After you’ve decided to have a party and figured out the major logistics like guest list and date, you need to set the tone. So how is that done? There are several different components to the tone.

  1. Music – You know how certain songs hype you up and others calm you down? Well, consider that when picking a playlist. I would say to steer clear of using an artist more than twice. This way it’s not repetitive. Also, don’t use any songs over 4 minutes. If there is a song you like, and it’s longer, see if there is a shorter version. Also, make sure to have enough music. If your party is supposed to be 4 hours, have 6 hours of music. This way, even if folks linger, you’re all set. Lastly, the volume. If you want to keep voices down, keep the volume down. Though, with more people, you’ll have to raise the volume. You don’t want to cause folks to have to yell over the music. It’s a delicate balance.
  2. Lighting – Fluorescent lighting is ugly. Fluorescent lighting is ugly. Fluorescent lighting is ugly. It’s harsh and really doesn’t make anyone look good. Opt for yellowish or pinkish lights. They soften everyone and the pictures come out better. Also, candles are great for a nice glow. Just be sure to put them put of people’s way.
  3. Scent – Most parties have food. No, all parties have food (if it doesn’t, it’s a meeting and those are reserved for work). Food has scents. But I still like my home to smell nice. Go for earthy, warm, inviting smells. I’d say to avoid food smells like cinnamon. Unless, of course, you’re actually having a dessert party – and then it just works. You can use candles or the scented oil plug-ins; whatever is safest for your guests.

These three components help to set the tone for a party. They help to indicate the vibe, so to speak. Of course, those are three very broad factors. There’s a lot of room to get it right (and also, to get it wrong). The best thing I can tell you is to set your house up for your guests early and then go outside for 5 minutes. Come back in. What do you see? What do you smell? What do you hear? Those things will be what your guests experience. If it’s pleasing to you, awesome. If not, tweak things for a more delightful guest experience.

Next, we’ll talk about food!