5 Party Tips When You're Tight On Time

You know what they say: Too much planning can suck the fun out of something. In fact, many of my friends claim that we have the most fun when we've had spontaneous outings and get-togethers. If you want to throw a last-minute party this year, don't assume it can't be done. It's easy with the right plan and focus.

Hostess with punch

Send out a mass (invite) text

Fforget about paper invites and Evites -- your invitees might not get the note on time. It's just a party with good friends, so just send a mass text to your guests as soon as the idea hits you. A simple one that says something like, "My place, New Year's Eve party, 8 p.m., BYOB" will suffice. Those who are interested in finding out more will reply with questions and/or RSVPs.

Hit the supermarket

You need snacks and cocktails, so hit the store. Get a variety of relatively easy to eat, almost bite-size goodies. If it requires a fork, refrain! Go with frozen and pre-made appetizers that you can just pop in the oven a couple of hours before the party starts. Just warm 'em up and create an inviting display. As for cocktails, don't go overboard because you don't have that much time. Come up with two signature cocktails to make onsite, for instance. Also have a couple of bottles of wine and beer for those who don't want mixed drinks. 

Tidy up

No one likes to party in a messy house. Make sure your that the room where everyone will hang out the most is spotless. Stock the bathroom with enough toilet paper to avoid embarrassing situations. Dust and vacuum everywhere. If you don't have a lot of time to do this, perhaps an emergency cleaning service or your co-hostesses could help.

Set the mood

Parties are not just about food and cocktails. Don't forget to add nice touches such as a centerpiece on the table or vases of flowers. Set the mood with an iPod playlist. For a lively event, play some electro pop or dance music. If you want a subdued gathering, try some easy listening and R&B.

Sit back and have fun

After you accomplish these steps, just sit back, relax and wait for guests to arrive. Don't worry about how many people will be coming and whether people will have fun. If you build it, they will come. Whether it ends up being an intimate gathering (after all, you did just throw this last minute, and people might've already had other obligations) or a lively house party that blows through all the drinks and food, just enjoy

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