House parties are a hoot, but some occasions warrant pulling out all the stops. Like a friend's 40th birthday for example. Recently I was in charge of planning such a party. I put on my thinking cap (sparkly and topped with a feather) and decided on a "Party on Wheels" theme.
Here's how to plan this portable party — STEP-BY-STEP
1. Come up with a guest list and send out a "save-the-date" invite outlining the party idea.
Something like, "Hey gang, Sarah's 40th is coming up! Who's in for a party on wheels? Aug. 19th, 6pm-midnight. Pre-party food & drinks at my house. Cost will be roughly $35 each. Please let me know if you can make it ASAP as I'll need numbers to book the appropriate party bus. Yes, PARTY BUS! We're taking this shindig on the road!" You can add any other details as well like possible destinations along the bus route, gifts/no gifts, whether or not it's a surprise, etc.
2. Once you have an idea of the number of guests, BOOK the BUS. If you're looking for a weekend versus a weeknight date, book farther in advance.
a) Google "Party Bus" or "Limo Bus" rentals in your area.
b) Call several companies and make a list of what they offer and how much they charge. Fees vary quite a bit!
c) Ask for a flat rate so you know exactly what you'll be paying.
d) Be aware that tax and tip are extra so factor that into the final price. Also, some companies charge a fee for each stop along the route.
e) To give you a rough idea, we were charged a flat rate of $400 for the bus (which seats 25). This was for BOTH ways. We paid $50 per extra stop, plus HST. The tip was also automatically added to the bill by the company. *Be sure to check the invoice as our driver tried to trick us into giving him an additional tip by claiming it wasn't included. Sigh.
3. Plan Your Route. Consider the guest of honour's interests. My friend loves board games, karaoke, and dancing. So, we stopped at a bar that serves cocktails and has shelves of board games. Snakes and Lagers (wish I'd thought of that name) in Toronto was perfect. Find out if your destinations require reservations and then book accordingly, or at least give them a heads up that you're coming.
Our second stop was a hipster bar that offers karaoke and dancing. Who knew a group of 40-something mamas could have so much fun? Don't ask me why the photos of these songstresses are from behind. Either they refused to sign a waiver or the photographer was too drunk to walk around to the front of the stage! ;)
4. Send out an updated invite with finalized details: your address, agenda (great to have for those who might not be able to participate in the bus portion, but want to meet up along the way), what they should bring.... you might want them to BYOB for the bus.
5. Fuel Up! Ask guests to arrive at your house an hour or so before the bus is scheduled for pick-up. Provide snacks (partying on an empty stomach is a big no-no. Just ask my friend Ralph. See what I did there?). Premix a pitcher of cocktails to serve as well.
6. Get the money out of the way. Have a friend collect the bus fee from guests as they arrive so you can pay the driver—they will likely ask for payment up front.
7. Stock the bus with chips and water for the ride home, napkins for spills, plastic cups (some buses provide glasses and ice. Ours did not.), a great iTunes playlist, and cocktails. Thank you Michele for sending over Sarah's favourite pretty pink and sparkling wines!
9. Keep in touch. Give your driver the venue addresses ahead of time and provide him with your cell number in case he/she needs to get in touch with you while you're singing karaoke. Or maybe pretending to DJ...
10. Take lots of pictures! This will be a party to remember. Have fun!
*This post is NOT sponsored. We paid for the bus sans discount. I have chosen not to include the name of the bus company since I had several concerns with their service. The bus was not clean. In fact, it smelled like pee. Nothing that a little room deodorizer couldn't mask, but ew. Aside from the driver trying to bully us into increasing his tip (which was already generous), his driving was dangerous. I have addressed these issues with the company directly. I'm of the "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all" mindset. The experience was positive overall and I would do it again in a heartbeat!
** Our friend Michele from Chateau des Charmes generously provided us with wine and bubbly. Thanks Michele! You made our night extra effervescent.
And now for something ridiculous but entertaining... Maybe you've seen this SNL sketch? It's one we quote every time we go out. In fact, most GNO sentences end with the line.. 'Thank you champagne!" Or "Champagne is for occasions like.... occasions." Silly, but fun. Enjoy!
Looking for other unique party ideas? Here are a few more:
Tropical (Kitchen) Island Party
My daughter relishes any opportunity to eat food from a stick. And hello, no dishes for me to wash! If we could install a fire pit in our kitchen, I totally would.
This summer we cooked by campfire a lot. Great family fun and, more importantly, I discovered how to make shooter cups from toasted marshmallows! It's a little finicky, but fun. So while the kids are toasting marshmallows for S'mores, get them to toast a few extra for you to use for your Marshmallow Campfire Cups!
1. Toast one marshmallow at a time. Don't allow the stick to pierce all the way through.
2. Roast the sides and top end but do NOT toast the bottom section (where the stick goes in). Also, don't set the marshmallow on fire. This will make the cup too weak.
3. When the marshmallow is all toasty, carefully remove it from the stick (with your fingers or use a fork) and put on a plate—untoasted side up.
4. Let it rest. As it cools, the untoasted section will sink down into the middle, creating a cup.
5. Fill cup with liqueur, e.g. Bailey's, Kahlua, Frangelico (or chocolate milk for the kids). Shoot immediately, as the cup will dissolve quickly. Then, eat the marshmallow. Who needs S'mores when you can make these?
*These take a while to make, so if you plan to use these for a party, make some ahead of time. Also, my first few were a melty, blackened disaster (I ate about a dozen fails in the name of research). It just takes a little patience and practice.
These posts might also tickle your taste buds:
Picture me typing in a Tilley hat with one hand cupped over my brow, visor-style, searching, searching, always searching.
I'm not on the hunt for my misplaced set of car keys or my lost Interac card (it has honestly been missing for two weeks). As always, I'm in search of the ever elusive "life balance." Have you seen it? Maybe it fell between the couch cushions or slipped in behind the dryer. As hard as I look, I can't seem to find it.
I asked my husband. He hasn't seen it.
I asked my neighbour. She just shook her head, "no."
I asked the receptionist at my doctor's office and she looked at me like I needed to up my meds.
I asked my mother and she just laughed and rolled her eyes. Fine for her, she's retired, kids grown, living the life of Riley. Riley is a pompous ass if you ask me.
I have a business, a blog, and a busy family. The three Bs... bitches. And every few months or so it hits me — the sad truth that my life looks like this:
I wish more than anything I could wow you with some sage advice, but the only sage I have is the five-year-old jar of sage spice I use in my dad's turkey stuffing recipe.
I have no answers. But I CAN tell you the best places to look for them.
1. Brain Pick: Find a mentor and ask for their guidance.
2. Peep: Carefully observe those who are doing it right and learn from them.
3. Take Stock: Make a list of the things you do well and the things that could be vastly improved upon. Reflect and make changes.
4. Confer: Attend conferences with like-minded people. I come away with loads of helpful information and much needed inspiration during the seminars and casual conferences at Blissdom Canada every year, and I look forward to the kick in the blogger pants I get there.
5. Read: The internet and magazine stands are teaming with articles on the subject of life balance. Sift through them and find the best advice that works for you.
6. Crowd Source: Ask blog readers to leave insightful suggestions and tips in the comment section of your blog (ahem, THIS blog), and then read them, take them to heart, and actually try to implement them. Well, after you cancel your lost interac card and order a new one, of course.
See you at Blissdom 2014!!!
If you're attending the Blissdom Canada Conference this year, you might be interested in reading:
Conferencing With Confidence or Be Conference Classy, Not Conference Clueless.
For more articles, tips, and tricks to help you get organized and make the most of your blog and business visit our BlissDom Canada 2014: How Do You Find Your Bliss? page.
Membership Has Its Perks!
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