In just two days, the Los Angeles Rams and New England Patriots kick off Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta, and if you haven’t started planning your Super Bowl party, it’s time.
Whether you’re a die-hard football fan or just tuning in for the commercials and halftime show, the Super Bowl has a little something for everyone, which makes for a fun party. From the food and drinks to the prop bets, games and decorations, planning an event your friends and family will love is no easy task.
If this is your first time hosting a party for the biggest sporting event of the year, there are some major guidelines you’ll want to follow. And veteran party planner Diana Romero and owner of At Your Side Planning has professional guidance to consider.
Do: Make sure you’re able to watch the game live or properly stream it. You might want to borrow a few TVs or use a projector for multiple watch areas if you’re planning many guests.
Don’t: Illegally stream the game. Chances are you’ll be buffering through all the good parts, and oh yeah, it’s illegal.
If you do try to up your game with a projector or multiple screens, make sure you understand the technology.
“Be familiar with what you have on hand,” Romero said. “If something breaks and you can’t fix it, then you’re in trouble.”
Do: Have plenty of seating. Camping and folding chairs are solid additions to go with couches and recliners, and there’s always throw-pillow floor seating.
Don’t: Allow pets on the seating areas. Not everyone loves your dog or cat as much as you. Your pet may run the house 364 days a year, but not on Super Bowl Sunday.
Do: Invite Saints fans. Just because they lost in tragic fashion in the NFC Championship doesn’t mean they don’t want to watch the Super Bowl.
Don’t: Invite Saints fans. (On second thought, it’s best to just leave them alone until next season.)
Do: Make the food spread accessible. Your guests will be snacking all day, so make it easy on them and yourself. Romero advises hosts to first create a layout of where things will be, but most importantly, “have the food area set up comfortably and efficiently” with plates and cutlery first, then food.
“Dessert and drinks should be in another area,” Romero added, in order to keep lines from backing up.
And she stressed the importance of keeping hot food warmer than 163 degrees.
“A big problem I’ve seen is keeping food out for a long time,” which could lead to your guests getting sick.
Don’t: Be cruel. Whether it’s a New Year’s resolution or a dietary restriction, not all of your guests are able to eat classics such as wings, pizza and buffalo chicken dip. Make sure you have options for those who are gluten-free, vegetarian or lactose-intolerant. No one should go hungry on Super Bowl Sunday.
Do: Encourage guests to BYOB. It’s great to have options, but not everyone wants to try your homemade beer or wine you made in the garage.
Don’t: Forget to label cups. The “we’re all friends/family” defense only goes so far for some.
Do: Decorate! It doesn’t have to be extravagant, but a little goes a long way. Romero said it makes the party “personalized.” Football-themed plates and napkins are affordable and available at most local stores.
Don’t: Worry too much. While the fancy recipes and decorations are a nice touch, the real focus for everyone will be on the screen.
Do: Have other activities planned. Prop bets and the Super Bowl squares game, for example, are easy classics that literally pay off.
Don’t: Toss a football in the house. Not to sound like your mother, but you don’t want to be the guy who breaks an heirloom, or worse, the TV.
Do: Buy toilet paper in bulk.
Don’t: Use real plates. Disposable tableware will save you time in clean-up. Work smart, not hard.