There are always two ways to look at a party: from the guests’ perspective and from the host’s point of view. Between the two, the host generally gets the shorter end of the stick. While the guests are relaxed and laid back, the host is fumbling all over to get things done. Preparing to host a party can be overwhelming. There are so many errands to run in so little time. It’s easy to get caught up in the details and just break down before you accomplish anything. But of course, you should remember that a party is simply a celebration. Cut yourself some slack. Unless you’re expecting the queen of England, you’ll be okay for the most part. Still, you need to do some preparations to make the party a memorable experience for your friends and acquaintances. If you’re living in a condo, check out these party hacks, and start prepping for the raddest party of your life.
1. Help wanted: Martyrs don’t make great hosts
How do you do a quick preparation for parties? It’s easy—ask for help. You don’t have to do all the work. As Jorj Morgan, author of a book about hospitality, said, “If something takes a little bit longer in the kitchen than you planned, pull in two of your buddies and get them involved. People love to help.” One of the best things about condo living in the Philippines is the strong sense of community. When you need assistance in preparing your place for a huge party, you can call a close friend who lives just on the other side of the wall. Let him or her help you cook big meals and tidy the place up. But if you really don’t have that much time to prepare big meals, just turn the party into a potluck. Set up an online potluck planner and let your guests pitch in. That way, you can be sure that there’s at least one dish on the table that everyone can enjoy. Just make sure to prepare the main course yourself. After cooking, you can remove the residual whiffs in the air by boiling a mix of vinegar and water.
2. A place for everything: Because clutter is a bummer
Assign a place for your guests’ belongings to maximize condo space and avoid clutter. If you have a shoe rack, empty it of your belongings and label it with your guests’ names so they’ll know where to put their shoes. Of course, this will only work if you have a limited number of guests. If your floors are not carpeted, provide extra slippers so your guests will still be comfortable. As for coats and purses, you can designate a room where your guests can leave their belongings while the party is on. This would be convenient for everyone. Your guests wouldn’t have to bring their belongings every time they leave their station, and your condo won’t be a tumble of bags and shoes all night.
3. Set the mood: Good vibes make a good party
The atmosphere in your condo will play a big role in the success of your party. Here are some of the most important factors you should consider to transform your condo into the best party venue.
Music has always been and will always be a big part of every kind of celebration. It drowns awkward silences, pumps people up, and fills every room with the party vibe. Make sure you have your playlist ready before your first guest arrives. But if you don’t have available speakers at that time, you can improvised by placing two plastic cups at each end of a paper towel tube, and then cut an opening in the middle of the tube depending on the size of your smartphone.
One of the common mistakes that hosts make is not covering the strong scents in the party venue before the guests roll in. While the smell of garlic is appetizing when you’re ready to eat, it’s not a pleasant scent to welcome you in a party. Have a scented candle burning in your place about half an hour before you open your doors. If you have an air freshener, spray it in every room where you expect your guests to be. Or if you’re out of air fresheners and scented candles, you can try to simmer two glasses of water with one sliced lemon and one teaspoon of vanilla.
The temperature inside your condo will rise quickly as guests flood in. It’s always best to lower your thermostat before the venue becomes crowded with people. Don’t let party guests soak with sweat.
Setting the lights to just a comfortable glow not only sets the mood for a party—it also hides dust that would be starkly apparent under bright lights. Depending on the type of party you’re having, you can also add fancy candles or fairy lights as a nice touch.
Decorating small condo spaces is easier than adorning an entire house so you surely have the upper hand here. With a simple garland of flowers over your dining room table, you can communicate a welcoming atmosphere to your guests.
4.One less container: Save time, money, and the environment
Don’t open that cabinet full of silverware and cutleries just yet. With simple tweaks on food preparation, you can reduce afterparty trash and dirty dishes. For instance, instead of using bowls for fruit salads, why not use ice cream cones? They’re edible, presentable, and don’t leave any mess. You don’t even have to use spoons or forks to scoop out the fruits! But if you think you’re too mature for the fun cones, try using cardboard berry boxes instead. Line them with parchment paper so the dressings won’t seep right through the box. This is an eco-friendly way to use disposable containers for your party. As for condiments, serve them in muffin tins instead of individual bowls. You’ll save space by doing so. And the ultimate party hack? Labeled cups. Whether you’re using mason jars, dixie cups or the regular plastic cups, it’s a clever idea to encourage your guests to label their own container so they will only use one throughout the party.
5. Finger foodie: There’s fun in simplicity
Even if you don’t have the luxury of time to prepare big meals, you can still save your celebration with great DIY party hacks. We’re talking about a burger bar. Prepare the patties, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, onions, and other ingredients beforehand, then set up a table where guests can create their own personalized burgers. You can adopt this same idea with a taco bar, a burrito bar or even a s’mores bar! The possibilities are endless if you think outside the box.
There are many easy recipes that you can make directly from your pantry. If you’re hosting a summer party and you expect your guests to move around, serve food on skewers. You can do more activities if you eat off of a stick instead of a plate with spoons and forks. A snack-size bag of chips is also great for this purpose. Make “portable tacos” by crushing bags of Doritos or Fritos and handing them out to guests. Set up a table for taco ingredients like ground beef, shredded lettuce, shredded cheese, diced tomatoes, sliced jalapeños, taco sauce, and sour cream. Your guests can just toss up their favorite toppings over the crushed chips and eat their tacos with a fork.
6. Clean and classy: Ward off the party crashers
Salads in glass jars? Who would’ve thought one of the chicest party hacks for the best time ever would involve an idea as simple as this? It makes a lot of sense to put fruit and garden salads in tall, glass jars to keep creepy crawlies and flying insects away. But what if those bugs target the drinks next? There’s one easy solution for that: putting cupcake liners over glass bottles. Try it—you’ll keep bugs away and make food presentation a bit more fun.
7.Drinks galore: Hacks to keep beverages cool
If you’re just like every other party host who underestimated the demand of ice in a party, here are some hacks for you to try out.
- Frozen fruit chillers
Serve wine with chilled strawberries, blueberries, raspberries or lemon wedges. These chilled fruits will not only keep your drinks cool—they will also add more flavor and color to them. They’ll be a refreshing addition to your beverages.
- Water balloon coolers
If you have extra balloons at hand and no ice packs, you can freeze up water balloons as ice alternatives. This is a creative way to add more flair to your party.
- Chilled shot glasses
Why bother buying an extra pack of ice when you can just chill shot glasses to keep the drinks cool? You can even customize the color of the glasses by using colored drinks like Gatorade and fruit juices instead of water.
- Washing machine cooler
Don’t have enough storage space for ice cubes? Why not fill the washer with ice cubes, then leave bottled drinks to chill there? This is a very practical hack since you can just drain the washing machine once the ice cubes have melted.
- Paper wrap chillers
If you need to cool a few bottles quickly, wrap them in wet paper towels and stick them in the freezer. They’ll be ready in 15 minutes or less.
8. Bye-bye mosquitoes: The wonders of citronella candles
Citronella candles are indispensable in summer parties because they can set a good lighting ambiance and ward off mosquitoes at the same time. In mason jars, combine small pieces of timely herbs and spices like mint, lemon, rosemary, cinnamon, lime, lavender, and orange. Place a floating candle in each jar, then add 20 to 30 drops of citronella essential oil. Top it with hot water to create a warm scent. These candles will draw the guests in and keep mosquitoes and other bugs out.
9. Bins and baskets: Trash kills the party vibe
If you know how to host a party in a small condo, you’d provide bins for the trash before the feast begins. If you’re using disposable plates and cups, trash bins are a necessity. But if you’re serving food using your own silverware, then you should ready a clean basket where guests can stack their used plates and utensils. Keep the sink clear of dirty dishes lest someone needs it later on.
10. Stay connected: Party the 21st century way
The nature of parties has changed over the last decade. Today, social media and the Web at large play a huge role on how people enjoy celebrations. Some of your guests will use Instagram and Twitter to tell their followers about your party. You may even use Web-based services like Spotify and Pandora to stream music. If you’re inviting your friends over for a slumber party, you can download movies from the Internet or stream videos online. The Internet has undeniably changed the way gatherings are fashioned. But what if on the day of your party, the universe conspired against you and sent you a cruel joke in the form of slow Internet? Don’t fret just yet. You can try out a few things to establish better connection. First, try repositioning your router. It may be having problems detecting a signal. If this doesn’t work, try moving your router away from appliances that may interfere with the connection. If this is still no good, you have one final resort: create a homemade Wi-Fi extender. Basically, the idea here is to create a parabolic surface that can collect errant wireless signals. You can use a soda can, a cooking strainer, or a few sheets of tinfoil for this purpose.
Throwing a party shouldn’t be as daunting as it seems. Don’t stress yourself too much. As hospitality book author Patricia Mendez advises, “Two hours before guests arrive, take time to get dressed and get yourself ready. Turn on the music, light candles.” When guests start pouring in, smile and get ready to have fun. No one expects you to be a perfect host so just relax and have a good time.