It's New Year's Eve week and you and your posse still haven't come up with a firm plan for how to welcome in 2015. Instead of panicking, why not send out some invitations? Throwing a cheap, easy bash at home is a great way to avoid transportation hassles and expensive parties on New Year's Eve. Below are five tips for how to throw a last-minute party in style and say goodbye to 2014.
1. Make a plan. Figure out who you are going to invite, create a menu, decide whether you want a theme and create a decoration scheme before hitting the stores. Not only will this keep you from frantically searching for balloons at 11 p.m. on Wednesday, it could also help you save some cash. "You can find great deals if you give yourself enough time," Greg Jenkins, a co-founder at Bravo Productions, an event planning and catering company in Long Beach, California, told U.S. News and World Report. "Look for sales on various beverages. The holidays can provide a lot of bargains on wines, Champagnes, beer and so on."
2. Get people to RSVP. No one wants to confirm their plans ahead of time these days, but you somehow still have to let guests know when your party starts and then figure out if they are actually going to come. Some easy options include Paperless Post, Evite, Facebook or even sending out an email. You will probably have to ask at least some of your guests several times to respond to the invite, and they still might not let you know in time. Get around this by preparing dishes that freeze well. If people don't show up, you'll at least have enough food to get you through the next winter storm.
3. Create the perfect playlist ahead of time. To avoid having your most forceful friends take over the party with their random iTunes playlists, create a specific music plan that accounts for the natural progression of the evening. Start off with lively background music as guests arrive, then switch to loud, dance tunes to kick off the party. As things start to simmer down, clue your guests in with quieter, more soothing songs. DJ Jonathan Toubin of New York recommends old-schools jams such as “It Was a Very Good Year” by Della Reese and “Kick Out the Jams” by MC5.
4. Serve hearty snacks. You don't have to plan a four-course meal for your guests, but it's wise to provide something to eat to avoid a roomful of uncontrollable drunks since food can help keep alcohol use in check. You can serve anything from chocolate fondue, spiced nuts, a cheese selection, crudite and dips and pickled veggies, so long as there's enough for everyone. Here's a helpful guide on how much to serve per guest.
5. Create a special house cocktail. You probably don't have a fully stocked bar at home. No worries. Fool your guests into thinking you went all out for them by creating a specialty cocktail using only a few ingredients. This will also help you save money. Sangria is always an easy fix, but you can find more challenging recipes here.