By Caleb Lunetta
Signal Senior Staff Writer
They say football stole Sunday from the church, so it’s best to make your NFL season kickoff party count.
This year, the National Football League is starting its season Sept. 9, so whether you’re gearing up for a weekday party or a weekend-long celebration that starts with Friday night lights, the time is almost upon us. And the time to start getting ready is now.
As the coolers emerge, the party trays are taken from storage and televisions are re-aligned, be prepared for when guests come over.
According to local party planners, nothing says “we’re having a great event” like sending out invitations beforehand, regardless of if you’re sending them to fellow supporters of your team or fans of your arch-rivals.
“First of all, you’re not going to want to send your invitations out a week before, you want (your guests) to know more than a week in advance,” said Ali Brown, the owner of Touch of Gray Event Rentals & Design.
“Invitations in advance, especially whether or not they’re more decorative,” said Amy Spalding, owner of Event Highlights. “Or if you really want to go all out, ask people to dress for their teams, give out a prize for the biggest fanatic at the party.”
The invitation, Brown said, not only lets people know what to wear, but it also alludes to a far more important detail: food and drink.
“The difference is in terms of the formality of the event — not meaning necessarily that this is a formal event — but when you’re sending out an invitation, you’re now hosting the party,” said Brown, went commenting on the difference between creating an invitation and sending it out versus is sending out a text message to some friends in a group chat. “You are now the host and in my professional opinion, you’re then providing everything for the party; guests are just showing up to have a nice time.”
“If you’re just sending out a group message, it’s much more casual,” Brown added. “Maybe you’re bringing a six pack of beer, they’re pitching in maybe on providing food, bringing some snacks.”
The invitations play into the next two portions, according to the experts: pulling the theme through and being prepared.
Preparation and Theme
“Pull your theme all the way through, meaning if it’s going to be based on the color of your favorite team, you can pull that all the way through with small details,” said Brown. “In your bathroom, if you have like colored napkins or a colored floral arrangement or something in there is a nice tough. If you have a little bar, have a bar sign with just kind of what you have available.”
“You’re pulling the theme all the way through from start to finish, from the invitation all the way through down to the smallest detail,” said Brown.
Additionally, this theme can be present even in the presentation around the living room and television.
“If you’re going to decorate, keep it simple,” said Jeannie Wagner, a former party planner in the Santa Clarita Valley. “Put a couple of maybe some footballs on the table, maybe some mini footballs sprinkled around.”
Preparation, according to Brown, is critical in order to get the job done and “pulling the theme through.”
“It’s always about preparation, preparing things in advance, so that you’re able to enjoy your own event, which I think is the hardest thing for people to do when they throw an event,” said Brown. “It’s because people are always busy working getting the food ready and things like that. So have everything prepared in advance so you’re not trying to cook or make food while you’re trying to enjoy the party.”
Food & entertainment
No party for the big game is really complete without some offering of food — whether it be chips or hors d’oeuvre with a main course. And for those old enough, beer and alcohol can be synonymous with having fun during the game, should it be enjoyed responsibly.
“I will tell you that for any Super Bowl party (or game day party), food and lots of alcohol,” said Wagner. “I would say you do chips, chili dips, bowls of whatever, have it out for people to snack on.”
Wagner also suggested, in addition to finger foods, make sure there’s games such as cornhole or foosball or other types of alcohol and entertainment available so that those that aren’t necessarily engaged with the game can still have fun.
Brown even suggested searching out for companies that rent out those types of outdoor games, and Spalding suggested making themed foods and deserts.
“My family, there are a lot of University of Nebraska fans, and so we do a lot of red Rice Krispies treats, just to make it fun and everything,” said Spalding.
Other suggestions for a fun party included coming up with a betting pool, having game prizes throughout, and putting television(s) were everyone can see them easily while still being able to enjoy the game at the level they want to.
But whether using a cooler or a fridge, chips or steak kebabs, watching the game or not, keep the food refrigerated until ready to eat, the beer cold and make sure people get home safely.
Because it’s game time.