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How to host an unforgettable family party

Family get-togethers are the perfect opportunity to catch up with loved ones, let your hair down and make memories that will be cherished for years to come.

But we get that if you’re the one that’s hosting such a reunion, the thought of planning, prepping, and ensuring everything goes without a hitch might be a little daunting.

That’s why we’ve put together this 7-step guide to help you host a family party that will go down as well as our Founder’s Reserve smooth scotch whisky. So, whether you’re hosting a brunch party or have a vision of a casual outdoor garden party at twilight, take a look at our top tips and whisky cocktail recipes to help get you started.

Pick your theme

First things first you’ll want to settle on a theme for your family party. This will help tie every aspect of the event together and make it an occasion that none of your guests will forget.

Several factors might help you with this. For example, if the event is for a specific reason such as a birthday, anniversary, Christmas or New Year’s, this might make it easier. You’ll also need to consider how many people you intend to invite and what space you have available. If it’s a large crowd, then setting your party outdoors could work well, whereas if it’s 5 or 6 people, a more intimate setting around the dining table may be a better choice.

Also, consider the time of year and the weather when picking your theme. The rain could put a literal damper on things if you’re outside with no cover whilst guests might not appreciate having to wear black tie if it’s 30°C!

If you’re stuck for ideas, the following suggestions might give you some inspiration:

  • Back garden beach – Whack out the sun loungers, blow up some inflatable palm trees and serve up refreshing cocktails, complete with mini umbrellas, of course.
  • Night at the casino – Think red carpet entrance, a roulette wheel, and a black and white dress code.
  • The roaring 20s – Step back a hundred years into a world of opulence and decadence, complete with classic Old Fashioned cocktails. Opt for gold décor and set your event to the music of the era from the likes of Louis Armstrong and Bing Crosby.
  • Funhouse – turn your home into a circus with balloons, bright lights, and classic games. Give your guests a ticket for entry and serve up snacks such as candy floss and popcorn.
  • Disco nights – Get everyone to don their best 70s look, hang up a disco ball and dance the evening away to your favourite funky tunes.

In the jungle – Decorate with plenty of plants and add in pops of animal print. When it comes to food and drinks, opt for bold, fierce, and tropical flavours.

Make a menu to match

Once you’ve set your theme, the next step is to decide what food will complement it. Just like with the theme, you’ll need to factor in how many people are coming. Other considerations will include your budget, your cooking skills, available prep time, any dietary requirements you need to keep in mind and how you will dish up the food.

For example, if your family party coincides with Burns Night, then a traditional Burns Night menu of haggis, neeps and tatties is sure to go down a treat. Whereas if your get-together is more low-key, then a whisky and cheese menu might align with the vibe without compromising on flavour. Pick 5 or 6 cheeses, each with a The Glenlivet whisky to match and set it out charcuterie style complete with fresh fruits, chutneys, and crackers. 

Invite your guests

Now you’ve ironed out the key details, it’s time to invite your family to the party. Depending on the type of event you’re going for, this could simply be done via text or email. However, if you want things to be a little more formal, why not design a paper invite that matches the party’s theme and send it old school through the post? Everyone loves to receive mail that isn’t a bill!

Be sure to include the time, date, and location of the party, as well as if there’s a dress code or if you want your guests to bring anything. Don’t forget to ask your invitees to RSVP so you know how many will be coming. To include your guests in the planning, you could even ask them to include a song request with their reply so that you can put together a playlist for the occasion that everyone will love.

Organise entertainment or games

No party is complete without a little fun and frivolity. You can add to the merriment by organising some entertainment or planning some simple games. Music is a good place to start. If you’ve got the time, then a playlist that matches the theme is ideal, but if not, have a search of ready-made playlists online, or even the radio will add some pleasant background noise.

When it comes to entertainment and games, you can get as creative as you like! For example, if you are having a tiki-themed party, then a game of limbo is sure to get some laughs. If your party is a festive one, then gingerbread house decorating could add a competitive edge to things and give your guests a tasty snack for later.

Set the mood

Before your guests arrive, you’ll want to decorate your space and create the right ambience for your party. This doesn’t have to cost the Earth; there are plenty of ways to make things look great on a budget.

If you’re hosting a dinner party, a crisp table runner and some lit candles will add elegance. A garden BBQ, however, can be levelled up with a string of coloured fairy lights and cosy blankets laid out ready for when the sun goes down.

Craft your cocktails

The drinks you serve at your party are a great way to keep the theme alive, showcase your mixology skills and get your guests to try something new. You could have a round ready for when guests arrive or set up a station so that they can serve themselves.

There are plenty of delicious whisky cocktail recipes to choose from. For instance, The Glenlivet watermelon whisky cocktail is perfect to cool things down on a hot summer’s day. A ginger hot toddy, however, is ideal for chasing away the chill at a Bonfire Night gathering.

We also have a selection of batch cocktails which are perfect drinks for groups.

Have a good time!

It can be easy to get caught up with being the host with the most but whatever you do, don’t forget to enjoy yourself. Savour the good food, the great company and The Glenlivet cocktails. Tidying up can wait until later!

Discover more exciting whisky cocktail recipes from The Glenlivet including 2-ingredient whisky cocktails and warm whisky drinks. Been invited to a whisky pairing dinner? Don’t turn up empty-handed! Instead, take a look at our guide on what to bring to a dinner party.