PartySource: Alasdair Elmes/Unsplash

Hosting the perfect party isn't about impressing your guests, it's about making your guests feel comfortable and appreciated. You just want your guests to have a good time, right? When your guests are happy, you can truly enjoy your own party. With a little planning ahead of time, you can pull off the perfect party while maintaining your chill vibe.

Invitations

Before you get deep into the party planning, you'll want to order some invitations. Of course, you can always send an Evite, but there is nothing like an old school paper invitation to make your guests feel special. This design from Amazon is printed on 120-pound 14-point bright white matte stationery cardstock. These invitations comply with the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI). The cardstock is created from 10% post-consumer material. The envelopes, printed with your return address, are included in the price. You can personalize both the front and back and even include some photos if you like. If this style isn't your cup of tea, you can upload your own design.

Invitations

Amazon Photo Cards

Cardstock invitations

Your guests will love receiving these classy invitations in the mail.

Food

Food is an important part of any party. You can have your party catered if budget allows, but if you're going to do the cooking, the key is to make it easy on yourself. Cook and bake as much ahead of time as you can, so in the moments leading up to the party (and during the party) you're relaxing with a glass of wine, not running around with oven mitts.

Another party tip is that guests love neat finger food. As amazing as your Aunt Polly's pie is, guests don't want to slice into something and have its insides ooze all over the place. Instead, display tiny bite-sized fare attractively on a platter. Guests will be popping your treats right into their mouths, no mess, no fuss.

Recipe book

Tiny Food Party!: Bite-Size Recipes for Miniature Meals

Ultimate finger food

Available both in Kindle and paperback form, this recipe book is chock-full of amazing petite party food.

Drinks

Like the food, if you can make your drinks ahead of time, you'll have a lot more time to just enjoy your party. Rather than playing bartender all night, whip up a few batch cocktails, slap on labels explaining each beverage, put out some glasses, and you're all set for the night. It's considerate to provide fun drinks both for your imbibers and your designated drivers, so offering both cocktails and mocktails is a nice touch.

Don't get stuck behind the bar

Batch Cocktails: Make-Ahead Pitcher Drinks for Every Occasion

Drinks ready ahead of time

Making big batches of cocktails and mocktails before the party frees you from bartending all night.

Music

Before your party, put together a good-sized playlist of favorite tunes so you can just set up your music to play all night without having to give it a thought during your party. You know your guests and the types of music they like, so try and include something for everyone. Of course, you'll want a good quality speaker so everyone can hear the music. The Ultimate Ears Boom 3 is portable, so you can move it from room to room. It's also IP67 water-resistant, so in case it somehow ends up in the pool or the punch bowl (I don't know how wild your parties get!), it'll be okay. Plus, you can pair multiple Ultimate Ears speakers together for the full-house surround-sound experience. If this speaker isn't what you're looking for, we have other favorites from which to choose.

Fill your home with music

Ultimate Ears Boom 3

All-around great speaker

Use this portable Bluetooth speaker alone or pair it with other Ultimate Ears speakers and fill your home with music.

Lighting

You can really set the stage for a fun party by getting creative with your lighting. If you use HomeKit-enabled lighting, you can create the perfect scene ahead of time, just set it and forget it. Not only for parties, light panels add a cool, modern touch to your home. Watch the lights "dance" to your music. You can play with millions of colors so it never gets dull, whether you want statement lighting or ambiance lighting. The Nanoleaf starter kit comes with nine panels, but you can connect up to 30 panels in a single system. The modular design can be set up however you like it. No hub needed, it works with Amazon Echo, Google Home, Google Assistant, Siri, HomeKit, and IFTTT.

Your time to shine

Nanoleaf Light Panels Smarter Kit

Party lights all the time

Your light panels will dance to the rhythm of your music. Control Nanoleaf with HomeKit or the digital assistant of your choice.

Seating

It's worth taking the time to set up some thoughtful seating before your party. Set up some little conversational groupings, rather than just a perimeter around the room, so your guests can get to know each other. You may need some additional seating, so this is a good time to pick up some high-quality, comfortable, but reasonably-priced folding chairs. I have a four-pack of Cosco chairs myself, and they get pulled out for every party and get-together we host. I've owned them for so many years that I don't even remember buying them, but they're all still in perfect condition.

Extra seating

Cosco Vinyl Folding Chairs

Quality folding chairs

Stock up on extra seating for your party with this comfortable and convenient four-pack.

You've prepped, you've planned, you've set out the amazing food and drinks. The music is playing, the mood lighting is set, and your chairs are set up for maximum enjoyment. As your guests arrive, grab a glass of your signature beverage and get ready to enjoy your own party as much as they do.

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