General Question

girlofscience's avatar

Can you offer advice in hosting a party?

Asked by girlofscience (7532points) August 21st, 2008

I will be hosting a party for the first time tomorrow night, and I’d like some advice.

Here are the details:
– Party is for welcoming the incoming grad students and getting together with everyone before the school year begins
– Will be in my apartment, a 2-bedroom apartment with a very large living room and a screened-in porch
– I am expecting about 25 people
– The people will all be grad students (or partners of grad students) and range in age from 22–32
– Features include a keg, jello shots, Rock Band, and a table for games like beer pong and flip cup
– Smoking will be restricted to the porch
– There are two large sofas, 4 chairs at the table, 2 bar stools at the counter facing toward the kitchen

Main questions:
– What should I do with my cat?
– What should I do for food? (The party is listed on facebook as being from 8pm to 2am.)
– What should I do when the first people get there so they don’t feel awkward for having arrived before everyone else?
– How many additional chairs should I bring into the living room?
– Other general advice for how to keep the party going and make sure everyone is entertained and happy?

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20 Answers

Snoopy's avatar

I would recommend someone cat-sit at their place, if possible. If not possible I would suggest that you put the cat in a carrier as far removed from the hub-bub as possible. (Like in a closed bedroom).

I would not worry about food. Really. I think it is more headache than it is worth and noone will be expecting food at 8pm + at night.

You will probably need more chairs. Any chairs on the deck? I would suggest 4–6 more chairs if possible or at least big 2 foot throw pillows for people to plop on.

Offerings to early birds? Booze. Have something on TV. Olympics still on?

You didn’t ask this, but even tho you “know” these people take care to secure valuables, pharmaceuticals, purses, etc. You don’t know the people they are bringing.

poofandmook's avatar

The general rule of thumb is to have your seating just shy of the number of guests to keep things moving.

Keep kitty in a bedroom.

You could try a quick tour of the apartment for the first guests… it’s usually good for breaking ice especially if you have interesting artwork or coffee table books.

If there’s boozing, you could do finger sandwiches or even just a giant sub for people to grab as they please.

girlofscience's avatar

Great advice, both of you, thanks!

To answer your question, Snoopy, there are 2 chairs and a loveseat on the porch.

Also, I forgot to ask this, but should the bedrooms be open or closed? I live with my boyfriend, so the one is a bedroom, and the other is more of an office. The “office” could offer more space for people and chairs. Should I leave that door open and close only the door to our actual bedroom? Should Ilsa go in our actual bedroom? I feel like she is going to be upset being forced to stay in one place.

girlofscience's avatar

Oh, and catsitting is not possible because everyone I know (I just moved here two months ago) will be at this party.

andrew's avatar

Bedroom = closed! You want the least number of unexpected places to find a 1/8 full silo cup.

Snoopy's avatar

I would keep them closed to indicate that they are clearly “off limits” and I would sporadically check them to make sure people are respecting your wishes.

To that end, you might want to put a temp sign on your bathroom indicating that it is The Bathroom

One other suggestion….have a BIG, HUGE garbage can w/out the lid sitting in your kitchen. Encourages self clean up.

andrew's avatar

Also, if you can, get smaller-sized cups—you’ll have less abandoned cups.

girlofscience's avatar

Snoopy, keep both closed, or only the actual bedroom?

Snoopy's avatar

OK. By my count you have seating for 19. Throw a couple of pillows down and you are good there, in my opinion. (Remember it is unlikely that all 25 people will be there all at the same time….it will be fluid….)

I would keep both closed. You probably have personal papers, etc. in the “office”. But it would really depend on what was in there and your comfort level. Can you lock filing cabinets, etc.? Lock away a computer, photo equiptment, etc.?

poofandmook's avatar

I would keep the cat in the actual bedroom and maybe use the office for purses or something..?

Snoopy's avatar

Ilsa is the cat? What if someone (uh, like me) is severely allergic to cats (sorry poof!)? I would have an asthma attack right there.

girlofscience's avatar

Haha, yes, Ilsa is the cat. Yeah, there is a possibility some people will be allergic. I guess she is better off in the bedroom.

As far as the office goes, there is one desktop computer in it, and yes, all of the file cabinets can be locked. I was planning to put my laptop away in the bedroom.

Snoopy's avatar

laptop hidden in your closet between some sweaters or something, I hope…I know I sound paranoid about this…but I know of what I speak

poofandmook's avatar

I would also be sure to have plenty of bottled or filtered water around for people who want to slow the effects of the alcohol. This is also where a giant sub comes in handy… carbs.

gailcalled's avatar

I think you have to have some food, no matter how schlocky. Put a huge sign on bedroom announcing that the cat is in there and NOT giving audiences. For people with allergies, it is their choice to come or not.

Put a footnote on your facebook invitation that Ilsa lives with you and will be in residence, albeit barricaded.

I would guess that all 25 won’t be there together. People come and go, but it is nice for you to do the “Getting to Know You” party.

ninjaxmarc's avatar

should have made it a potluck.

Music, rockband, party games sounds like a party legend in the making.

First set of people that come make it entertaining. I had about the
same amount of people for my birthday.

House rule: 1 shot for everyone that came to my party but that person must drink also.

phred78's avatar

– What should I do with my cat?
Have someone take care of it for that night. The cat will freak out with so many people.

– What should I do for food? (The party is listed on facebook as being from 8pm to 2am.)
Make simple stuff that people can just grab and eat. You don’t need to make anything fancy. Make salads, sandwiches, pizza, have fruit available.

– What should I do when the first people get there so they don’t feel awkward for having arrived before everyone else?
Serve them some drinks. Put some music on, let them check out your books and CD collection, be a nice host. When other people start arriving everyone will start mingling.

– How many additional chairs should I bring into the living room?
Don’t worry so much about that. Most people will just stand and talk. And people will sit just for a while then get up again, so there will always be places available.

– Other general advice for how to keep the party going and make sure everyone is entertained and happy?
Smile, ask them if everything is ok. Introduce people. Make conversation with as many people as possible. You’re not allowed to be sitting all the time =) Let it flow naturally. We’re all social beings.

I agree with this: keep the bedroom door shut. Use it for people’s coats and purses if you have to, but keep it closed. Some parts of your home should be off-limits and people accept that naturally.

andrew's avatar

You have rockband as a backup if people are having a hard time socializing. Brilliant move.

I’ve never had a problem with parties and my cats: just make sure that Ilsa has a litterbox and some food and water in there—and you may want to check in on her from time to time (just like you check in on your guests).

jlm11f's avatar

There are some really good answers on this thread.

For “What should I do when the first people get there so they don’t feel awkward for having arrived before everyone else? – This is what I would do: As they enter, try to sound a notch more excited than you normally sound, welcome them, ask them what they would like to drink (when there are few people, you can fix them some drinks), but also show them where the stuff is for later on when they want refills. Then ask Qs like “did you guys have any problem finding this place?” and such similar stuff. When there are few people, you can mention the kitty and also maybe let them play around a bit with her if they want to. That will keep them occupied.

As it starts filling up, cat goes in bedroom, bedroom door CLOSED (ditto for office). I like the idea of putting sign on the bathroom to prevent people opening/closing other doors. You aren’t really responsible for food, just keep small snacks out, like nachos + salsa etc. Have fun!

girlofscience's avatar

Hi! Just wanted to let everyone know that the party was a fantastic success! There were actually around 35 people there at once. We got a keg of Killian’s Irish Red, and I got many compliments on the beer choice, the set up, and the food. Everyone had a blast and was entertained the entire night. The keg was kicked by the very end.

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