There is nothing more frustrating than when you have an urge to plan a party and your lack of space hinders you from hosting one. I ran into this issue a few times during the four months that we occupied the Mouse House. As I’ve mentioned, party planning is in my blood and even the fact that we couldn’t host parties couldn't quiet that part of me. It just meant that I had to get creative with my party planning. One early idea was to convince a friend to host a party with me so that we could use their larger space. I nixed it almost immediately because it would mean co hosting with someone who might not be as party planning savvy as I like to think I am. Then I thought, why not host a party at a restaurant? This idea stuck and is just what I did for our Christmas party and my birthday party.
The biggest perk of planning a party at a restaurant is that after the initial planning stages, there isn’t much you have to do. The restaurant takes care of almost everything! I followed my usual six guidelines and added a few along the way to tailor it for planning a restaurant party.
1- The Cuisine
Just like when you plan the menu for a party at your home, you need to be aware of the foods that your guests like and dislike. This will help narrow down the search, especially in larger cities with an almost impossible choice of restaurants.
Right along with the cuisine, picking a place that takes reservations is key. There is no quicker buzz kill to a party than having to wait 45+ minutes to get a table. You want your guests to be able to walk in, sit down and have a cocktail in their hands within minutes of arriving.
Eliminate the confusion and awkwardness at the end of the night as the group hems and haws over the bill and have a plan of action for payment. This could mean that you plan to cover the whole thing, or you plan to take cash from everyone and put it on your credit card, or plan for everyone to pay for their own portion. Bonus points if you let all your guests know before they arrive how payment will be handled so they can be prepared.
4- Personal Touches
Finally, remember that you can still add personal touches to a party at a restaurant. Goodie bags, flower arrangements, seating cards or simple games are all little things that can be done easily to add a bit of you to your party. For our holiday party we had a White Elephant Exchange. For my birthday party I had little goodies that I put at each person’s seat.
I still prefer hosting parties at my own home, but it is nice to have a break from time to time and let other people do a lot of the work!