Say no to FOMO: The dummy’s guide to throwing a party

Follow these tips and you'll have your party guests jumping for joy.
Follow these tips and you’ll have your party guests jumping for joy. Photo by Sarah Bibi Gainer.

Like getting into a crowded subway car, you’d think throwing a party would be something New Yorkers could handle on their own by now. Yet, much like how you have to yell at that clueless bro to MOVE THE EFF INTO THE MIDDLE OF THE CAR, too often you find yourself at a Brooklyn party that’s about as well thought out as as Budweiser millennial marketing campaign. This is New York City and we have high standards for parties: one false move and your event will be the cause of exodus, as displeased partygoers slip out the door on the hunt for a place that isn’t just six people sitting around a coffee table playing Cards Against Humanity. So here in the age of intense FOMO fear, Brokelyn provides this public service, your basic primer of How to Throw a Party. If some of these tips are excruciatingly obvious to you, great — send it to your less-capable friends as a gentle nudge to get their party game on top of a fleek.

And tune in to part 2, How to attend a party in New York City in 2015, tomorrow!

First, qualifications: I throw decent parties; maybe you’ve been to one, maybe you haven’t, maybe we didn’t invite you on purpose. I’ve been known to hijack parties to make them better by relocating speakers and turning up music, forcing shots on slumpy guests or just moving locations entirely (whyyy would you invite you hipster trash friends to a birthday party in a bro’d out dance club?). And my apartment has a goddamned disco ball in it. Party references available upon request.

There look that wasn't that hard. Via Joe Veix.
There look that wasn’t that hard. Via Joe Veix.


Create a Facebook invite

Hey, you hate Facebook? Congratulations! Pack your resolve in a briefcase and stand in front of Mark Zuckerberg’s tank in MySpace square. No one caresssss. Just make a Facebook invite for your party. It’s easy, it’s omnipresent, and it gives everyone an update if you change any information about the party (ie: Tim Donnelly updated his event to say “after consultations with the local authorities, it turns out we can’t shut down the street for a moonbounce without a permit after all”).

Like it or hate it, the Facebook event is simple: it tells you who’s going to the party, what time it starts, provides the address (which opens in something called a Bing map, “Bing” of course being short for ” ‘bing able to copy this address into Google Maps), and provides a clearinghouse forum for important discussions of party details (“will the party still be going after I get off my shift at the thinkpiece factory at 2 a.m.?”)  or amusing pre-party banter (“i guess it’s time to reanimate the saddest jellyfish in the world” — actual recent FB party comment)


• Basic information: start time, and your address. Yes, all night parties in Brooklyn generally start around “party time, an atomic standard temporal measurement generally considered to be 10 p.m., but OCD people in your life need to know exactly when to show up or they might die waiting in front of your door at 4:30 p.m.

• Information about the closest liquor/beer stores, especially if there isn’t an obvious bodega nearby. Otherwise you suffer the fate of watching people walk into your home empty handed, with the statement “sorry we couldn’t find a liquor stor … hey look jameson!” All brokester parties are always BYOB.

• How to get into your apartment: which buzzer to push, which phone number to call so your guests don’t offend your neighbors by screaming your name up into the night like your crazy ex.

This is what an email looks like.
This is what an email looks like.

Send an email too

Hey, your friends hate Facebook! Good for them. Unless you are a lunatic with pictures of all of your friends taped to your dresser mirror with Sharpie notes written all over them, you probably have no idea which of your friends left Facebook and which of them have abandoned New York completely in favor of some sort of inter-dimensional nether region (or like San Francisco or something). Just send an email to everyone with the same exact details as the Facebook invite. When addressing it, this next rule is crucial:

Use BCC!

Your friends think their snarky joke about your party is genius, and you’ve just given them a captive audience. Reply all abuse will certainly be the downfall of our generation, hysterical naked hipsters screaming in an echo chamber at each other about Jeff’s vaguely misogynistic brunch joke. Just use BCC and stave off downfall for at least a few more weekends.

Update your Facebook and email messages a day or two or three before the party with a friendly, quick reminder: hey this is happening! Come if you want, delete this shit if you don’t, it’s not my problem, technology has lots of mute buttons these days.


Oh shit now you’ve actually got people coming over. Are you even close to ready to host them? Did you assume party supplies just grow on trees like magic fucking alcohol-filled coconuts? Well I got news for you pal, parties take work. But relax, it’s not that much work.

You need it! Your dinky ice trays won’t do the trick. Almost every bodega carries ice. Purchase a bag and shove it in your freezer. No one ever thinks to get ice. Be better than no one.

You need it! Your cold soundless apartment just reminds people of the sucking vacuum of loneliness that is outside. Plus that new Joey Bada$$ is fiiiire. Get some speakers that you can hear over the din of a bustling party (no, your little iPod dock probably won’t do, nor will your computer speakers, unless they’re boss speakers, or Bose). Make a playlist: you don’t have to stick to it all night, but set the tone for the party. Important, controversial note here:

You’re too broke to pay for a Spotify or Pandora membership, and we feel you. That does not however give you the license to subject your party guests to those streaming ads from the free Spotify service. We came to your party to escape our troubles, not be reminded every fifth song that McDonald’s has killed so many cows they now have to offer iced coffee at their McCafe locations.

Make a ye old-fashioned iTunes playlist, get a record player, burn some CDRs if you have to, anything but letting the evil serpent of advertising slither into your happy party garden.

Maybe you don’t like dancing, maybe you are the tiny town from Footloose, but odds are you invited some cool people to your soiree who will want to crank the tunes in and shake it off the doldrums of the square world. Be prepared to clear some space for them.


You have surely followed our suggestions above and told your guests to BYOB this affair. Great, now get beer and booze anyway. Some of them won’t listen, some of them will forget, some of them are just jerks. This is your party and if you don’t have at least a starter supply of booze to get things going, you might as well move your party to Charles Cheeseford’s Temperance Saloon.

Roll with your homies.
Roll with your homies.

Rolling papers
Be a good host, have some handy. Inform people of the appropriate areas of where to smoke which kinds of products. As host of the party, you are entitled to a Choom Gang-style interception whenever you like. If anyone steps to you on this, tell them it’s your party, and that move is sanctioned by the goddamned president.

Toilet papers
You do not want to run out of toilet paper. Buy some and fully stock your bathroom. Nothing kills the mood more than a stained hand reaching out from the door crack.

The official hashtag
Much like your maybe-aversion to Facebook mentioned above, you might hate hashtags, but they’re damned useful, especially when you’re trying to scroll through instagram the next day to piece together the night. We have yet to come so far/fall so far as a society that we have established rules about when a party hashtag is needed. So here, I’ll take a stab at it: any party with more than 25 people should have a hashtag. Make it clever but not too long or with words that are hard to remember to spell when drunk (Quinceañera, for example). If it’s just you and six friends sitting around the Small Apartment Party (see below), you can Rashomon your game of Cards Against Humanity through Instagram I guess, but you’re better off just not.



A party, like a good water well or crock pot chili, needs some priming before it can run on auto-pilot. As party host, this is your job to staticly charge your party guests so they don’t just lie on your carpet like Muppets with no hand in their butts.

Drinks in hands
Make sure someone has one when they come in, make sure hands are full of booze for at least the first hour or two. The first two hours of a party are crucial: that’s when it’s your responsibility to party trouble shoot: does the music suck? Does someone need to get ice? Did some neighborhood gangs turn your apartment into a Weird Science esque melee? Take care of it.

You are the default DJ for the night
Stay on top of your jams! if your playlist accidentally switches to your self-recorded Holzier cover album, jump on that shit like condo developers jump on a beloved neighborhood institution. You must be a party X-Man, whose mutant power is sensing barely perceptible changes in party tone that other partygoers don’t notice. Keep the mood up!

You know the feeling.
You know the feeling.

Beware the curse of the Small Apartment Party
New York City apartments are small and we’re faced with the challenge of maximizing the space, like modern day Native Americans over so much apartment buffalo. But! Don’t fall into the trap of the Small Apartment Party. You know the one we mean: where everyone just kinda mills around your living room coffee table, maybe while the TV plays something on mute, sipping at their drinks until they finish just to have an excuse to get up to get another. This is not quite a “party,” but rather a gussied up hang out sesh.

You’re better than this! Think creatively about how to better use your space: move the coffee table and make a dance floor (see above dancing section). Bust out a game that is not Cards Against Humanity (yes, the time has come to declare this game basic): try truth or dare Jenga perhaps? Most importantly: Don’t turn on your TV! It’s an attention suck that draws eyes away from the party. Take turns smashing your TV with a bat made out of overdue bill notices; use the shards to cut up drugs or something.

Those Instagrams do.
Those Instagrams do.


Once the party is revved up and charged like a toy car on a table, relax! Have faith in your party momentum and let it gooooo. At a certain point in the evening, no one will care if the ice bucket is refilled, and everyone is on their own to find room to stash beer in the fridge. Be available to troubleshoot the party, but from here out you are allowed to be as blotto as Otto.

You are the mascot for your own party, Mr. Met the Brooklynettes and King Henry all rolled up into one. If you don’t look like you’re having a good time, you’re basically telling your guests: even I’m not buying this shit today.

Oh but Bushwick is so far away.
Oh but Bushwick is so far away.


People will leave items at your party, because you threw a good party and they got good and properly drunk. This is especially an issue during the winter. You by no means have a responsibility to hang on to these items forever. Post in your Facebook event page (the party guests will still get the updates if they haven’t turned them off already) about which items need to be claimed; hold them for one week unless other arrangements have been made and then donate the rest.

Check back  tomorrow for part 2, how to attend a party in New York City in 2015.


  1. great guide, all spot on. i’d add a couple things:

    food: have some, and not just a sad plate of chips and dimp. a range of salty/sweet/crunchy/chewy is good.
    rsvps: the idea of rsvping is kind of broken for promiscuous millenials, which makes planning supplies/food/some drinks/space/invitees a bit tough. on fb, i go by a ‘no’ or unresponsive is definitely no, a ‘maybe’ is ‘i support you in this, but probably no’, and a ‘yes’ as ‘probably.’ not sure how to fix this, but inviting 4-5x as many people as can actually fit in your apt seems to work out.

    • food is definitely a good tip: even a bowl of pretzels is like a magic shield that helps prevent your guests from getting too wastey faced. Definitely for a party that involves supplies (dinner, special drinks, entertainment etc) asking for solid RSVPs is key.

  2. gbaby

    ICE, Invite tactics, and JAMs sans McD ads are all crucial!! if nothing else follow these and your party will be killer, no doubt — hastags are also brilliant to keep forum of belligerent memories

  3. Hey,
    What about party starting? Like, OK, me and my roommate have set up, were ready. Then one person shows up. OMG WTF. Like the invite says 9 so you expected people to start rolling in MAYBE at 9:45. But someone is always the first and the first is always awkward.

    Side note, does this mean you have to sit around like jackass from 9 to 9:45? Like it would be completely gauche to not be prepared by 9, but you really dont expect anyone then. I already played a bunch of Sudoku on the train ride home.

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