Year of the House Party

We've proclaimed 2009 Year of the House Party. Facility rental rates can average 25% of more of your event budget. While it's possible to negotiate very low rates owing to the economy, there's still no escaping the fact that hosting your party at home may be even more cost-efficient. Remember to consider not only the facility rental rate, but the add-on items too.
Obviously this won't work for large parties, where parking is an issue or when noise levels may disrupt neighbors (unless you invite them too!), but for smaller cocktail parties, we can easily roll back the calendar and party at home just as we did in the late '80's-early '90's.
$500 for a banquet room could be applied to cleaning and decorating your own garage, basement or yard. What's more is that these are benefits that you can enjoy long after the party ends. Fresh plants are inexpensive and make excellent space fillers. Drape your curtains to create cozy vignettes small groups can huddle and mingle. Prepare your signature appetizer and have the rest catered. Hire a DJ if you expect people to dance. We say this knowing full well that you're tempted to break out the iPod. There's no replacement for a professional who can read the crowd and play the music that'll keep them moving. You're iPod is good, but can you guarantee that it'll entertain the majority? Have one show piece. It might be the decorations. It might be a killer cocktail. It might be a fun activity. Whatever it is, let there be no doubt that though you've saved on the cost of a room, you put your heart into everything else.
A few closing tips, based on our experiences with house parties: (1) Beware women with worn heels if you have wood floors. (2) Close off, maybe even lock, rooms where guests have no business going. (3) Hire a bartender. S/he will monitor consumption and behavior. (4) Make peace, in advance, with the reality that something is bound to get broken.