Fun with Friends: Plan the Perfect Night In
If there’s anything that we’ve learned in the last couple of years, it’s that taking the time for real connection, rather than overcomplicating plans, is what’s truly important. Staying at home may not sound like the most exciting night, but when you’re with your closest friends, there are plenty of ways that you can create a warm and welcoming atmosphere for a long overdue hangout.
Whether you all live in the same neighborhood or only have the chance to spend time together a couple of times a year, planning a friends night can be a real challenge. Printfresh team members Christiane and Jessica recently enjoyed a mini pajama party, and we're sharing tips on how to make the most of both the planning process as well as your get-together!
“As much of a planner as I am, it’s really overwhelming to plan what to do and find the right mix of doing things and catching up.” – Amy Voloshin, founder
If you can relate to founder Amy’s sentiment, read on for 5 of our best tips for planning a night in with friends.
1. Make a plan for the rest of the family
When you haven’t seen your friends for a long time, the last thing that you need is interruptions. Once you have a date on the calendar, let your partner know that you’ll need them to be out of that house that evening. If you have kids, make plans for sending them off for a night of fun themselves.
As the host, you’ll want to make sure that the house is quiet and empty for you to prep everything you need and not have to worry about keeping your family entertained once your guests have arrived. If you plan ahead, you might even have room for a little time to yourself before the party gets started!
2. Create a cozy space
There’s nothing like walking into someone’s home to the scent of fresh flowers, candles, and even some warm cookies on the kitchen counter. You want your friends to feel relaxed in your space, as if it were their own, so take a few minutes to tidy everything up, fluff the pillows, and put out a few comfy blankets for later in the evening. If you live in a shoe-free house, consider having a basket of slippers at the front door so your friends don’t have to walk around barefoot all evening.
That being said, don’t worry too much about decorations or making sure your house is spotless. You may be looking at your scuffed walls, but chances are your guests won’t notice them.
3. Keep the food and drinks simple
You don’t want to be stuck in the kitchen all night and miss out on quality time with your friends. An assortment of snacks, a charcuterie board or a tapas-style meal is the perfect way to make sure that there’s something everyone likes and requires very little effort on your part.
Simple, shareable food that can stay on the table throughout the night is also a great excuse for pulling out your prettiest serving dishes (when was the last time you used those?).
For friends who love to cook, you could even suggest that everyone bring a sharing dish. Creating a simple theme for your dinner will help to make sure everything works together. Whether it’s holiday favorites, comfort classics, or even a go-to style from the earliest days of your friendship, there’s nothing better than a chance to bond over your culinary creations.
4. Pick a fun activity
Again, this is all about keeping it simple. As Amy says: “Less is more when it comes to hanging out with friends in my opinion. During my last girls night in, we had the most fun when we were basically doing nothing at all!”
If there’s a board game that your friend group enjoys playing, pull it out of the closet before everyone arrives, or have a few comfy robes, facemasks, and nail polish options out on the table for an at-home spa night.
5. Don’t forget the camera
Making memories and connecting with your favorite people is the ultimate goal for your evening, but it’s always nice to capture at least a photo or two of the evening. And that doesn’t mean you need to be on your phone all night. We all have a friend that’s better at documenting special moments, so give them the job of taking pictures.
Or, make pictures an activity by having an old-school Polaroid camera or a Fujifilm Instax on hand. That way, everyone can take part and even have a small gift to take home from your time together. Instant camera shots also make a great personal touch when you send holiday cards later on.
Let us know in the comments below how you enjoy a night in with friends!