There are no parties like summer parties. But so many people are throwing them this time of year that it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle.
Perhaps even worse, people might see your shindig as “just another summer party” and not even show up.
That’s why you’ve got to stand out from the pack. Here are six ways to do just that.
If you introduce the right two people, you just might get a kid named after you. It’s not going to get any more memorable than that.
1. Stock up for summer-appropriate cocktails
You don’t just need quality cocktails. You need cocktails that are appropriate for warm weather. Nothing is going to kill your party faster than everyone sweating to death and deciding to head home at 9 o’clock. So think about how you’re going to put your own spin on classic summer cocktails like margaritas, mojitos and Moscow Mules. On the wine and beer front, opt for rosé, white wine and lighter brews that are easy to drink and refreshing.
2. Keep food simple and accessible
Sure, you can have a big grill out, but that’s not going to be enough to carry a party or even feed everyone who shows up. To have the best summer party possible, have loads of finger food on hand for people to eat whenever they show up. And don’t forget about your vegetarian, lactose-intolerant and gluten-allergic friends, if you have any. The most memorable parties for them are the ones where people remember that they eat, too. Spending just an hour or two prepping the right hors d’oeuvres is a simple, classy move that can take your party to the next level.
3. Balance the invites
You always want to have a good mix of people at parties, but in particular aim for a good gender balance. Invite about an equal number of guys and girls, as well as single people and couples. It will take a little more attention to detail, but a good balance will keep things rocking, and hey, if you introduce the right two people, you just might get a kid named after you. It’s not going to get any more memorable than that.
4. Sort out music in advance
In the age of Spotify and iTunes, there’s no excuse for not getting a great playlist ready ahead of time. Sit down for an hour before your party and aim for a good mix of rockers, dance tunes, slow jams, oldies but goodies, current hits and obvious crowd pleasers. Think of it like you’re putting together the ultimate summer party movie soundtrack. Try and create a kind of “arc” for the night. Because when it comes down to it, the tunes provide a lot of the energy of the evening.
5. Allow for activities
Even with great drinks, food, people and music, there can be lulls. So have some kind of activities planned, even if they are pretty loose. For example, if you’re grilling, get your guests involved in the process, making kitchen runs and maybe bringing their own meats and toppings. App-based games like Heads Up are great for indoors, while patio and lawn games like cornhole, horseshoes and volleyball can be outdoor crowd pleasers. Semi-planned activities are a great way to keep the night fresh, especially when it’s an activity that allows your guests to get to know one another while they engage.
6. Just add water
It’s as true now as when you were 15: There’s nothing quite like a pool party in the summer. Whether you have your own or you’re just using whatever is on hand in your apartment building—or the fancy one next door—doesn’t really matter. At the very least you get to tell every girl you invite to bring her bikini.