New Year’s Eve is right around the corner. And you know what that means—celebrations, champagne, countdowns, and maybe even a midnight smooch from the one you love.
If you find yourself wearing the hosting hat this year, it’s time to make a game plan for how you’ll throw the best bash ever. Use some of our favorite New Year’s Eve party planning tips to throw a fun, stress-free party, even on a budget.
How to Plan a New Year’s Eve Party
If you’ve never planned a New Year’s Eve party before, or if it’s been a while since you’ve hosted, use these tips to put together a bash to remember:
Decide on a Theme
A good theme can turn a good party into a great one. Whether it’s something classic like black and white or something a little more out there (70s disco, anyone?), a theme is a great way to get your guests involved in the fun!
Not every party has to have a theme. However, picking a theme makes it easier for you to plan the rest of the party because it helps you make easier decisions about location, decor, and food.
Need some help coming up with a theme? Check out these New Year’s Eve party ideas.
Choose the Right Location
Location really can make or break a great party. If you’re hosting the party at your home, you’ll want to consider which spaces will be open to guests. Is the den off-limits? Will you primarily be celebrating outside? Make these decisions before you send out your invitations.
If you plan to host the party at a venue like a restaurant or an event space, make sure you choose a space that’s big enough for your guest list. You’ll also want to ask about their rules for bringing food and decorations. And, of course, book early!
Put Together a Guest List
Once you’ve got a theme and a location, it’s time to put together your guest list. The number of people you invite to your party impacts everything from how much food you need to make or order to what types of activities you can plan for the group.
Before you start making your guest list, give yourself a reasonable limit for how many guests you’d like to invite. Consider how big the space is and what type of space it is. Also, think about your budget. If you’re on a tight budget and want to host a dinner party, you may have to limit your guest list to a small, intimate group.
Create a Food and Drink Menu
When putting together your food and drink menu, consider the number of guests, their likes and dislikes, and any allergies or special dietary restrictions. Think about the theme and vibe of the party as well. You don’t have to create an entire dinner menu or drink menu if you want to keep it light and casual.
You’ll also want to consider the space in terms of its size and accommodations. For instance, if your home has bar furniture that makes it easy for guests to serve themselves, then you don’t need to personally whip up batches of cocktails, especially if you have a large guest list.
Similarly, if you are holding a party in a small space or have a very large guest list, you might opt for just a few hors d’oeuvres that don’t require formal dinner seating. Whereas if you have a large dining room table and service that accommodates your entire party, you can plan a formal dinner menu.
Make a List of Supplies
Now that you have most of the details figured out, it’s time to make a list of supplies you need to buy for the party. You may also want to make a list of things you already have that you’ll be using, like outdoor dining sets, so you can prepare them for the party.
Making a list will help ensure that you get everything necessary to host your dream party and minimize the need to run around searching for things at the last minute. When you make your list of supplies, consider the number of people you invited and your budget.
What Are the Best New Year’s Eve Party Decorations?
It’s not a party without New Year’s decorations. Whether you make or buy your decorations, you can use your decor to create the perfect ambiance for your celebration. Here are some of our favorite New Year’s decoration ideas:
Create your own confetti out of colorful paper scraps. You can sprinkle it around your home or even have guests toss it in the air when the clock strikes 12. You can also buy confetti, but doing it yourself is a budget-friendly way to get festive (without creating more waste).
Balloons are a classic party decoration and a great way to create a festive ambiance. Plus, they are very easy to put together on the day of the event. Choose balloon colors that go with your party theme and complement the rest of the decor.
Noisemakers & Party Hats
Noisemakers and party hats are not only a great way to ring in the new year, but they can also double as fun and festive New Year’s decorations. At the beginning of the night, display the hats and noisemakers on tables to get everyone in the party mood.
A great centerpiece can not only make a table festive but also pull the whole room together. You can create your own simple-yet-beautiful centerpieces by placing flowers in a champagne flute. Don’t have a table tray? A cake stand is a perfect stand-in for the foundation of your centerpiece.
Add a little sparkle to your festivities with glittery tablecloths. Choose a color that fits with your theme, or just go with a classic gold. You can buy these at your typical party supply store or DIY them by sprinkling some glitter across the tables before the party starts.
Tips for Making a New Year’s Eve Dinner
Whether you’re hosting a lowkey dinner party or a more formal, multi-course meal, there are a few ways that you can make your New Year’s Eve dinner fun and delicious for everyone involved.
Decide on the Vibe
Food plays an important role at any party. So before you get started planning and making your New Year’s Eve dinner, think about the type of ambiance you want to create with the meal.
Going for something fancy? Consider planning a meal with three or more courses. On a budget? Think about making it a potluck. Serving a big crowd? Tiny bites or hors d’oeuvres may be just right.
Plan Your Menu Early On
Even if you’re not much of a planner, you’ll want to plan your New Year’s Eve dinner menu early on. When you plan ahead, you’ll be less stressed overall because you know you’ll be ready the day of.
Before you decide on a menu, be sure to consider not just the likes and tastes of your guests but also any dietary restrictions or allergies. If kids will be in attendance, include a few kid-friendly foods for the little ones.
When it comes to New Year’s Eve punch recipes, the best way to accommodate everyone (including the kids) is to make non-alcoholic drinks that alcohol can be added to. Check out our tasty mocktail recipes.
Break Out the Festive Dishes and Drinkware
What better occasion to bring out the festive dishes, silverware, and drinkware than celebrating the new year?
Whether it’s your good china or just some fun disposable plates, cups, and napkins, festive dishware can go a long way in creating a fun, celebratory atmosphere. If children are invited, remember to include some non-breakable dishes and drinkware.
Fun New Year’s Eve Dessert Recipes
End the night on a sweet note with one of these fun, tasty new years eve dessert ideas:
The ball drop isn’t the only time to enjoy champagne. These delicious champagne cupcakes are easy to make and add a little festive kick to both the batter and the frosting. (Don’t forget the cupcake pans!)
Oreo Cookie Balls
These are certainly a crowd-pleaser. With three ingredients and no bake time, they are also super quick and simple. But you may want to make some extras because they tend to go quickly!
New Year’s Eve Parfaits
While parfaits may not be the dessert you think of first when you think of New Year’s Eve celebrations, this unique parfait recipe is like a party in a glass. Not only are they light and tasty, but the raspberry preserves also look stunning in clear glass dishes.
New Year’s Eve Butter Cookies
Butter cookies aren’t just for Christmas. This simple recipe only has three ingredients, so it will be easy to whip up a batch on the day of the party. Use a fun cookie cutter and sparkly sprinkles to make them really festive.
White Chocolate Toffee Bark
This easy recipe makes for a quick and tasty toffee treat. The white chocolate and golden sprinkles will get everyone feeling festive. Plus, it’s ideal for sending home in goodie bags.
Now you have everything you need to become the ultimate New Year’s Eve party planner. Remember, the most important thing is to create a fun, safe environment for everyone. Everything else will fall into place.