Cocktail parties are great opportunities to bring people together to celebrate or reconnect. Hosting a cocktail party at home can make these occasions even more comfortable and intimate.

However, hosting a cocktail party at home can take a bit of work and planning. Use these six tips to help you get started.#1. Know why you’re throwing a cocktail party.

Sometimes, the reason is simple; it’s time to reconnect and catch up with loved ones. Other times, you might want to make an announcement or have one for a special occasion. Whatever the reason, knowing why you want to throw a cocktail party can help you make important planning decisions such as…

#2. Select a theme.

Whether you prefer a super simple or extravagant celebration, picking a theme for your at-home cocktail party can be a fun way to engage guests and add a little “spice” to the event.

Themes to consider include:

  • Great Gatsby
  • James Bond
  • Game of Thrones
  • Award ceremonies (e.g., Oscars, Tonys)
  • Kentucky Derby

Cocktail Party Attire

With themes come festive outfits! Remember to mention the cocktail party attire on your invitations so guests know how to dress.#3. Determine the guest list.

Hosting a cocktail party at home can be an intimate gathering or a large affair. One of the most important considerations is who you’d like to attend.

Keep in mind that your guest count will affect the amount of food and drinks you need to get, along with where you’ll host your event in your home.#4. Decide how to use your space.

Hosting a cocktail party at home presents the unique challenge of deciding how to use your personal space to host an event.

Depending on where you live, the decision on whether to have an indoor or outdoor cocktail party could be slightly challenging. If you live in a city that experiences all the seasons, consider hosting your event indoors in the fall and winter. Typically, the weather is questionable during those seasons, so it’s better to play it safe than sorry.

If you live in a city that experiences nice weather year round, then it’s completely up to you! Sometimes, an indoor space can be more intimate than an outdoor one, but outdoor spaces can offer more room for activities. It all depends on what you’d like to do. Either way, have a backup plan in case the weather doesn’t cooperate.

Check out our post on outdoor party tips for some inspiration.

#5. Pick your menu.

Choosing a menu for your at-home cocktail party can be tricky — especially if you’re dealing with multiple palates, food allergies and specific ingredient requirements.

Cocktail Party Menu

Typically, an appetizer course is the best option for a cocktail party because it allows you to provide a variety of options for different tastes, and the food can be small enough to take one bite and still mingle. If you plan on having a party around dinner time, it might be best to think about including entree dishes and small desserts as well.

Your dishes can be as simple or as fancy as you’d like; use the theme to help you decide.

Throwing a fancy soiree at your home? Check out our post “Unique Cocktail Party Ideas for the Fun and Fancy” for some cocktail party menu inspiration.

Cocktail Party Drinks

Like food, it’s good to provide a selection of beverages to appeal to different palates. In addition to providing beverages like soda, juice, beer, wine or liquor, consider offering a specialty cocktail to go with your theme. Check out this post for some of our favorite cocktail party drink recipes.

#6. Plan activities — even if you don’t need them.

While every host dreams of having the fun happen organically, sometimes it’s helpful to have icebreakers to make guests more comfortable.

Consider encouraging interaction with these activities:

  • Two-Question Game: Create a list of questions before your cocktail party and put two questions on each sheet of paper into a hat. Each guest will select one sheet of paper and ask each guest their two questions.
  • Who is Who: This is one of our favorites! Before the party starts, gather up old photos of guests from their college or high school years. Have guests try to figure out who’s who. They can write the name of who they think it is below the picture. This is particularly fun for older crowds.

For more cocktail party game ideas, check out this post.Hosting a cocktail party at home is a great way to bring your loved ones together to celebrate. Use these tips to help you plan the perfect cocktail parties.

Need help with planning your at-home cocktail party? Find an event planner with our app and sign up for a free Snappening account today to streamline your event planning process. With Snappening, it’s events. In a snap!

Thinking about hosting your party at a local venue instead of your home? We can help with that, too. Check out Snappening’s robust event venue search tools for a long list of party location ideas. With Snappening, it’s events. In a snap!