Of all the things the average party organizer wants to be thinking about, potential legal issues probably don’t make the top of the list. Nevertheless, there is no faster way to bring the celebration to an abrupt and unpleasant end than an unplanned emergency that could have been avoided with a few basic preparatory steps. So what should a party thrower look out for before the guests arrive?

Collect the Keys

There is no faster path to financial ruin than having the cops show up after a guest plows through a shopping center with a blood alcohol level of .37 and an invitation to your party in the passenger seat. With all the services and alternatives to having buzzed guests driving home from your gathering, there really isn’t an excuse to allow it to happen. The price for that first drink should be a set of car keys, returnable only to designated drivers or the vehicle’s owner the following day.


If you live in a city, check with the police department in advance if you plan to have live entertainment, music, outdoor activities (like dancing) and so forth. A little preparation goes a long way towards avoiding a dispute with officers on your front porch when you’re trying to have a good time. If one is available, get an event permit. Paperwork goes even further than an informal discussion and if there is a complaint, you’ll have the law on your side in addition to the responding officers.


First and foremost, if you have a pool or a hot tub, you should remove all the glassware from your home for the duration of the party, including anything in the bathroom. One broken glass and you could end up with a guest in the hospital and having to drain your pool (or both). If you plan to allow guests to be either around or in the pool, consider hiring a trained lifeguard for the occasion and consider checking with a qualified firm like the Law Offices of Gregg Durlofsky in advance. People can be careless at celebrations, and in the event of an incident you will be far less likely to be on the legal hot seat if you can call your own lifeguard to the witness stand.


When in doubt, cater. As satisfying as it can be to the ego to be responsible for feeding dozens of people, one slip up can land you in more than a few different flavors of legal issues including food service regulations, medical bills if someone gets sick, and so on. Catering companies are equipped to handle your needs, have specific insurance to cover events and have the equipment to bring the party to you. If you’re going to celebrate, let someone else do the work. It will save you unnecessary hassle every time.


Parties should be fun, but as with any gathering, there are things you should prepare for. Be the party thrower who is ready for anything and you’ll find celebrants are likely to want to come back often.