Parties in the Time of Covid
Tips for Gathering Safely and Sanely
By Laura Hayes, owner of Skippagosh
It’s been a year since the world - and events - shut down. One year since we gathered in people’s homes without wearing a mask. One year since we all stood to watch a bride go down the aisle. And one year since we crammed onto the dance floor and boogied the night away.
Finally, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. The CDC tells us we can safely gather again in small groups, the city is bringing back summer festivals, and we’re all starting to come out of our Covid shells and reenter the world as the number of cases drop and the number of vaccinations rises. I don’t know about you, but I will throw the biggest bash of my life the minute it’s safe to do so. In the meantime, I’m looking forward to returning to some semblance of normal and gathering safely at home with friends this summer. If you are too, here are a few tips to keep you safe and sane as you play the role of the host once again.
Outside is the Best Side
Outdoor events are recommended and we prefer to hang out outside when it’s nice anyway. But it’s no fun when you plan a nice little outdoor event and everything gets ruined by the weather. Often people think about a rain plan, but forget how much damage wind, sun, and humidity can do as well. So, a few tips to keep your party going even when the conditions are less than perfect:
- Use heavy items or weigh down light items. I can’t tell you how many weddings I’ve done where the couple planned to use paper place cards or lightweight signs on easels that sailed away in a breeze. Use small rocks on top of stacks of napkins. Big binder clips will control unruly tablecloths. Duct tape is the best for holding signs on easels and a million other things. It sounds crazy, but after you’ve picked up the sign that fell for the fifth time, you’ll do whatever works.
- Electric candles are your friend. If it’s windy, candles blow out easily, even if they’re enclosed, so if you’re using candles, grab some battery-operated votives and pop them in mercury glass or opaque votive holders. No one will know they’re not real.
- Night will come - be prepared! If you don’t have lighting in your yard, now it’s the time to hang those cute cafe lights you’ve been eyeing. Otherwise, night will fall and suddenly you’ll be stuck fumbling your way to the bathroom. You can also line the walkway with small lanterns to guide the way as well.
- Keep guests comfortable. The elements can be rough, so think about what your guests need and have it ready. If it’s cold, have a stack of blankets by the door. If it’s warm, have bug spray ready for guests. And if it’s sunny, make sure you have plenty of sunscreen. Your guests will appreciate it!
The Biggest, Loudest, Safest Party Ever!
In the past, we didn’t really think about the safety level of the parties we attended, but today, there’s no doubt that it’s the number one concern on the minds of some of your guests. So make them feel comfortable with a few small gestures that can go a long way.
- Set up a hand sanitizing station at the entrance. Guests may or may not use it, but having it shows that you’re thinking about their safety.
- Have plenty of soap and disposable hand towels in the bathroom.
- Serve food and beverages in single-serving portions. Make individual charcuterie trays (or order them from one of the awesome charcuterie makers in the neighborhood) and have them ready for guests when they arrive. For entrees, choose foods that can be wrapped and served individually like hot dogs, sandwiches, etc., and that don’t require sharing portions. For drinks, serve whatever you can in single-serving cans or bottles and pre-mix batches of cocktails so guests don’t have to mix their own.
- If you’re serving food and must do a buffet, have one person (preferably masked and gloved) plating for guests so everyone isn’t breathing on the food as they serve themselves.
- Arrange chairs so they’re spaced out before guests arrive so they don’t have to think about how far away they need to sit before sitting down.
- Disposables are your friend. Whenever possible, use disposable plates, napkins, silverware, etc. Not only will you save yourself a lot of cleanup in the end, but disposables are more Covid-friendly and right now, that’s what matters. (We carry a lot of biodegradable and recyclable party goods at www.skippagosh.com so you can be Covid and Earth-friendly too!)
The most important thing is being with the people you’ve missed seeing this year. Making your gatherings safer will help your family and friends have a wonderful time together. And if you need help, Skippagosh is here! Our mission is to make party planning easy, so reach out and we’ll take it from there. We have plenty of party kits ready to go or we can custom design and plan a party just for you and your guests.
Celebrate - you need it!
Laura Hayes is the owner of Skippagosh, a new online party store located in Beverly. Skippagosh provides full-service party planning, custom party design, curated party kits, and a la carte party supplies with one goal - to make parties easy. You can find their full line of party goods and services at www.skippagosh.com or contact Laura at firstname.lastname@example.org to get the party started.
Photo credit: Rebecca Healy for BAPA