1. Thou shalt have enough food.
You don’t really think you’ll need it. At least part of you is like, “Meh, they’ll just eat alcohol. And if they really need some food later, there’s a McDonald’s not too far away.” But you do need food, and you need it for two reasons: 1. Having food makes the ambiance way more chill, as people have something in their tummies to soak up the booze and something to do with their hands other than dump a Dixie cup down their throats and/or chain smoke. 2. Hungry, drunk people are liable to find food wherever they can get it, including your fridge/cupboard/private stock of Double Stuf Oreos you keep in your sock drawer. They have dolphin-esque echolocation for that shit, and your food will not be safe. Trust.
2. Thou shalt tell people if it is BYOB.
While in a perfect situation, everyone would show up to your event with two bottles of champagne and an enormously grateful smile on their face, we live in the real world. People are cheap as hell and, unless instructed otherwise, liable to arrive with their hands empty and their livers ready to get abused all night long on your dime. To avoid this seriously financially depleting situation, give people a friendly heads-up that they are expected to bring along some booze.
3. Thou shalt warn people of exes.
Do the right thing, bruh. If you have invited two people to your party who only recently stopped exchanging bodily fluids and had to remove each other from social media out of their own self-preservation, let them know. Don’t leave them out in the cold to ruin their whole weekend by running across the person who just ripped their heart out and ate it à la Daenerys during the “he will mount the world” scene. It’s just not a nice thing to do, and you wouldn’t like it to happen to you. Give them the opportunity to politely decline and cry at home in peace.
4. Thou shalt not clean during the party.
Does anything kill the overall ambiance more than having someone walk around with a Hefty bag and a look of general disdain, picking up cups indiscriminately and throwing them away while everyone else is still very much trying to have a good time? It’s basically the most passive-aggressive way to say “You guys are ruining my life and the overall feng shui of my apartment by being here right now, please leave so I can scrub my floors in peace.” No one likes it. Just wait until everyone is gone — or things are at least winding down — and then set to assuaging your OCD.
5. Thou shalt not let people drive drunk.
There’s really not much to say about this, other than letting someone knowingly drive home drunk basically makes you a terrorist, and you need to cut that shit out. Take the dive, out yourself as “uncool,” and take their keys.
6. Thou shalt have enough toilet paper.
Look, I’m not here to live your life for you, but I hope we’re all on the same page about this, as it’s really for your own good. If you don’t provide the people with adequate amounts of easily-accessible toilet paper, someone (and you’ll never find out who) is going to be wiping themselves on a hand towel. Like, the nice people will just shake things off, but someone is going to be way too drunk to afford you that courtesy. And if you didn’t give them options, you brought that fate on yourself.
7. Thou shalt not invite too many people.
You know what your apartment can handle, and if you end up with a million guests-of-guests who totally kill the ambiance, it was most likely because you did not take the precaution of stipulating that plus-ones had to be cleared before and only inviting known chill people. Speaking as someone who only narrowly avoided a fistfight with a complete stranger who called me a “stupid bitch” when I asked her to stop smoking in the middle of the hallway, I highly encourage selective inviting.
8. Thou shalt warn the neighbors.
Although the really unchill neighbors will never be dissuaded by a friendly note from banging on your door at 11:30 and/or calling the cops, most can be won over with a little bit of courtesy and a (semi-genuine) invite for them to come join you for a drink should they be so inclined. It’s just the right thing to do.
9. Thou shalt accept new music.
You dream up the perfect playlist, you cultivate it for days on end, you make sure every last song on it is the perfect mix of pumped-up and chilled-out to create the most ideal ambiance… and then that guy (and we all have that guy) takes it upon himself to go add 10 of the most annoying songs he can come up with in a row. He will take the whole thing over and act as self-appointed DJ Irritating for the rest of the evening, and unless you want to spend the night fighting him — time to just accept the jams that come your way.
10. Thou shalt expect a little damage.
Something is going to get broken, stained, or stolen. Hide your things of value, hope for the best, and resign yourself to at least a few repairs to be made in the morning. Do it right, and you may even avoid the unfortunate “Someone please tell me who stole my iPad because this is really fucking uncool” status in the morning. Maybe.