Super Bowl Sunday is days away. And if you want more from your party than the standard greasy food and too much beer, party-planning experts recommend getting together a good playbook.
I love Super Bowl parties because theyre laid back in nature, said Lu Curran, owner of the Toronto-based event-planning business Style by Lu. But a laid-back party doesnt mean you have to ignore the elements that make a party good.
FOOD & DRINK
A Super Bowl party isnt complete without a good spread. Curran likes to use food as a conversation piece, setting up various bars for people to customize their options.
You could do a Bloody Mary bar with juicy pickles, string beans, asparagus and lots of different spices, or have a beer tasting with brews that are local to the teams locations, she said. It gives people something to talk about other than football.
Staples such as chili, hot dogs and nachos are still good options. Just set out all of the toppings for people to fix themselves, which also keeps things easy.
Creator of the website catchmyparty.com Jillian Tohber Leslie applies the concept of bars to a menu item often overlooked at sports parties: the dessert. You can have guests make their own sundaes or put out football-shaped sugar cookies for the kids to decorate, she said.
Keeping it simple is also important. People dont expect everything. And if you try to focus on everything, then you wont do anything well, Curran said. She suggests limiting the beverage options to a few key players, such as a signature drink with two other types of alcohol.
Forget the mass-produced Super Bowl decorations.
Brittany Schwaigert, owner of the boutique Memphis, Tenn.-area event and design company GreyGrey Designs, incorporates actual pieces of football equipment into her event.
Shes used helmets for chip bowls, safety cones for plate risers and even AstroTurf-style artificial grass for tablecloths and coasters. (You can buy easy-to-cut sheets at any home-improvement store.)
Curran likes to make her decorations interactive, such as laying out chalkboard paper (available at craft stores) with yard and so people can write out their own plays. Its these small embellishments throughout that tie the theme together. Youd be surprised how people notice the little things, she said.
Tohber Leslie depends on free printable files available through her site to give that extra level of detail.
She suggests taping the small labels to lollipop sticks or wooden skewers and sticking them in food which could be something as low-maintenance as store-bought cupcakes.
Of course, the game is center stage, which makes timing when the party starts important. Curran recommends starting the party at least one hour before kickoff, which gives people time to mingle and settle in with a drink. People who are serious about football dont want to talk when the game is on, she explained.
And dont forget about the young kids who dont know a lineman from a quarterback. Its always a good idea to organize activities for them to occupy themselves, Curran said. A few ideas: set up a coloring or craft station, let the kids make their own pizzas or buy blank cupcakes for them to decorate.
A sitter is also a great investment if you can afford it. Curran suggests finding a neighborhood teenager to wrangle the kids.
For those adults not into the halftime show, Schwaigert recommends getting guests moving with your own football game outside (weather permitting) or setting up beanbag game inside.
Whatever you choose for your Super Bowl party, remember that its supposed to be a relaxed event which should translate to low pressure for the host.
Whats most important is coming together, sharing an experience and enjoying friends, said Tohber Leslie. For the host, its all about creating the environment and doing it without killing yourself.