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Throwing a Party? Avoid These 4 Disasters

So, you've decided to host the big party this year, and invite everyone to ring in the New Year at your place. You brave soul. Here are four tips to help you avoid some of the most common party pitfalls:

1. Make a planning countdown. You can do a lot of party planning ahead of time, like picking out your outfit, setting up decorations, buying booze, cleaning the silver, etc. That way, you won't leave everything to the day-of, and you won't come up short on time if you have to deal with any unforseen issues. There's nothing worse than being so busy during your own party that you can't enjoy it. Check out this great countdown example from Real Simple.

2. Deal with unwanted guests early. When you start inviting people, do not leave any questions unanswered. If you don't want a certain guest's friend attending, make it clear that only the guest is invited, not his or her "plus one." Be upfront and honest if your budget cannot accommodate or if you're simply avoiding potential drama, but do it early. There's nothing more awkward than a guest having to uninvite his or her friend.

3. Get the party started. We've all been to those uncomfortable events where the party just doesn't feel very festive. Turn on some upbeat dance music and be sure you've introduced people. When you do so, tell them a little piece of trivia about one another that could spark interest ... or at least their curiosity. You may also want to place some simple board games on a table or maybe some conversation starter prompts on index cards to get them talking.

4. Be the responsible one. You can probably guess which of your guests will party too hard at your soirée. Have a plan to hold all guests' keys when they arrive; have a room available if they need to sleep it off and stop pouring drinks if needed. Although you might be annoyed by their behavior, try to be extra accommodating so they don't get upset and try to leave.

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