How to Throw an Awesome House Party
Josh Hunt of http://joshhunt.com recommends that one of the greatest ways to get people involved in your Church or Sunday School class is to first invite them to a party, and have several of these throughout the course of the year that all members and prospects are invited to. I've come up with a list of 10 party rules to ensure success with your party:
- Set the mood with music. At our house we have our computer run through a kicking sound system and use Pandora to have a continuous party station. During Christmas you can play a Christmas station of your choosing. If the music is boring, dislike it and it will play more appropriate music.
- Make it crowded. We have a small house. And I love filling it with 40 or so people. A crowded party makes it feel like there are so many more there, and the atmosphere is so much cooler. Certain events need a lot of space, but not a party. Make it standing room only and people will feel like they are at the most hopping place on the street.
- Set up different "areas" for people to hang out at. Last year we had an area in our living room with the wii going on, an area around the computer where people could play DJ and play different music, an area around the food, an area around the dining room with more spread of food, etc. It is kind of like having different stations people can rotate around to.
- Set the mood with lights. Christmas is an awesome time for that because you can dim the lights and have the lights of the tree illuminate the room. Making a more intimate setting encourages conversation and people opening up to others at the party. It makes it different than just hanging out at someone's house.
- Keep it flowing. Pay attention to the mood. If things start to die down, or if you see someone on the fringe, the host has to be the one who is setting the party thermometer in the room. Go find that person by themselves and give them a tour of your house, or introduce them to other people. Get them involved in a game. Play a new song, or put on slow music and tell all couples it's time to dance. A party doesn't grow by itself. You have to keep it jamming or people will want to leave.
- The welcome and the exit are the most important times of the night. When someone rings the doorbell, that is the time to make them feel like they are the star of the night. When you open the door and announce to everyone real loud that "so and so" is here, it makes them feel like the most special guest of the night. Even though they might not know that you did that for everyone else who arrived also. Make them feel like you have been on pins and needles waiting for them to get there, and I guarantee they will have a fun time. At the end, when people are heading home, make each person know how wonderful it was to have them as a guest in your home. This assures that they will make a visit next time you have a get-together or a party.
- The Cardinal Sin - DO NOT RUN OUT OF FOOD OR DRINKS. OVER PREPARE. Nothing is worst than getting to a party and all the food has been eaten, or you only have one or two options for drinks. I usually like to ask every guest to bring an appetizer or dessert or drink. And then YOU also have plenty of food, because some people will forget and some people will not be able to bring something if they get off work late or what not. As long as there is food to munch on, people will be happy. Basically, the party is an opportunity for people to come eat with friends. This is especially true if you are throwing a party for college students or young adults at your church. They are a hungry breed.
- The GAME. After an hour or so, you will need something new to spark life into the party. Our game of choice is always cranium. We never finish, but we have a heck of a fun time while playing. Not everyone will play, and many people will just watch. We normally have 25 people playing cranium divided up into teams. Make sure you are familiar with the rules ahead of time so you can get the game going and know how everything should flow. Keep it going and make it fun. This will be the most laughter of the night.
- Spend time with each person if possible. Even if it is just a minute. Ask them about their week, what are they planning to do over the weekend. This quality minute makes each person feel like they have at least interacted with someone, especially since you are the host. They are probably coming because they know you anyway, so spend a moment with them away from the crowd.
- Don't make it too long. 2 or 2 and 1/2 hours at most. Cut the party short at the highlight of the fun. Once you drag it out, people will start wanting to leave. End everything on a high note. It is going to take you a while to start shuffling people out the door, possibly even an hour, and people will be lingering and talking. So if you want to end at 9:30, stop the games at 8:45. This will allow time for people to help clean up and you to tell everyone goodbye at the door.