Right out of the gate, I’m going to say that I’m not a professional party planner. In fact, not even close. So not close that I have to say that this was the 1st party that I’d ever planned. You’re probably wondering, “Why should I be reading some blog post by someone who’s only planned one party in her life?” Well, I believe that you can learn a lot from people who are curious about a certain topic and are in the learning stages. You can obtain a wealth of information from those who are passionate and honest about their experiences. I’m writing this post to inspire others to plan a winter themed party, but also to give them tips and tricks on mistakes to avoid. Because we wouldn’t be human if we didn’t make mistakes, right? So here’s how to plan a New Years/Winter Party!
This past semester, I was an intern for an art organization that provides after-school, vacation, and summer opportunities for teens to explore the artistic areas of theater, dance, music, and the fine arts. I recognized a need for there to be more in between activities since the art organization that I interned for focuses on building a community and not just the programs. Therefore, I decided to plan a New Years Party. Mind you that this was for teen girls, so there was no alcohol involved. However, I think that learning how to plan fun non-alcohol parties are just as important, especially if you yourself are non-drinker . This party was a success and I learned through this experience on what makes a successful party and what doesn’t.
Decoration Tips: First pick out a theme for your party to make sure that all of the decorations coordinate together. Mine was easy; New Years/Winter Themed. So I went with a lot of white and sparkly/shimmery things. It is however, important to balance out the whiteness of the decor. I chose purple since that was the organization’s signature color. If I had to go back and do it all over again, I would have picked out more purple decorations to keep a party homeostasis :).
The best place to shop for decorations if you’re on a tight budget is the Dollar Store. Everything there is literally $1 if you can believe that! I thought it was some sort of advertising joke-ism, but nope, it’s all $1. I got almost all of the decorations needed there for $24 dollars. Needless to say, I was proud of myself.
Food Tips: Most people do not have tons of time to cook everything. Therefore, make it a potluck. Everyone will feel like they are contributing and it is always fun to try other people’s food ;P. The only thing I might have changed in this area is to not of been as vague on what to bring. In the invitation I was all like, “Bring a main dish, a side, a dessert, whatever suits your fancy”. However, the problem was that almost everyone brought desserts. While it certainly wasn’t a food disaster, having glazed amaretto apricot carrots as the main meal attraction is not what I’d exactly call a potluck dinner. I’m honestly still not sure how to solve this problem. Do you ask people what they’re bringing ahead of time and limit the amount of people who can bring desserts? I don’t know, I don’t want to sound like a food dictator. Readers, how would you solve this problem? Suggestions are welcome!
New Years Related Activity Tips: An awesome activity to ring in the New Year is for people to write down predictions for the upcoming year. This can be about themselves, the people they know, or the world in general. Then, people put them in a hat and then they are pulled out and read off to the crowd. This activity was extremely sentimental/humorous and I’d highly recommend it as a New Years Activity.
Party Activities That Can Be Done Anytime, Anywhere Tips: Since this was an art organization and a lot of the girls that attended did theater, I thought we’d play one of my favorite improv games, Park Bench. Mind you, nobody needs ANY theater experience at all to play, just a desire to be extremely silly and goofy. Basically, all you need are two chairs and one person is the ‘straight man’ and the other person is trying to be so annoying that they get them off the bench. The way to do this is to get the other person to laugh. The audience also can become involved by giving the players a situation. Some that we had was “an angry customer at a grocery store, a Mom trying to get her angsty teen out of her room, etc.” It was a huge hit and everybody had an awesome time.
Photo Booth: This activity was a huge hit at the party. Put up a black background with a decorative garland and set up funny props that people can use in photos with their friends. The results were HYSTERICAL and people loved seeing them on the organization’s Facebook page afterwards. Unfortunately, I cannot post the photos as an example to protect the privacy of the girls, but watch this video by Bethany Mota to get an idea. However, to save time, I would suggest a plain long black table cloth and just using the garland and props as decoration.
I also highly suggest planning a raffle. We picked out a few inexpensive items and gave everyone tickets. Everyone thought that the raffle was an exciting addition to the party and the people who won were very pleased with their prizes.
Hope you all enjoyed my “non-expert” advice on how to plan a party. Be sure to comment below any questions you might have or other suggestions on how to plan an awesome New Year’s/Winter Party!