach party, cookie dough for a baking party, baby powder for a baby shower, etc.
- Play that song that you posted on your event page and other music that is connected to the party theme.
- Decorate the entry way. (One fun & easy way is to fill a small entrance with helium-filled balloons hugging the ceiling with looong ribbons hanging down almost to the floor so guests have to make their way through them.)
- If the guests don’t know each other, give them name tags. There’s nothing worse than trying to remember someone’s name. Moments of awkwardness are the opposite of fun.
It’s a good idea to have something fun to do while guests wait for everyone to arrive. If people are bored before a party gets started, it’s hard to pump them back up again.
It’s been proven that how excited they are and their first impression as they come in the door is one of the things they’ll remember most about the party.
- Have a photo booth with props that match your party theme. Encourage everyone to post their pics on your Event page and social media with your party hashtag.
- A self-serve beverage bar gives them something to do and discuss. Have a hot chocolate bar in the winter with every topping imaginable or a margarita bar in the summer, etc.
- Include appetizers, too, because you don’t want “hangry” guests.
Everyone’s here so how do I make sure we’re all having fun?
The way to make a party more fun is to give them fun things to do! This might seem obvious, but how many parties have you been to where the host relied on sparkling conversation to make it memorable? How many times did that go well?
Choose several “fun things” a group can do in just a few minutes to get everyone focused together.
- a funny short YouTube video connected to your party theme
- a moving-around game
- a thinking game
- a meaningful moment like writing gratitude notes on leaf shapes and hanging them on a tree at Thanksgiving
If you choose one long thing to do, you’re going to lose some people’s interest. Some people loves games, others do not. Some people love trivia, others sit with their eyes glazed over. The best way to please the crowd is to have several short spurts of different kind of fun between times of conversation.
In fact, if you make a “fun thing” a way to make them move around and mingle with different people in a non-threatening way, you’re ahead of the game. Make it even easier by giving them a topic to share a funny story, or a conversation starter sentence after they’ve moved around.
If you have the “fun thing” happening in one area with a separate area for those who wish to bow out to sit and talk, everyone is happy. And maybe the “haters” won’t leave early because they have their own space and know that it’s only for a short time. In fact, when you announce the fun thing, allow those who don’t want to participate the choice to fill their cups at the hot chocolate bar (or whatever) instead.
Make one of the “fun things” an amazing dessert that wows the crowd with it’s appearance and flavor. Do you have to make it yourself? No!
One last hurrah.
In the same way guests remember their first impressions, they remember the last thing they did before they left. This is when you pull out all the stops and serve up a peak moment. No, you don’t have to juggle. It can as simple as serving an impressive dessert in an impressive way.
Think about the guests, their interests and dreams. What would be fun for them? What would make them oooh and awwww. Think of something that’s a little different from the usual that will grab their attention.
Adults love grab bags of goodies as they go out the door as much as kids do. And if you announce at the beginning of the evening that you have some awesome swag bags to hand out when it’s over, more people will stay until the end. I guarantee it. (Especially if you’ve earned a reputation for your giveaways.) Make the treats & gifts go along with your party theme too.
So? How do you make a party more fun? By having fun yourself while you pull it all together. By having fun interacting with your guests. If you think about it, the thing that makes a party fun is the interaction & atmosphere. Keep that your focus and your party will be totally memorable.
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- Are you the one with the big ideas? “Let’s do this” or “Let’s go there”.
- Are you the instigator that everyone follows to the next fun thing?
- Are you the creative type who adds flair to everything you do?
- Do you believe in celebrating life?
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