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15 Must-Haves for Your Next Impromptu Party

Posted by Rae Lynn on 7/10/2013 to Party Planning
Ever want to be THAT girl or guy--the one who can throw a fab little soirée at a moment's notice?  Trust me, you can be. Impromptu doesn't mean no planning; it just means you're ready at a moment's notice.  All you need to do is stock the cupboards, fridge and freezer, throw on a smile and look for an occasion that calls for a spontaneous party.  

What occasions call for a party? 
  • You want to hang out with friends after another event. As the Bible says, fun begets fun. So think party after a concert, a football game, a day of skiing, a movie, a play, a festival. 
  • You wake up in the morning in a festive mood and want to have people over that afternoon or evening. 
  • You have something to celebrate--a promotion, a new job, a winning lottery ticket. There's always something to celebrate! 
  • You need to transition between events, like a morning brunch and an afternoon party, concert or matinee. 
  • You want to spend time with people you've met out shopping, in painting class, at the dog park. 
  • You've gained a reputation as the fun person to hang out with, so people just drop in. (If you have kids, this is known as Cool Mom syndrome.) 
So what do you need to make sure you're pleased as party punch--not panicked--when you're about to host a party? 
  1. Ice. When time is at a premium, going out for ice uses valuable time. Keep a bag in the freezer and gather up ice from the ice maker. Change the ice frequently to keep it fresh. And when the time comes, put those ice cubes in a stylish container complete with tongs, aka an ice bucket. 
  2. Drink mixes. For small gatherings, keep Bacardi frozen drink mixes in the freezer (but be sure you have lots of the aforementioned ice). Freeze signature drinks from bigger parties, like Goombay Smashes or other juice-based pre-mixed drinks (but NEVER freeze anything carbonated unless the freezer needs cleaning). Keep Pat O'Brien's instant hurricane mix for Mardi Gras time or an afternoon thunderstorm and margarita mix for Cinco de Mayo or any Mexican fiesta
  3. Vodka. And rum and bourbon. If you love margaritas, then add Tequila and Triple Sec; if you love blue margaritas, substitute blue Curacao for Triple Sec. 
  4. Mixers in small cans, plus frozen concentrate. Keep mixers like pineapple juice, Coke, Sprite and tonic tasty by stocking them in small containers, not in big bottles. For juice, try frozen concentrate in orange, cranberry and lemon. And always keep sparkling water on hand. 
  5. Red, white and sparkling wine. OK, maybe in summer you can forego the red, maybe in winter you can forego the white, but never forego the chance to serve bubbly, even if it's simply Prosecco. Nothing says party like bubbles. 
  6. Lime juice. Enough said. 
  7. Glasses. All this liquid must go somewhere--preferably in your double old-fashioned and wine glasses. Add martini, margarita and shot glasses as your budget and space allow. 
  8. Tasty frozen snacks. Of course, the snacks won't be frozen when you serve them. But if you drop by Trader Joe's or Costco, you'll find gourmet treats you can pull out in a hurry. My favorite? Tail-on medium shrimp in the freezer, plus ketchup, lemon juice and horseradish in the fridge for a cocktail sauce--pronto. 
  9. Tasty standby snacks. By standbys, we mean foods everyone always loves to nosh on, like nuts, crackers and chips. Keep your fridge stocked with cheeses, preferably gourmet, and serve them on an attractive cutting board with sharp knives. 
  10. Playlist. Put together an upbeat, fun party mix for at least three hours of lively music and you're ready with a soirée soundtrack. Or bring up Pandora on your computer and let your guests take turns DJing your event. 
  11. Votive candles and holders. Rae Lynn likes to dine by candlelight every night, but it's absolutely mandatory for parties. You can use votive candles and holders anytime and they last forever. 
  12. String lights. One simple string of lights can change the atmosphere from ordinary to extraordinary, especially when they're in fun shapes and colors. 
  13. Surprises. Be prepared with little spontaneous fun delights around, including confetti, drink umbrellas, LED lite-up submersible ice cubes, flag toothpicks and/or food picks, white pearl and metallic party beads and leis. These will put you over the top as a legendary party host. 
  14. Beverage napkins. Keep leftover cocktail napkins from your other parties, then introduce newbies for various seasons, themes and décor. 
  15. Décor. Change your home decorations to reflect the season or upcoming holiday, and you'll always be ready for guests. Then just add a few finishing touches: 
Spring:Pastel beverage napkins, hibiscus table scatter, Mexican paper flowers, green and pink votive candle holders and paper lantern string lights

Winter & Holidays Red, green, snowflake or snowman beverage napkins, snowflake confetti, pine boughs and red berries, red, green, gold and silver candle holders and snowman string lights

Football & Tailgating Napkins and party beads in team colors, team mascots and banners, and football food picks

Have more ideas for throwing amazing impromptu parties? Share them with us!

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