Party planning has resigned itself to the allotment of right-brainers. It’s an art form that needs a creative touch, right? Wrong?? Maybe???
I don’t know the answers to those questions, though I personally feel like any endeavor that shares your passions and reflects your style is creative, which means that anyone, even left-brainers, can plan a perfectly interesting and gossip-worthy party.
I have even better news for left brainers (and right-brainers who need a little nudge, organizational-wise!) There are several solid, mathematical equations that can help you throw the perfect bash, and assure that everything goes off without a hitch. Let’s start with the venue…
How Much Room Do You Need?
For a comfortable party to ensue, you need to make sure that you’re not too cramped. The basic rule of thumb is that six feet of space is needed for each guest, which equates to 36 square feet per person. So if you’re throwing a party at home, use the square footage of the rooms you plan to use (for example, exclude your bedrooms if no one will be hanging out in there, and include your backyard if you live in a warmer climate and expect people to be lounging outdoors,) and plug it into this equation: F/36 = G, where F is the allotted square footage, and G is the resulting amount of guests you can fit in your home. Don’t limit your invites to this number, as the average invitation acceptance rate is only 67%.
If you’re booking a venue for the event, you can simply inverse the equation to determine how big of a venue you’ll need: G x 36 = F, where G is the amount of guests you expect, and the resulting F is the amount of square footage your venue will need to be.
How Much Booze Should You Have?
While alcohol isn’t for everyone or every party, it is quite a popular option for New Year’s bashes in particular. If you’re planning a boozey bash, this infographic can help you determine a sound amount of drinks to invest in:
Keep in mind that different liquors have different alcohol volumes, so you can play with this equation a little depending on the type of booze you go with. If you do decide to invest in alcohol for your party, hopefully, your return is the jovial and celebratory mood of your company.
If there’s alcohol involved, always remember that safety should come first. If you’re at the lake or by the pool, make sure you have all of the proper pool safety equipment and that you keep an eye on how much everyone is drinking. Also, make sure to remind everyone to drink responsibly and take a cab home if they’ve had too much!
How Much Food Should You Have?
I’m a huge proponent of the potluck party. Asking everyone to bring something isn’t a hassle, in fact, most of the time people are happy to bring and share a recipe they’re proud of. Then, there’s always those who don’t cook, but they’re usually more than happy to hit the market and snag up a bag of chips in exchange for some good food and a good time. Even if it’s not a food-centric party, I definitely suggest having some sort of food available if you’re also serving drinks, as it will help your guests absorb alcohol better, and in turn, be safer and more jovial.
So how do you plan for the right amount of food for a potluck? My general rule of thumb is to provide either:
1.25 servings of the main dish, if you’re asking guests to bring sides, so 1.25 x G = S, where G is the amount of guests you’re expecting, and the resulting S is the number of servings you should prepare.
If you’re just making another aspect of the potluck, prepare one savory dish and one dessert dish, with enough servings of each to feed 75% of your guests, or .75 x G = S, where G is the amount of guests you expect and S is the number of servings you need to provide of each dish.
If you’re doing the typical pizza party, 2.5 slices per guest is a good estimate, so use the equation 2.5xG/N = P, where G is the number of guests you expect, N is the number of slices you’ll get out of each pizza you order, and the result (P) will tell you exactly how many pizzas you need to order.
If your budget is tight, or you’re just a super snarky Sassafrass, you can always use the lazy caterer’s sequence, which assumes that you are not making each slice of a round meet in the center, and therefore results in the maximum amount of slices per circle.
In this equation, you determine the maximum amount of pieces you can obtain (p) from any number of cuts (n). So, if you were to make five cuts that do not meet at a central point, you’ve got 16 slices of pizza as opposed to 10.
Happy Party Planning!
With the help of good old math, you can throw the perfect party. Good luck, stay safe, and don’t forget to have a ton of fun!