When was the last time that you were at a cocktail party and you didn’t feel like you were going to fall asleep half an hour after arriving? Don’t feel bad, it’s not your fault, in fact, it’s not the fault of the party hosts either. They don’t mean to throw a boring cocktail party, they have been programmed to do it by half a century of conditioning about what a cocktail party should be. Here’s the truth, though, times have changed, and you don’t have to fall back on those old-fashioned party concepts anymore, not for a cocktail party, birthday party, or any other type of social affair that you are throwing. People have changed, and so have sensibilities about gatherings. Let’s take a moment to look at some ways that you can avoid the cocktail party trap for your next party. These tips will help make your next affair, not only more enjoyable but also a memorable event that will be the talk of the town for a while.
Have A Theme
OK, we're not talking a full-on prom night style extravaganza, but your party should have more of a theme than just “everyone dress up and stand around talking.” A theme can be as simple as choosing a particular event to commemorate, a certain culture or food style to enjoy, or even just a particular type of entertainment. Here are three possible examples:
All of the foods and beverages come from the same foreign land, region, or cultural group, such as Japanese, Jewish, or New England.
A commemorate of a person’s promotion themed with the journey their career has taken up to that point.
A night of standup comedy themed around jokes and classic vaudeville and lounge act entertainment styles.
These are just three examples, but you get the idea. Make the event interesting and people will enjoy the occasion more than they would just stand around trying to make idle chit chat on their own.
Have Great Entertainment
Gain here is where many people have gotten the wrong idea about cocktail parties and unfortunate their guests have had the suffer the result. Who said that you had to have elevator music, or worse yet something that sounds like it should be played during awake, playing at a level in the background that can quite be heard, but is detectable just enough to almost be maddening? Great entertainment is key to a great party, and that means giving your guests excellent party entertainment that they will actually enjoy. Again, here you should consider falling back to your theme, or concept. Some options for great entertainment for your cocktail party can include:
A standup comic
A parlour illusionist
A psychic or hypnotist
A comical or satirical pianist or guitarist
These are just a few ideas, others include some casino-style games or grown-up board games. You may approach event planners for party entertainment. The important thing is that you give your guests entertained at your party that will engage them and make them feel like they are having fun.
Make it Personable
No one wants to attend a party where they are going to be bored. Create an environment where people will feel relaxed and free to engage with each other. A formal setting is great, but it doesn’t make to feel like space is covered with a wet blanket. Keep things light, open, and airy. Even if you have a small space to work with, find ways to spread out the gathering. Make sure the guest list is varied, and above all else avoid anyone and anything that is controversial. These are time tested and true to form bits of advice for a great cocktail party that still work today.
Have Good Food
Canapés and clavier are great, but who said that they have to be the only option for a cocktail party. One way that you can make your party more enjoyable is to call back to your theme when you are planning the food. Again, this doesn’t have to be over the top and you don’t have to put out a lavish spread. This is a cocktail party after all and not a dinner party. Perhaps lay out a few small dishes that can be eaten casually by your guests, but which follow along with your theme. Three to four light items are a good choice. And don’t forget to put out a couple of nice desserts near the middle of the planned run of the party. Even for a formal affair can have more interesting foods served than what you traditional
These tips will help you to put on a great cocktail party that will not only be enjoyable for your guests but will leave them eagerly anticipating your next soiree. Cocktail parties, even formal ones, do not have to stuff and staunch affairs. Its time that the cocktail party evolves into the modern era. These tips can help you be at the forefront of that trend. One last piece of advice is to always remember that no matter what form they take or what level of formality is involved all parties are meant to be enjoyed, so above all else, have fun.