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Planning Ahead for the Perfect Party

I already have two activities planned—the beer tasting and the piñata. I don't think this party will go well if I try to impose a lot of structure, so I'll plan to have the beer tasting about two hours into the party, at 6:00 p.m., with dinner to follow. At about 8:00 p.m., we'll do the piñata. By that time, everyone will be loose and relaxed—hopefully not so "relaxed" that they'll beat each other while trying to break the piñata!

Although I've planned the activities for particular times, I won't stress about them on the day of the party. As guests arrive and get comfortable, I'll keep an eye on the energy level and bust out the activities when I think the party needs a boost.

My budget for Entertainment/Activities: $0!

I really wish I could have hired a Mariachi band, but I just can't afford it. Hmm...I wonder if any of my guitar-playing friends know any Mexican songs?

Don't be a Monica. Although the Friends character was organized and impeccable, she could also be a royal pain when she hosted a party. Remember the scene in which she yelled at her guests for not capping the pens tightly enough during her stuffy party game? Let your guests' energy and enthusiasm dictate when and how your planned activities happen. If no one wants to play the fabulous word game you prepared, let it slide. The activities are meant to entertain guests, not enslave them.

Choosing the Right Music
A Mexican party calls for Mexican music. I don't want to drive my guests crazy by playing nonstop Mariachi, so I'll set a stack of CDs next to the stereo and let people change the music if they wish. However, I'll get together a few theme-appropriate CDs, which I'll have playing as the guests arrive. Later on, we can switch to classic rock, which will go nicely with the atmosphere: beer, margaritas, and relaxing.

From my collection, I can pull out these CDs for the party:

  • The Frida Soundtrack
  • Mariachi from Mexico
  • Selena's Greatest Hits
  • Rough Guide to the Music of Mexico
  • Kronos Quartet, Neuvo

I don't own any salsa music, which will be good for later in the night, but a couple of my friends do. I'll ask them to bring over the CDs a few days before the party, just so I make sure I have them on the big day.

Although I won't need to update my budget sheet, I will need to add to my "I'll Need" list:

    I'll Need
  • Candles
  • Checkered tablecloths
  • Tiki torches and oil
  • Mexican flag (Ben)
  • Sombreros (Tony)
  • Mexican blankets
  • Saints candles
  • Mexican CDs
  • Classic rock CDs
  • Salsa CDs (Andrea and Kylee)

My stereo is in good shape; I'll move it just outside the back doors, which lead from the living room to the backyard. That way, my guests can hear the music in the house and in the yard. I'll keep the remote in my pocket, just in case someone puts something really heinous on the CD player. I'm all set!

Don't force your guests to listen to lame music! If you can't afford to purchase music for your party and you don't have what you need in your CD library, ask your friends to loan you a few discs, check out music resale stores, or visit the library. Your music will create constant atmosphere throughout your party, so make sure you have music your guests will love.

More on: Pop Culture

Reproduced from Plan a Fabulous Party In No Time, by Tamar Love, by permission of Pearson Education. Copyright © 2005 by Que Publishing.

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