Sometimes when we start to organise a party, all the grand amazing ideas come into our heads and it’s easy to get carried away. Pinterest is great for helping us get carried away. Theme parties can seem amazing, especially when well executed, but they take A LOT of work and can end up being really stressful for the host. If you’d rather a lighthearted but fun low key party, then read on. I have some great ideas for you!
Start with a plan
You’re probably thinking “But you said ‘low key’. How is planning low key?”. Stick with me. Planning helps you keep from going overboard and can ensure that you have time to enjoy the party and not just panic about things going right on the day. Start by writing down what you’d like the party to look and feel like. Will it be indoor or outdoor? Who will your guests be? Is it for the kids? Sit down meal or buffet/barbeque? Start with the basics.
If you feel you’re terrible at that and are already going overboard, write your overboard list and rein it in. Sometimes I like to allow all my wild ideas to be written down so I can modify them or cross them off my list. It helps me see what I think is a “must have” and what is a “nice to have but not really necessary”. There’s nothing wrong with going large if you really want to, but to keep it low key, we need to pair it back.
Think food & drink
Food is a big part of many parties. Whether it be a traditional sit down meal, a buffet/barbeque style meal, or even just party snacks. They need to be thought of in advance. This is where remembering that you want low key is really necessary. Food can start to feel stressful really early on and can continue right through the party if you feel like you have to be preparing or cooking whilst also hosting.
Try to choose foods that can be prepared in advance or have a buddy who can bring some of the hot food with them on the day. Sometimes I even organise for the hot food to be purchased and kept warm in the oven until it’s time to eat. Much less stressful that way. But think about what foods that you and your guests would like to eat, and write a list of what you need to buy, what you need to prepare and what you need to delegate to someone else. Depending on the kind of party you could ask your guests to bring something.
Also have a think about what the options will be for drinks. Will you have a table where they can serve themselves? Should they BYO their choice of drink? Will you provide hot water for tea and coffee? Also think about what you will have in the way of cups for them to drink from. It might seem obvious, but it’s one thing that can get easily missed in a rush.
When it comes to entertainment, I don’t necessarily mean hiring someone to entertain your guests, but more how will they feel comfortable during the party. Will you have chairs for everyone to sit on? Will you have some activities for the children? (If there are any) Will there be a makeshift dance floor and some tunes? Have a think about how you’d like to enjoy the day and how you’d like your guests to feel.
If you are thinking that it will be a relaxed time for everyone to sit and catch up, think about how loud any background music might be or if you need it at all. If it’s outdoors, will there be enough shade for those who don’t want to be in the direct sunlight? (this is an Australian summer party issue)
If it’s all about the kids, is there room for them to run around and make noise? Are there some activities planned for them that are age appropriate? What might you need to organise (party games, kid food, etc) to make them feel comfortable without going over the top? Great low key indoor party ideas could include: musical statues, pass the parcel, popcorn and a movie, etc.
Think it through & let it go
Go over your plan for how you’d like the party to go in your mind. Try to think of anything that you might have missed. Do you need a cake or to borrow some extra chairs? Let your guests know about the time, date and location and set your plan in action. Do what you can before the party so that you can also be there with your guests and enjoy the day.
It might seem strange to say “let it go” but what I mean is don’t sweat it on the day if things don’t go as you pictured them in your head. Whatever it is, there’s either a simple fix or your guests won’t even notice that it was missing. Part of it being low key is that you let things just run as they do and try to allow for some laughter and great memories. Sometimes all people need is just some time to relax and enjoy their time together. Making things perfect can wait for another day.
Do you love a low key party? What’s your favourite tip for anyone hosting one?