Throwing a party is supposed to be fun. But all too often, the experience is more stressful than enjoyable — especially when you host a large group in a small space. Follow these tips for planning a party in an apartment from Country Classics for help creating a get-together full of great memory-making and even better people!
How to Host an Apartment-Friendly Party
From who to invite to what to cook, these small apartment party ideas are your roadmap to entertaining success.
1. Do the Math
Space is an important consideration whether you want to throw a rager or host an intimate dinner party in a small apartment. If you invite all your friends and family to a special birthday or anniversary party, reserve your apartment complex's community room, or host an open house in your apartment and invite guests in shifts. Community rooms offer all the amenities you need for a crowd, including plenty of seating, large-screen TVs, and kitchen and restroom facilities. Your complex may even have an outdoor community area with a fireplace where guests can exchange stories around the flames and a grill where you can cook up shish kabobs, like in this award-winning apartment building in Bridgewater.
If you prefer to hold the party in your apartment, decide how many people you can comfortably fit in your home. Allow seven to 10 square feet per guest when making your calculations. If your entertaining space is 200 square feet, you could comfortably accommodate 20 to 29 people. (Since all of the guests you invite won't attend, you can inflate those numbers slightly when issuing invitations.)
2. Make a Checklist
Winging it never turns out as well as you think it will. Give your get-together the forethought it deserves by planning out your menu (more on that below), decorations, activities, and what you need to do to get your place in tip-top shape for guests. Distill your plans into a checklist so you don't forget the small but crucial details that make or break a party. Your checklist may include:
Sending, emailing, or texting invitations a few weeks before the party
Creating a menu and shopping list
Buying or borrowing party supplies, such as folding chairs or punch bowls
Cleaning and set up before the get-together
Decorating the public areas of your apartment
Choosing a playlist for your gathering
3. Ask Yourself: What Should I Cook When I Host a Get Together at My Apartment?
If you're wondering how to throw a dinner party at home, careful menu planning is one of the key ingredients. The food you serve will depend on your theme and how classy you want your get-together to feel. Start by considering your guests' dietary restrictions, seasonal produce, and what you can easily prepare. These tips from Martha Stewart can help you with the rest.
For an apartment party, we recommend serving easy-to-eat and difficult-to-spill items. Since table space is often a premium at parties, not every guest will have a solid surface to eat their food on. They may end up balancing plates in one hand and drinks in the other; inevitably, someone drops a plate or glass on the floor, spilling lasagna or red wine on your formerly pristine floor. Your guests won't have to test their juggling skills when you offer a selection of portable foods.
Serving sliders, individual quiches, cupcakes, and other self-contained foods reduce spills and stains and make mealtime more comfortable for your guests.
4. Create a Party Schedule
Nothing kills a party's vibe more than a lull in activities. But always keep in mind, nothing kills your neighbors' vibe more than unwanted noise or excessive foot-stomping (for those first-floor dwellers). So be mindful of your neighbors while having a great time with your friends!
Give your party a loose structure to ensure your guests always have something to do. A dinner party schedule, for example, might look like this:
4 - Appetizers and chit chat
4:30 - Group games (while you prepare the main course)
5:30 - Dinner
6:15 - Serve desert
6:30 - Drinks
6:45 - Conversation and more group fun (have several activities lined up to fill out the rest of the evening)
10 - Goodbyes and clean up
In addition to planning out your party's flow, you should create a party-preparation schedule for yourself. Take your checklist from step two and assign each item a timeframe for completion. Do preplanning way in advance, shop for supplies a couple of weeks out, clean, decorate, and pick up fresh groceries a few days beforehand.
5. Use Your Space Creatively
A small apartment party requires you to get creative with the layout of your apartment. You might consider moving extraneous furniture to make more floor space for guests to mingle. While you're at it, create zones for different activities. Have a large area, like your living room, for group activities and a smaller, tucked away space for personal conversations (apartments with private balconies are great for this purpose). You should also include multiple food stations. Placing all of the party food in one location may impede the flow of traffic at your party. Put main offerings on the dining table, drinks on the kitchen counter, and desserts on a coffee or side table. If you don't mind guests spending time in your bedroom, guest room, or office, a dresser or desk makes a convenient spot to hold a selection of snacks.
6. How Do You Host a Great Get Together? Ask For Help!
Don't be afraid to ask for a bit of help. Pulling off a party is much easier if you divide the work. Bring in a spouse, partner, or friend to be your co-host. If you're hosting an informal gathering, you may even ask guests to bring a food or drink offering, making your job much easier! You can also help yourself by buying prepared foods like vegetable trays, sandwiches, pizza, and desserts to take some work off your plate.
7. Enjoy Yourself & Your Guests Will Too
Have you ever been to a gathering where the host is so stressed about everything being perfect that they bring the party atmosphere down? Holiday family get-togethers, I'm looking at you. That's no way to throw a party! Too often, hosts and hostesses spend too much time in the kitchen and not enough time catching up with guests. Do plentiful preplanning and commit to enjoying the party when the big day comes. You deserve to have a good time too.
Fun-Friendly Apartments Ready For You
Is entertaining space a priority in your search for a new apartment? Country Classics offers stunning, spacious apartments in Bridgewater, Somerset, and Frenchtown with all the amenities you need for hosting the perfect party.