The Experts at Events & Adventures Share How to Throw a New Year’s Eve Party
Location. Where you choose to throw your party is almost as important as what you do at your New Year’s Eve party! Are you going for a destination event, like hosting it at the beautiful and historic Hotel Galvez? If your guests are going to travel you want to make sure you make it an all-day or two-day affair. Planning meals and cocktail hours in the area makes for a complete experience your friends will enjoy. If you want to stay in the city, look and feel is important. A good planner can transform any space, but why spend the extra time if you don’t have to? Book early if you can, but if you have to book late then make sure to negotiate. Banquet/event coordinators will be willing to negotiate because an additional, unexpected end-of-the-year sale will bump their paycheck and year-to-date totals. So we recommend going private if you can. Separating yourself from the party people who have a carefree spirit on New Year’s is a way for your guests to relax and get into the event. If you book a room in a restaurant or bar hire security to keep out unwelcome guests and under-age explorers.
Theme? Putting pressure on your guests to dress up or do work for your event must be taken seriously. Am I really going to have more fun if I make a mask for a masquerade ball or a western theme? If the answer is yes, make sure your guests know exactly what to expect. To put it bluntly—don’t half-ass it. Expect to put in some money to make it come to life in the space you are using. Simple color scheme themes make it easy for people to participate without having to put in a lot of effort.
Food? Start later and go lighter. If you start around 9pm, most of your guests will have eaten dinner beforehand allowing you to have more fun with your food budget. Finger foods only with light or no sauce—you don’t want there to literally be stain on your evening! Food is important if you plan on a night of drinking so think about serving lite bites that will soak up at least a couple Manhattans.
Drinks. We’re talking booze for a New Year’s Eve party, so this is where you want to focus your budget. Don’t cheap out. Open bar at most venues will run you about $15-25 per hour per person depending on your options. The perfect time to host a bar is from 9:30 pm to 12:30 am. If you are running the bar yourself, try to focus on one or two signature cocktails, two wine choices, and a mix of quality beer and domestics. If you are hosting the party you shouldn’t feel obligated to stock an entire bar. Choose one or two of your favorites and stock up. A fun bourbon drink and vodka will cover most of your bases. You can still serve bourbon on the rocks and shake up a martini for those guests who just have to have it their way.
Entertainment. Friends and tasty cocktails should be all you need for a fun-filled evening. If you must add on, keep it simple. A photo booth and casino are easy. You don’t want your guests to separate themselves from the party vibe or have to sit and think about anything else other than socializing. If you must spend more money, consider upgrading your drinks or investing in drivers to take guests home at the end of the evening.
Champagne Toast. This is a must have, but even though it’s a New Year’s Eve party, don’t overspend on champagne. Get the cheap stuff and rip the label off or keep it in the kitchen, then pour and serve to your guests. You’ve already given them drinks and no one needs more than a sip of champagne after their liquor or they will regret it the next day. If you are hosting a house party, only people trying to look cool will splurge on fancy champagne glasses they will only use once, so use the plastic. When half of your guests drop their glass they won’t have to feel bad for breaking your stemware.
Hopefully, these tips that we’ve learned over the years at Events & Adventures will help you throw some awesome New Year’s parties of your own. And if you’re ever in doubt, or want to skip the work, joining Events & Adventures is a great way to take part in legendary bashes and meet new people without having to buy all the booze and handle all the planning!