Viewing parties are a great way to get your friends and family together to watch an iconic event.
Whether you’re watching an annual sporting event on TV or gathering to watch a newly released episode of your favourite show, we’re here to help make sure your viewing party impresses your guests.
1. Decide on a budget
Are you hosting the watch party of the year, or keeping things casual by just inviting a few friends over? Make sure you don’t spend more than you bargained for by having a clear budget in mind.
Even hosting a small get together can soon become a big expense. You’ll need to consider food, drink and decoration – plus any additional costs for activities before or after the main event. Buying in a few pizzas for close friends won’t cost nearly as much as a buffet for a dozen people so, when deciding how many people you’re going to invite, do consider how much it’ll cost.
You can always ask guests to contribute, too. Whether you ask each person to bring a dish to share or request guests bring their own drinks, you can keep costs down by getting everyone involved.
2. Send your invites in plenty of time
You don’t need to worry about sending pricey printed invitations for a more casual get together – but you do need to tell people about it in advance.
It’s likely people will start making plans early for events such as Wimbledon or football finals. So, if you’re planning to host a viewing party, make sure you tell people as soon as possible. Simply set up a group chat, send email invitations or message people individually to let them know the time and date of your event. It’s a good idea to let people know what’s expected of them, too – do you want people to bring their own drinks, arrive in fancy dress or simply turn up on the day?
3. Create a welcoming space
Whether you go all-out with bunting and themed decorations or keep things a bit more low-key, it’s important to create a comfortable environment for your guests.
Take this as a good opportunity to tidy and clean your main living spaces ready for the party. If you don’t have enough sofa space, arrange pillows or blankets on the floor so there are plenty of places for guests to sit.
4. Prep food ahead of time
It’s tempting to procrastinate but try to avoid having to cook during the event itself. You could miss a vital moment of a live event if you’re too busy taking sausage rolls out of the oven!
Choose food you can prepare in the morning or even the night before and simply leave in the fridge until you’re ready to eat.
You could even ask guests to bring a dish to share, so you aren’t responsible for the full feast. A themed Bake Off-style competition to kick off the watch party always goes down a treat, too.
5. Talk to your neighbours
It’s a good idea to give your neighbours some advance warning if you’re hosting a watch party. It’s likely there’ll be more cars in the street, and possibly a bit more noise if you’re having guests over. So it’s polite to let those around you know what to expect. They might even be keen to come along to your party, too!
6. Test your equipment
It sounds unnecessary, but it’s always a good idea to double check your TV and audio are working ahead of a viewing party. If you have a simple set-up, you can skip this step. But, if you’re trying to sync several speakers or creating different viewing areas, you might want to check everything’s working as it should be before guests start arriving.
Testing your set-up is non-negotiable if you’re trying out technology you haven’t used before. It’s becoming more and more popular to set up projectors for outdoor watch parties and, while this could create a great atmosphere for guests, no one wants an awkward tech malfunction once the game or show has already started.
7. Plan activities around the main event
Make a day of it by planning some fun activities before or after the event you’re all there to watch. A ping-pong tournament after the Wimbledon final or a round of karaoke before Eurovision, anyone?
Be prepared for how you’ll spend any breaks, too. Perhaps you can run a cocktail (or mocktail) making session or replay classic moments from the event you’re watching for a hit of nostalgia.
8. Set up a space for socialising
Not all of your guests will want to watch the whole event from start to finish. Tennis matches, for example, can last for hours and you don’t want guests to feel restless.
Create a quiet zone in your kitchen or spare room for guests to mingle away from the heart of the action. Set up some board games or have background music playing to allow people to socialise and chat without disturbing those wanting to focus on the event.
Will you be hosting a viewing party this season?
We’d love to hear about it. As we’ve discussed, you don’t need to spend a fortune to host a fun watch party with friends or family. It’s all about budgeting carefully and finding ways to compromise, so you can all enjoy the event from the comfort of your home without splashing too much cash. Follow us on Facebook to share any other top tips with us!