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Whether you’re planning a huge New Year’s Eve bash, or keeping it simple with a few friends or family members, a little advance planning can go a long way in keeping your guests entertained into the wee morning hours. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite tips to keep your party rocking and your guests happy through the evening.

Don’t start too early.

Send out your invitation online or via the postal system at least 2 weeks in advance, and plan a starting time that isn’t too early in the evening. A 7pm start time will mean that you need to keep guests entertained for at least 5 hours before the main event. We recommend kicking things off closer to 9pm, but make your plans based on what works best for your social circle. If you plan to have families with kids, consider and earlier start time, and a “faux” or early countdown before kids need to be in bed.

Don’t skimp on food and drinks.

Even if your party doesn’t kick off until after dinner, be sure to have plenty of snack foods, sweet treats, and a variety of beverages on hand. New Year’s Eve parties tend to stretch well past midnight, and your guests will be grateful for a variety of snacks and drinks. To keep things simple and to stick to a budget, make it a potluck, and ask your guests to bring something to share.

If you’re hoping to take your party the extra mile, whip up a few elegant hors d’oeuvres and a signature cocktail.

Don’t forget to have champagne poured in advance of the final countdown for the traditional New Year’s toast!

Have plenty of seating.

Be sure that you have enough space to comfortably seat all of your guests. Think about renting tables and/or chairs to ensure that everyone will be comfortable. If you’ll have kids at your party, you may want to have a dedicated ‘kids’ table – a place where they can eat, play games, or complete crafts to keep them occupied (and contained).

Plan some entertainment.

Getting your guests to the midnight hour (and beyond) will take a bit of planning. While everyone is waiting on that countdown to the New Year, think about hosting some games, karaoke, trivia, or dancing. Add a unique twist with games, trivia, or music related to the last year.

Be sure to have enough space.

If you’re planning to throw a big bash, but don’t have the space, think about alternative locations. If you’re in a mild climate and have the space for an outdoor party, consider renting a tent. A tent provides flexibility outside your home, while still offering protection from the elements. Add tables, chairs, and a dance floor to make the most from your additional space. If an outdoor party isn’t an option, think about renting an indoor space like a recreation center, restaurant, or ballroom.

Don’t forget the props and décor!

Nothing rings in the new year like some glitter, photo booth props, sparklers, and horns. Make the space festive with streamers and balloons, and offer new year glasses, tiaras, and other fun props for an impromptu photo booth.

Designate someone to keep track of the time.

Thanks to all of your stellar planning and exciting entertainment, there’s a good chance the night may get away from you. Designate someone to be in charge of watching the clock.  This person make sure the champagne gets poured and distributed in advance of the countdown, and should kick off the countdown at the one-minute mark.

From all of us here at PartySavvy, we wish you a successful party, and a very happy New Year!

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