In order to achieve the greatest possible atmosphere at your party you must stimulate as many “senses” as possible. Period. You want your party to look, feel, sound, smell, and taste like fun. If you can nail all five, then chances are no one will challenge you when you call it a success.
Taste is easiest, just provide the drinks, and the drinks might even facilitate your parties feel, but the other senses require finesse. The biggest problem with the average college party is that the host makes the assumption that if they play music and provide a keg it will be a good party. This is simply not true, a good party requires effort to truly construct atmosphere. This can be costly, but more often than not, great results can be achieved with minimal cash.
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Creative Lighting Solutions:
Rope Lights: Can be used highly effectively to add color and vibrancy to areas of your party. This makes your areas seem almost mystical, and can invite feelings of greater calm, relaxation, community, or even sexuality. They can also accent areas to make them seem more exclusive, though beware of utilizing too much light. Exclusive areas should be dim to mid lighting at most.
Black Lights: Black lights are excellent for preserving the mystique of a particular area. This can be ideal for dance-floors where you want people to mingle and dance, but not clique up and form small chatting groups. Because Black Lights emit very little visible light, you can pair them with dimmer colored lights to further manipulate mood. Black Light mixed with green creates an almost apothecary atmosphere ideal for areas sporting interesting mixed drinks. Black with blue creates a cool and semi anesthetic atmosphere that can work well on dance-floors. Finally, Black Lights are excellent because you can add in any kind of glowing or photo-receptive accents. Just don’t overdo Black Lights
Colored Lights: Colored lights just add more feeling to a room. Say you want a room to feel more sexual and be more conducive to people hooking up. Light the room up with a reddish color, and this will be achieved. If you can color code rooms and areas of a party you can make your party that much more interesting visually, and people will love it.
Lasers: Lasers can be effective in two ways. First, an automated fast moving array of lasers can make a room pulsate with energy. Clearly, this would be fantastic for any sort of dancing or moving area. Secondly, handheld lasers in a large enough number can make people feel more included in a party but also put on a crazy visual display. Pair any lasers with a fog machine and you will have beams everywhere. That is a sight to see.
Falling Star Lights: Falling star lights are a visual treat. They are made of a tubes filled with successive LEDs in a way that it looks like a steadily falling nugget of light. That is really the only way to describe them. Try using them in trees outside to make your house look magical, or try hanging them over a dance-floor or in a social room for added appeal. View Them HERE
Strobes: Strobes are the classic frenetic light effect. If you want to inspire a frenzy, the quickest way is to use a strobe. However, I must caution, do not overdo it. Strobes can quickly become very annoying. Not to mention there is always that whole epilepsy problem.
Lanterns (Moroccan, Chinese etc.): Lanterns are excellent accent lighting, and can add hugely to more exclusive areas when used correctly. Moroccan lanterns especially just seem exotic, and in many cases expensive, and thereby it will make your exclusive room seem exotic and expensive, and finally it will make your guests themselves feel exotic and expensive.
Accent Lights: Accent lights are in many ways like lanterns. With the right lamps, and styling, they can contribute endlessly to a rooms image, and in this way make your guests feel a certain way. Everyone wants to feel like they are drinking in the VIP room, and these lights can get you there.
Light Refractors and Glow: Glowing and Black Light refracting items and paints can really make you feel like you at a rave or someplace cool. These are best used in high energy areas such as dance-floors. Try making a mixture of Elmer’s Glue and dissolved highlighters and splatter it on your dance-floor. It dries clear, is easily washable with a mop, and it will set off a room like whoa.
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Music As a Complement: Music is probably second only to lighting when it comes to creating atmosphere. Depending on what you intend the party to be, you must appropriately select music. Playing reggae if you want people to dance will virtually always fail, in fact mismatching the wrong music with the lighting conditions, or theme can virtually destroy your party. What music you play is also highly subject to timing. Some songs and music types are better early in the evening, whereas others are much better for when the night is concluding and excitement is dwindling down. Here are some good combinations of music and party-types, as well as their optimal timing. Ultimately, it is incredibly difficult to manage an entire party as well as the tunes. For this reason, having a DJ or at least someone to directly monitor music and adjust the music to the surroundings is the best strategy.
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|MUSIC TYPE||PARTY TYPE||TIME|
|Upbeat Rock / Top 40||DANCE||As Guests Arrive / Pre Dancing|
|Hip – Hop / Top 40||DANCE||Party has reached 20 guests or more|
|Hip-Hop / Electro / Top 40||DANCE||Party has reached 40 guests or more|
|Slow Hip-Hop / Slow Electro||
|Party has topped 80 guests but has receded back to 20|
|Reggae||SOCIAL/CHILL||Start – Finish|
|Rock / Alt Rock||SOCIAL/CHILL||Start – Finish|
|Jazz||WINE AND CHEESE||Start – Finish|
Never play Jazz unless it is a small get-together and wine and/or cheese is involved, and for the love of god, NEVER EVER play heavy metal or music involving screaming.
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People like to feel special. At a party, the best way to create a positive impression in terms of how a guest feels is to make them feel SPECIAL. The easy way to make them feel special is to synthesize an atmosphere that gives an impression of exclusivity.
Sitting Area Accents: An exclusive sitting area needs to be extremely well decorated. Choose the nicest room in your house and move as much seating in. Try using dimmer lighting…perhaps lanterns, or fancier lamps. DO NOT have overhead lighting unless it also has been dimmed. If you can, add in other accents such as nice art, decorative mirrors, real glassware (shot glasses, wine glasses, low-balls etc.), and finally, furnish this area with additional liquor. By having one room seem nicer than the rest, and by controlling the number of guests in the room or guests drinking the separate alcohol you have synthesized exclusivity even though really everyone has access.
Dancing Area Accents: A dance area by necessity needs to be open. If a room is fully or even partially furnished, people will be less inclined to dance. At most, you should have a table for a DJ, a sound-system (and whatever it is on or in), and a very sturdy coffee table. Why a very sturdy coffee table you might ask? WELL, going back to people wanting to feel special, if people find an opportunity to differentiate themselves and make themselves higher than someone else they will. If there is a table, people will dance on it. Anyone who dances on the table will likely have an even better time dancing. Haven’t you ever been to a party where someone was dancing on a table? People love that shit. Likewise, a dance-floor requires dark yet energetic lighting.
Outdoor Accents: Outdoor areas, unlike indoor areas, are not conducive to exclusivity. Instead, outdoor areas are best utilized to make guests feel communal. The theme here is group inclusion. In outdoor areas, the best lighting is natural flame based lighting (think tiki torches) or a fire pit, however string lighting such as christmas lights or rope lights are not bad either. Group seating in circles or in a way that makes it difficult for small groups to form. In this way, everyone gets to know everyone.
Fog Machines: Fog Machines are excellent for making your party feel mysterious. Beyond that, they just add an additional dimension of atmosphere that might not be common at a college party.
Hookah: Hookahs are excellent for making sitting areas seem even more exclusive. If a few people are smoking a hookah, and you are one of them, you feel great. Also, the smell of shisha makes a party smell delightful!
Climate: Dance floors get HOT. This is a well known fact. Make sure to crank your A/C way before the party starts and be mindful of controlling the climate within your party. You want people to be comfortable, and you don’t want outdoor areas to get too crowded because the inside is too hot.
Partitioning: If your apartment is a large studio, or if there is too much open space, you could try partitioning using hanging sheets in order to create the illusion of separate rooms. The more rooms a party has the more interesting it can seem, just be careful not to make partitioned rooms to small!
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Always Start Clean
It may seem foolish, futile, and maybe even downright stupid to clean before a party, BUT you always should. For one thing, if people show up to a party and it is a pig-sty they will have no inhibitions about breaking and trashing a place further. Even more importantly, when people show up to a party and it is trashed they just will not feel comfortable, and that is a problem. So, before you have a party always do a thorough cleaning, and make sure that your place smells great, this way your guests will arrive and immediately feel at ease and pleasant. Besides, if you have a clean start, usually cleaning up after the party is much easier.
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When it comes to a parties taste, it is most important to diversify. Aside from being cold and slightly refreshing most will agree that keg beer just plain tastes like piss. However, if you have beer for the beer-drinkers, champagne for the wine-drinkers, liquor for the liquor and mixed drink people, and jungle-juice on top of all of that, then just about everyone will be satisfied.
- Flavored Rums (Cruzan)
- Flavored Vodkas (Burnett’s)