Parties are great. You get to see old friends, make new ones, eat free food and share a lot of laughs. But as a host or hostess, throwing the party is stressful. There’s always the challenge of having a gluten-free and vegetarian menu, cleaning that pile of junk you’ve been ignoring for months and figuring out whether or not to invite both people from a couple that just broke up. I get it, having people over requires a lot of decisions, so what do you do when you’re serving alcohol but some of the guests don’t drink?
Make sure the time you put into your party makes everyone feel accommodated and comfortable with these six tips.
Create a Theme
Picking a theme for your get-together will allow you to add games to the party to keep drinkers and non-drinkers alike entertained. If it’s outdoors, try bocce ball or volleyball. For an indoor bash, make use of that pool table or dart board in the basement. There’s nothing like a little hand-eye coordination to keep all of your guests engaged in friendly competition.
When the sun goes down, the drinks can really start flowing. Having your party during the day will make alcohol-free guests feel more comfortable. If the party has to be at night, have your Uber app ready so your non-drinking friends don’t get stuck being an impromptu DD.
Pick a menu
Perks of having sober friends at your party: they will appreciate the time you put into your hors d’oeuvres and they won’t care if a dry Riesling is being served with barbecue sauce. As people who aren’t interested in the year the champagne was made, they’ll be sure to pay attention to how perfectly roasted the chicken you spent hours slaving over is. Now is the time to show off your cooking skills, with or without the perfect wine to match.
Non-drinkers might be used to being overshadowed by boozy beverages, so lots of alcohol-free options will make them feel included. The key is to offer drink choices of the same quality. Stock up on bottles of iced tea and soda, and make mocktails so everyone can feel like they’re sipping a fun, fancy drink. Try these creative mocktail ideas, including a non-alcoholic Moscow Mule recipe, or mix a bowl of punch with alcohol on the side for drinkers to spike themselves. A raspberry sherbet punch sounds delicious, doesn’t it?
Create a Playlist
Music is the perfect way to set the ambiance. Think about the theme of your party. What age group, time and menu did you chose? If you’re having a low-key afternoon affair, try coffee house music. Usually Norah Jones or anything acoustic fits well because it allows everyone to talk but can still fill any quiet gaps in the conversation. For something more upbeat with dancing and a bit more drinking, go for Top 40 music or throw it back with some 80s pop tunes. In this situation, creating a playlist isn’t the hard part, it’s making sure there’s a place to sit and talk away from all of the noise. Sober people don’t always enjoy being surrounded by heavily inebriated individuals and blaring loud music.
Then there are family parties with a variation of ages. Search for the playlist “Backyard Family Pool Party” on Spotify, which is filled with a mix of songs ranging from The Police to Flo Rida. Abstaining or indulging, everyone will find something to sing along to.
Gifts for an Alcohol-Free Host
You might be in the habit of giving a host a bottle of wine as a thank you gift. For someone who doesn’t drink, try a bag of coffee. Not coffee drinkers either? Here’s a list of more personal gift ideas for your sober friend.