Come On, Party People…

Have you met me? Like…in person?

Maybe you have. If you haven’t, you may not know this about me, but people freak me out. As in, all the way freak me out. It’s a complete “It’s not you, it’s me” thing – I am just socially backwards, sideways, every way but right ways when it comes to people in general.

But I love hosting parties. True story.

Take for example, the very first BlogHer Food I went to. I didn’t know anyone, really, so what did I do? I threw a party for 200 bloggers on opening night just so I wasn’t the awkward girl in town. Yeah, I don’t get me either. Let’s not try. I’m sure there’s a shrink somewhere reading this just dying to get their hands on me.

Or something.

But seriously, I do love hosting parties. Big ones, small ones, it makes no difference, really. I just like the organizing, the planning. The menus, the music, the décor…I like the way everything comes together. So, since I’ve hosted dozens of events now, pretty much all successful, I thought I’d give you a little party planning basics to help you should ever YOU decide to host your own.

I do want to be up front with you here – Bacardi is sponsoring this content. And that’s good news all the way around. Why, you ask? First off – I use Bacardi anyway in my party planning as it’s a great fit – and you’ll see why in a minute. And second – sponsored posts around here mean I can keep creating new content for you all, and that’s what I love to do. So, thank you Bacardi for helping me out with that.

So… you want to have a party. Good for you. It’s really a pretty simple concept, but a lot of folks get flustered in their planning. I want to help you with that. Relax, and take it one step at a time, and I promise, things will come together.

First things first – VENUE. Then theme. Then menu. Then entertainment. Think in this fashion, and whether big or small, your party will be a success.


Venue is important. I’ve hosted many a party here in my home, and I love that. Most people will find that their home is the location for the majority of their parties – whether holiday parties, casual dinner parties, backyard BBQs, tailgate parties or even a Girls Night In. Our homes are where we are most ourselves, so it’s only natural. But that doesn’t mean it has to be same ol’, same ol’ – you can gussy your home up to suit your needs. Rent a tent if your event is huge. Or, if it’s smaller and more casual, perhaps borrow a few pop up tents just in case of too much sun or chance of rain. Setting a table in the back yard with great linens and centerpieces is a great way to change up your ordinary dinner party, no matter what the size…there’s just something about dining al fresco as the sun sets. So, even though it’s your home, think outside the box…and by box, I mean your dining room. We have a simple grape arbor in our garden that I adore, and setting up a table in there – well, it’s just so awesome. So look around, keep an open mind, and I’m sure you’ll find the perfect location there at your home.

If you aren’t having your party in your home, be sure to familiarize yourself with the venue. Get in there and nose around, get to know what you are up against. The more familiar you are and more comfortable you are with the location, the better things will be. It’s yours. You rented it, or you found it. It’s YOURS. Treat it as such.


Themes are fun. Think about it – it’s true. Do your kids get excited about Pajama Day at school? Team colors day? Dress like an 80s teenager day? Of course they do. Because THEMES are FUN. So go with a theme! How about an Italian Dinner Party, with lots of great candles tucked into wine bottles for lighting, lots of grapes and cheeses displayed as both centerpieces and finger foods? Or, how about an Island Escape, with grass skirts around your tables, pineapples and tropical fruit scattered about as décor? Your only limitation is your imagination – so get creative!


This will go hand in hand with your theme. Pretty simple stuff. And that’s another thing – do keep it SIMPLE. Unless you’re hiring in a caterer, you want to go as easy on yourself as possible. That means – choose foods that are able to be prepared in advance and kept warm, or, foods that can sit at room temperature so that you aren’t running yourself ragged. Same goes for drinks – pre-mixed drinks are a must. Bacardi Classic Cocktails Light is your savior here. No need to have someone behind the bar mixing cocktails – these are premade Strawberry Daiquiris made with Bacardi Rum – all ready to go– you just add the ice. AND – two other good things to know – they are natural, using things like real cane sugar and lime juice, and – they are light, at under 95 calories per serving. Don’t like the looks of the bottle? No problem. Just pour into a pitcher, garnish however you see fit, and leave your guests to serve themselves. They’ll love it and so will you. Told you it was a good fit…it really is. I can’t tell you how many times these premade Bacardi drinks have saved us.


Again, theme plays a part here. We are really fortunate these days to have things like iTunes and Pandora, so make good use of them. For example, if you’re having an Elvis Party, use blue suede tablecloths, serve PB & Banana Sammies, and create a Pandora radio station created entirely of Elvis songs. Or maybe it’s an Island Jam – go bright and festive, make some jerk chicken, and create a playlist full of Bob Marley (The Bacardi Classic Cocktails Light would go great here – Daiquiris with NO fuss!). Pretty simple stuff. Of course, you can always hire live entertainment, and you may be surprised at how inexpensive that can be. For years we’ve hired local bluegrass bands for our annual BillHilly Bash, and it adds so much to the night. So ask around – you might find you can swing the live entertainment bill after all.

Hopefully these steps will break it down for you and keep it manageable. Remember – it’s a party, and it’s supposed to be FUN. Even for you.

Good luck!

When it comes to at-home entertaining, we want to have our cocktail and drink it too. With BACARDI Classic Cocktails Light, you don’t need to choose between serving great cocktails or socializing with friends. Enjoy the best of everything – the convenience of ready-to-serve cocktails and the confidence of natural ingredients mixed with the world’s most awarded spirit. BACARDI Classic Cocktails Light allow you to serve the best, naturally!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of BACARDI. The opinions and text are all mine.

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