Tips for Gathering Safely and Sanely
By Laura Hayes
It’s been a year since the world – and events – shut down. A year since we gathered in people’s homes without wearing a mask. A year since we stood to watch a bride go down the aisle. A year since we crammed onto a dance floor and boogied the night away.
Finally, there is light at the end of the tunnel. The CDC tells us we can safely gather in small groups, and we’re starting to come out of our COVID shells and reenter the world as the number of cases drop and the number of vaccinations rises. I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to returning to some semblance of normal and gathering safely with friends. If you are too, here are a few tips for staying safe and sane as you play the host.
Outside is the Best Side
Outdoor events are recommended and we prefer to hang out outside when it’s nice anyway. But it’s no fun when you plan an outdoor event and it gets ruined by the weather. Often people think about rain, but forget how much damage wind, sun, and humidity can cause. Here are ideas to keep your party going when the conditions are less than perfect:
Use heavy items or weigh down light items. I can’t tell you how many I’ve seen paper place cards or lightweight signs on easels sail away in a breeze. Place small rocks on top of stacks of napkins. Big binder clips will control unruly tablecloths. Duct tape is the best for holding signs on easels and a million other things.
If it’s windy, use battery-operated candles. Pop votives in mercury glass or opaque holders, and no one will know they’re not real.
Be prepared for nightfall! If you don’t have outdoor lighting, hang those cute cafe lights you’ve been eyeing and line the walkway with small lanterns.
Be ready to keep guests comfortable. If it’s cold, have a stack of blankets by the door. If it’s warm, have bug spray ready for guests. If it’s sunny, have plenty of sunscreen.
Safest Party Ever!
In the past, we didn’t really think about the safety level of the parties, but today, it’s the number one concern on the minds of some guests. Make them feel comfortable with a few small gestures.
Set up a hand sanitizing station. Guests may or may not use it, but having it shows that you’re thinking about their safety.
Have plenty of soap and disposable hand towels in the bathroom.
Serve food and beverages in single-serving portions. Make individual charcuterie trays (or order them from one of the awesome charcuterie makers in the neighborhood). For entrees, choose foods that can be wrapped and served individually and don’t require sharing. For drinks, serve whatever you can in single-serving cans or bottles and pre-mix batches of cocktails so guests don’t have to mix their own.
If you must do a food buffet, have one person (preferably masked and gloved) plating so guest aren’t serving themselves.
Arrange chairs so they’re spaced out and guests don’t have to think about how far away they need to be before sitting down.
Whenever possible, use disposable plates, napkins, silverware, etc. Biodegradable and recyclable party goods are available, including through Skippagosh at www.skippagosh.com so you can be COVID–safe and Earth-friendly.
The most important thing is being with the people you’ve missed seeing in the past year. If you need help, Skippagosh can help make party planning easy with party kits that are ready to go or custom designed party plans.
Celebrate –– you need it!
Laura Hayes is the owner of Skippagosh which provides full-service party planning, custom party design, curated party kits, and a la carte party supplies with one goal – to make parties easy. Info: www.skippagosh.com or contact Hayes at firstname.lastname@example.org.