8. Have someone you trust doing the money.
If you are charging money for admission and drinks, cash will pile up very quickly. You will need to take a bunch of money to a secure place several times throughout the night. This place should have a lock on the door, and should not be used for anything but storing money. (The money room is not the VIP room!) Parties have a way of hemorrhaging money, so you want someone you trust (preferably YOURSELF) handling it. That way, if a ton of money goes missing, you will have only yourselves to blame, and you won’t be in the awkward position of not knowing whether someone is stealing from you.
9. Have someone taking pictures.
I know we live in an image-obsessed society where it’s impossible for people to exist in the moment, but it is what it is. Having a designated picture taker will keep you from pulling your phone out every five seconds. It’s also fun to have a photobooth with a cool backdrop (pictured), where people can goof around (maybe with props). My partner likes to make one that goes along with the theme of the party each time we have one.
10. Find a cool space.
If your apartment is too small for what you want to do, you will need to find a space. It’s more exciting to attend a party in a place that is not a bar, but I know how hard it can be to find this. Ask around, and don’t rule anything out. I’ve been to parties/shows in restaurants, American Legion halls, churches, warehouses, and…the subway. It helps if you know a lot of people in your community.
11. Don’t be afraid to throw someone out if they’re causing trouble.
Once, I let some jerk ruin an amazing (if I do say so myself) 4th of July rooftop BBQ for everyone because he wouldn’t stop setting off fireworks. Before I knew it, there were a bunch of firemen there who wouldn’t relent no matter how hard my friends and I flirted with them. Don’t let this happen to you! Have a few intimidating friends who are prepared to help you do this if need be. One asshole should not get to ruin the party for everyone. This also goes for when you want the party to be over, but a group of random dudes no one knows wants to linger in your kitchen until 6am. It’s your party and they’ll leave when you want them to.
12. If it costs money, charge money.
Once upon a time, my parties were intimate, BYOB affairs where I’d throw down $75 for a keg and borrow PA equipment from friends. Now, my partner and I shell out at least a few hundred each for art supplies, liquor, etc., not to mention all the talented artists and musicians we would like to pay. (I wouldn’t write for free, and I don’t expect musicians to play for free. Even if it’s only like, $50, throwing them something is a matter of respect.) Don’t be afraid to charge $5 at the door and/or a nominal fee for drinks. (If you buy wholesale, you can keep it cheap. You’ll be shocked at the mark-up most bars sell drinks at.) Tell people it’s a small price to pay for all the fun they’ll get in return. Don’t worry about being greedy, you’ll probably still lose money.
13. Get your friends to help clean up afterwards.
Coerce a few people into helping you clean up. Sweeten the deal with a hangover brunch. Or, if you have money left over, go back to sleep and hire a pro clean-up crew.
14. Have fun!
Remember, it’s just a party. The stakes are relatively low. As DIY pater familias Todd P once told me, no one’s going to die if you can’t hear the vocals. Once the party kicks off, it becomes a breathing, growing organism all its own. Appreciate it for what it is, and don’t try to control everything. Have a drink! Dance with your friends! Speculate on who the naked guy in the Eyes Wide Shut mask is! Be the beautiful social butterfly you always knew you’d blossom into once you left your stifling small town surroundings. Maybe Daisy will fall in love with you, after all. Just kidding, she won’t. But your life as a thrower of sparkling parties will be so very excellent you’ll hardly notice the cavernous emptiness inside.
Photobooth photos: Jena Cumbo