Monday, Dec. 2, 2013
Written by Amanda Bedgood

There are two essentials when it comes to a holiday party — people and planning. Whether it’s an intimate gathering for Christmas or a serious bash for New Year’s Eve, there are certain elements that are absolute. While you’re worried about a clever theme or a fully stocked bar, the truth is that the very best parties are about the humans in the room.

It’s why party-thrower extraordinaire Richard Young (the Event Rental owner throws his own epic Christmas bash every year) puts “bad people” as his number one party killer.

When it comes to the invite list, it’s quality not quantity. Consider an eclectic mix of friends. Most people run in a few circles — invite the most fun people from your different peer groups even if they’ve never met. Then set the stage for a fun night. The ugly Christmas sweater theme is quickly becoming a standard. It’s a great icebreaker and way to set the stage for a light-hearted evening.

Costumes or themes have a way of creating instant camaraderie. Just make sure you pick something simple, or some guests may avoid the shindig all together for lack of time or effort to pull a costume together. White trash parties are another easy theme that keeps everyone laughing, as well as anything ’80s.

Last year, Young’s Christmas party had a drag race theme and everyone wore black and white. A drag queen proved to be the big surprise of the evening. It was a performance that kept the crowd talking for days afterward.

If you’re looking for something more low-key, ornament exchanges are easy, and a smores bar around a campfire in the back yard is great for kids and adults. Cookie exchanges leave everyone happy, and we love the idea of a gingerbread house building party for the kids. No matter what kind of party you have, a photo booth will be a huge hit. Simply hang a curtain and grab some fun props from the party store and say “cheese.”

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Local expert gives us his don’t list for your next shindig

Event Rental owner Richard Young’s Christmas fêtes are legendary, and he has spent years throwing every kind or party imaginable. Here’s his list of absolutes that he so eloquently says “make a party suck.”

1 — Bad People
Invite as many fun, eclectic friends as you can.

2 — Bad music
We do not need to dance to “Play That Funky Music” anymore!

3 — Bad Flow
Don’t put the bar next to the food; don’t put the food next to the restrooms. Keep people moving, but together.

4 — Bad bartenders
Try for attractive, fast bartenders. And get enough: approximately one for every 75 to 100 people.

5 — Bad timing  
Don’t try to compete against an LSU game in this town. You can’t beat them so join them. Have the game on a flat screen or have the party after the game.

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