Some condos, co-ops and apartments might have the option of a community party room you can rent for your soiree. But whether you’re using the community room or your unit, it’s important to check the rules at your building to see if there are designated quiet hours. Make sure to give all your neighbors your phone number and welcome them to call if they feel the noise level is too loud.
Having your party start in the afternoon may be best. A brunch is nice if you have a smaller group. If not, plan to end your party at a reasonable hour to avoid disturbing your neighbors too late in the evening. Put the hours on your invitations — for example, cocktails from 4:30 to 7 p.m. — so your guests know when to politely leave.
In a small space, it will be easiest to provide something simple like appetizers and cocktails, rather than a full meal. Having a tea with cookies is also another simpler idea. Hot cocoa and cookie swap is another idea.
Your friends will be happy to get together with you no matter what you are offering them, and happier that you will likely be more relaxed. This will also make it easier in having to provide a simpler menu.
There are some attractive and affordable nonbreakable glasses and plate choices available. This will also help you with ideas for fun themes or color schemes. Broken glass in tight spaces can be stressful and harmful. No one wants to have to go to the emergency room in the middle of a party because of a broken-glass-related injury.
It’s always easier and more affordable to keep it simple with beverages. Pick one theme drink. For example: coffee, tea, apple cider, a holiday punch, margaritas. You can make a volume of that beverage ahead of time and put that in a drink dispenser. Depending on your group, you can keep it simple by offering beer and wine or just a couple of other choices that you and your friends will enjoy. Just a few options will make easier to serve in a tight space.
If you have a larger crowd coming, you might want to put some of your furniture in temporary storage or another room to allow for more space. You will just need a table or two for food and a bar. Having standing room only will not only increase the capacity of guests you can have, but it will also help facilitate the party ending on time.
Another option is to have a few parties so you can have smaller groups at a time. One for work people, one for relatives, for example.
If you live in the city, street parking can be a challenge, so you will want to look into parking availability at a local garage. Living locally, you will likely know the best garage or parking lot to contact. If not, Parking Panda can be helpful.
If parking is impossible in your neighborhood, you may want to suggest methods of transportation to your guests. Figure out the easiest and most affordable choices like Metro, bus, Uber, Lyft or good old-fashioned taxis, depending on what is easiest in your neighborhood. Make a note of this on your invitation.
Being mindful of your neighbors is very important for peace on the home front. If you anticipate that your party may be loud and long, offer your neighbors the option of coming to the party or spending the night at a hotel at your expense.
Who knows: If you befriend them beforehand, they might share their grandmother’s secret crab dip recipe with you. But more importantly, they might be less likely to call the authorities if you’re disturbing the peace.
Nancy Simmons Starrs is founder and president of Apartment Detectives, a D.C., Maryland and Northern Virginia apartment-search service.