New Year’s Eve is one of the best holidays for get-togethers. No matter what happened in your life in 2018, a New Year’s Eve party is a great way to reflect on the good, the bad, and then focus on what’s next. What better way is there to celebrate this time of transition than by throwing a party?
Whether you’re looking to host a holiday blowout or an intimate gathering with a few close friends, here are 5 ways to make your New Year’s Eve party the perfect nightcap to 2018.
1. Start Late, but Not Too Late
The average cocktail party lasts for about two hours, while adult birthday parties and house parties last around four hours. New Year’s Eve is a unique occasion because the party itself is centered around midnight, so you definitely don’t want to start too early.
If you’re beginning your event around 6 pm or 7 pm, you will also have to take dinner into consideration. If you don’t your guests certainly will, and will likely get dinner beforehand if you haven’t planned for it. If you wait until 10:30 pm or 11 pm, some of your guests will risk running late or going to another party entirely.
Starting your event around 8 pm or 9 pm is probably the best time for a New Year’s Eve celebration. Let’s be honest, most of your guests will be 30-45 minutes late anyway, and that’s without taking traffic into consideration! By starting around 8 pm or 9 pm, your guests will have likely already eaten dinner and have plenty of time to come over, have a couple of drinks, and socialize long before the ball drops and 2019 is rung in.
2. Prepare for the Toast
Every New Year’s Eve party should have a toast at midnight. Whether you’re drinking champagne or apple cider, everyone will need a glass to cling and ring in the new year.
If you’re throwing a larger party, odds are that you might not have enough champagne flutes to go around. Luckily, retail stores have got you covered. If you’re looking for something particularly fancy, Posh Party Supplies provides an array of classy partyware for an affordable price. If Posh is a little out of your budget, stores like BevMo!, Dollar Tree, and Walmart carry cheaper alternatives.
If you’re drinking apple cider, almost every grocery store will carry some—especially on New Year’s Eve. If you’re torn between what kind of bubbly to buy, there are a variety of great tasting champagnes that come at a modest price. My personal favorite is Segura Viudas. It sounds as fancy as it does exotic, and your loved ones will likely have no idea that a bottle of Segura Viudas often goes for well under $10. Moet Chandon is also a delicious, and only slightly more expensive alternative.
3. Appetizers Only
Again, your guests have probably already eaten dinner by the time they are attending your New Year’s Eve party. However, any time there’s drinking involving, you should also provide a food component. Putting together a few appetizers and finger goods is simple and cost-effective, and your guests will appreciate you for it!
Meat trays and veggie platters are great options, but if you have the time, buy these items yourself to save money and enhance your presentation value. It also helps to have chips, pretzels, and dip on hand.
4. Have a Midnight Plan
Before you even start sending out the invites, make sure you know what you have planned for when the clock strikes midnight and 2019 arrives. If you live within view of the ball dropping, the elevator reaching the top of the Space Needle, or whatever happens in your area, make sure that everyone is in the know about where they’ll be at midnight. If you’re keeping it simple and watching something on TV, make sure that all of the champagne is poured and that everyone has a glass in hand by 11:57 pm.
As the hour grows closer, make sure that you (or a trusted friend) is keeping an eye on the time so that you don’t accidentally miss midnight. No one wants to start the new year a few minutes behind.
5. Look Back on 2018
No matter who you are or what’s happened in your life, everyone has memories of 2018—both good and bad. Talk about the year, treating it like a blooper reel and the end of a TV season. Laugh about the time Stephanie got locked in her own bathroom, or when Todd got a job by walking into the wrong interview. Have a moment of silence for anyone who may no longer be with you, and try to really remember the events in 2018 that defined your life. Then, think and talk about what you want to accomplish in 2019. Yes, most of us usually give up on our resolutions, but having goals and a focus gives us a purpose—something to strive for, whether it’s better ourselves the lives of those around us.
If you’re throwing a larger party, this might be a little more difficult accomplish, but I still recommend giving it try. If you can’t get everyone involved, or if it gets too loud and rowdy, then do it with a group of intimate friends. They’ll be the ones you’ll want to hear from the most anyway, and vice versa.
At the end of 2019, try and get the group back together again, repeat this exercise, and make it your tradition. Whether you managed to accomplish your goals or not, you’ve probably made a lot of great memories along the way.
Keep Focused on What’s Important
New Year’s Eve what’s happened to you in the last 365.28 days, and what you plan on achieving next. No matter what kind of party you’re throwing, what flutes you buy, and what you serve, make sure that you’re surrounded with the people you love. The best way to ring in 2019 is to ring it in together.