1. Set your budget. This will help you when determining how many people to invite and what your party options are. Figure about 60 percent for drinks, 30 percent for food and 10 percent for decor.
2. Save money on your invites. Email or phone invites are your cheapest options, but can be lackluster. Save a stamp by including your New Year's Party invite in with your holiday cards.
3. Keep everything cohesive by choosing a theme. We have 15 different New Year's Party themes, from Western to Aliens! You can also go with a more subtle theme such as a color. Metallic colors are always fun, but we also love a white New Year's Eve theme party.
4. Make special plans for the kids. If your party will include children, make sure you have food appropriate for them as well as activities planned to keep them entertained. A quiet area where they can go to rest is always a smart idea for those who cannot make it until midnight. You can even arrange to let them have their own separate sleepover party and hire a babysitter to mind them for the night.
5. Save money by not serving dinner. Since a New Year's party will start later, guests will not expect a full meal. A variety of hors d'oeuvres is the best way to go. A dessert buffet and drinks is another great option.
6. Don't forget to have extra .... ice and food. Be prepared for the unexpected guests or extra-hungry, super-thirsty crowd. Add a couple of bags of quality chips, extra crackers and cheese, and even an extra roll of cookie dough. Make sure these items are something you will eat if you don't break them out for the party. Ice you may have to take a loss on, but it is better than having to little.
7. ... but don't overspend on the booze. Do the math and save on your drink budget. Guests will usually have 2 drinks in the first hour, and one drink each hour after that. Many places will allow you to return unopened alcohol, so you can overbuy and return the excess if you worry about running out.
8. Rent. Local rental companies are a great source for glassware, linens, flatware and more. I find this to be a great alternative to purchasing (and then storing) all of the extra items for entertaining.
9. Create a great soundtrack. Depending on your theme or personal tastes, you may have different ideas for music. Time is always a great theme for a New Year's playlist. Here are a few fun songs to get you started -
- The Times They Are A-Changing - Bob Dylan
- Turn, Turn, Turn (To Everything There is a Season) - The Byrds
- I Wanna Go Back - Eddie Money
- Reelin' In the Years - Steely Dan
- Rock Around the Clock - Bill Haley and His Comets
- Yesterday - The Beatles
10. Don't forget to have fun! Try to prepare food ahead of time and set up a self serve drink bar to cut down on the work you need to do throughout the party. That way you can have to time see your guests and be a good host or hostess! If you are planning on having more that 50 people, enlist a few close friends to lend a hand throughout the night. My parties always go more smoothly when I know I have a someone to back me up (and put out more dip).