After planning a wedding and going on a honeymoon, many newlyweds look forward to hosting their first party as a newlywed couple. After all, the fancy china and crystal goblets aren’t for display only.
Couples with new homes may also want to put their new gourmet kitchen to good use or showcase a beautifully appointed dining room.
But entertaining as a couple sometimes involves a little more forethought than the impromptu get-togethers many singles throw. That can be a good thing, though; it’s your chance to make the event spectacular. You pick the occasion, choose the guest list and set the menu. Make your first party your chance to shine by following some suggestions from the pros.
Basing your first bash as a newly married couple on a special occasion instantly brings your event into focus and gives you a foundation on which to show off your own entertaining style. Is your ideal event a chic brunch, an intimate dinner gathering or a lively cocktail party theme?
If it’s a birthday party, for example, you can put your own stamp on the tradition with the type of cake you choose. Are you the type of couple to buy a fondant cake that looks like an elegantly wrapped present, or would you prefer to serve your guests homemade cupcakes each topped with a sparkler?
Holidays provide an excellent reason to host a party, but don’t feel constrained to celebrate only the traditional holidays. While everyone loves a good Halloween or Christmas party, you’re never far from a holiday of some kind, no matter what month of the year. Regional celebrations, such as Mardi Gras or Cinco de Mayo, could make an excellent theme for your first gathering. You can also search online to find a holiday to associate with your chosen date. If you’re lucky, you may find thematic inspiration from a particular date, such as Fortune Cookie Day or National Cherry Jubilee Day.
Some major events have a festive feel to them, even without an attached holiday. Super Bowl Sunday and the Oscars can make excellent themes for your first soiree. Fashion designer and iconic personality Isaac Mizrahi suggests throwing an Oscar party to give guests and hosts an excuse to dress up in black tie – gowns for the ladies and tuxedos for the men — for the evening. This would give you a chance to serve fancy hors d’oeuvres while chatting about the Best Musical Score, Best Picture and, of course, best dress.
Step-by-Step Party Planning for Newlyweds
An event typically goes smoother with planning, and your inaugural party as a couple is no exception. The more care you put into party preparations, the more time you can spend enjoying yourselves.
As memoir writer and gracious hostess Felicia C. Sullivan points out, scheduling can sometimes be a challenge for busy couples and their guests. She recommends sending out invitations a month in advance to give friends and family time to plan. Although emailed invitations, such as Evite, have become popular, add some class to your event through mailed invitations. It also gives guests something tangible to hold onto with the date and time of the soiree. While many guests may RSVP, a follow-up email or phone call as the event draws closer can help you get a better idea of your final party size.
Speaking of guests, you may want to give some thought into who will mix well together. Inviting die-hard fans of opposing teams to a play-off game get-together may not lead to a pleasant halftime atmosphere. Instead, aim for an eclectic but harmonious mix of friends, family and coworkers that will stimulate lively conversation. For a classic way to show off your dining room, host a dinner party and consider who sits next to whom; imagine how conversations will flow. It’s fine to seat couples apart, according to The Washington Post’s Miss Manners – in fact, it’s preferable.
Whether you’re hosting a dinner party or having guests over for cocktails, your menu matters. Dinner party experts at TheKitchn recommend choosing simple fare that you’ve prepared before over elaborate dishes that need constant attention. If you know of a friend who has specific dietary needs, preparing a dish or two that he or she can eat is especially thoughtful. Choose specialized dishes that will also appeal to the rest of the table to minimize your workload.
Games are the perfect icebreaker for any party. Apples to Apples is designed for four to ten players and is played for up to an hour. It’s a game of word association, many times with humorous adjective-noun combinations. The goal is to get the judge to pick your noun as the best one that goes with an adjective. It’s easy to learn and a lot of fun.
After all is said and done, don’t forget to enjoy yourself. No matter what your theme or who attends, the animated conversations and interesting company are bound to be remembered at this perfectly planned affair.
Alison Johnston is a Breckenridge native writer working with Richmond American Homes.