First consider ambiance. Yes, this can include lighting and heat but for the most part we are talking about music. Keep music and songs geared for the crowd. It needs to be something they know. Why do people like to go to bars? Often it’s the music. People like to feel a familiarity of what’s around them. You want to provide your guests with music everyone knows and enjoys. Also, if it’s a theme/occasion-type event, provide music that is appropriate. Christmas music during the Holidays and patriotic music at a Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Veterans Day or Labor Day event is always a treat for everyone. Further, if this is a church gathering, music which is typical of the congregation would be welcome.
If you like an obscure artist or your taste is a bit eclectic, refrain from providing music your guests may not enjoy. All too often I’ve attended a party where the host has some music which is “current” according to them. When someone asks about the music, the host explains their passion for this certain artist and how they can’t get enough of them. Unless everyone attending your party enjoys the vibrations given while your artist of choice is playing, trust this writer, it’s a bad idea to push your tastes on your guests. Opera is another where, unless the majority of your guests enjoy Carmina Burana (which I for one do) or Madame Butterfly, you may come off as obsessed or a snob. So keep the music light and enjoyable for all.
Next comes the food and drink. Food should be plentiful. There’s nothing worse than running out of food. Consider if everyone is sitting down – do you have enough chairs? Do you have enough forks? If you are supplying more cocktail-type service, have toothpicks, napkins and little plates aplenty available for everyone plus extras for those who set their plate down and need a new one.
Drinks are just as important if not more so. You never want to run out of drinks. When that happens, quite often the party ends. Keep a good supply of glasses just like you would plates, forks & napkins. Much like flatware, glasses get set down and are often difficult to identify again. So be prepared to supply more wine glasses, champagnes and highballs than you think you’ll need.
Now that you have music, food and drink you are ready to pay attention to your guests. Conversation is key. You’ve invited these people. Now you need to ask questions about them. How are they? And the kids? Any new pets? How’s the job? And your parents, what are they up to? All these questions may seem trite on the surface but these are the topics which are dearest to everyone’s heart. These are readily answerable and enjoyable to extrapolate on.
One final consideration is who to invite. Guest’s temperaments are important when considering who to invite and who not to. If you are inviting neighbors, you don’t have to invite all of them – unless it’s just one who is being overlooked. What’s most important is that people who attend your party are ones who will enjoy themselves and who will appreciate being invited. Bores are expected at company parties and the occasional family gathering but you are not obligated to invite the same sad person who laments the state of the world and brings your fun party to a halt.
The key to a great party is you and the surroundings you provide for your guests. Ambiance mixed with appetizers, combined with drinks and congeniality, sprinkled with people who are delightful to be around are key aspects when throwing a bash versus a dud. For a few more tips on throwing a great party, utilze "Manners" by Kate Spade.