When it comes to ringing in the New Year, who doesn't love a good party? If you're planning to throw a New Year's Eve party, planning ahead is key so you can enjoy yourself too. Here are some tips on how to plan a great New Year's Eve party:
- Get your invites out early. New Year's Eve is a popular party night and people get booked up quickly. Get your invitations out early so your friends know that your house will be the place to be. In lieu of paper invitations, consider using a service like Evite.com, where friends can respond online. Another benefit of using Evite is that you can post the items that you need people to bring and they can sign up when they respond. You can also track who has viewed your invitation and when.
- Delegate. Don't do everything yourself! Tell your friends what they can do to help you for the party. If a friend offers to bring wine or an appetizer or wants to come help you decorate, take her up on it! It will make your job easier and you will feel less stressed when it's time for the party!
- Food. New Year's Eve party food should be simple. This is not the night for a full course meal that will have your guests feeling sleepy by 9 PM. Instead, serve a variety of finger foods and other items that can be made ahead (so you're not stuck in the kitchen while the party is going on). Set up a buffet-style table so guests can serve themselves throughout the evening. Some food suggestions include a gourmet cheese and cracker tray, vegetables and dip, pigs in a blanket (mini hot dogs wrapped in crescent dough and baked), and mini quiches. If you want to serve more of a "meal," keep it simple by putting out a cold cut platter with some good-quality rolls. Consider using your crock pot for items like Swedish meatballs or a crock pot full of sliced roast beef in au jus for sandwiches.
- Don't break the bank over the bar. Don't feel as though you have to have a fully stocked bar in order to have a good party. Consider offering beer and one red and one white wine selection. If you have some great cocktail recipes that you're dying to serve, narrow it down to one type and make a pitcher or a shaker full. Be sure to have some non-alcoholic drinks available for those teetotalers and designated drivers!
- Decorating ideas. If you already decorated your house for Christmas, keep those decorations up for your New Year's Eve party for a more festive feel. You can also add some gold and silver streamers or balloons. Buy some fun things like noisemakers or blowouts and New Year's party hats.
- Music. Have background music for your party by tuning into a commercial-free satellite radio station or by using CDs or mix tapes. You can download great party music online on sites like iTunes.com, and then create a play list that can play back during your entire party. While there aren't many New Year's-themed songs around, one classic that you should play during your party is "Auld Lang Syne" -- if you don't recognize the title, it's the well-known Scottish song that is always played when the New Year's Eve ball drops in Times Square.
- When the clock strikes midnight. Have the television on to countdown to midnight along with the folks in Times Square. Make sure your friends have noisemakers and confetti to throw when the clock strikes midnight.
- Plan for some overnight guests, just in case. If your friends have had too much to drink or just have a long way to travel, make sure you have sleeping accommodations or a designated driver for them. New Year's Eve is a heavy party night and there are many irresponsible drivers on the road, so keep your friends safe and start your new year off on the right foot.