Just under a month ago you might have heard people wondering the streets of England boldly claiming ‘football’s coming home’ and thought the whole thing to be an overly ambitious joke. It wasn’t uncommon to hear to hear people respond ‘yeah, on the first easyjet flight out of the group stages.’ Given that it’s been a total of 52 years since England lifted the coveted trophy it seemed obvious we would make an early exit. But over the course of that month, something magical seems to have happened. For the first time since 1990 England are through to the semi finals of the World Cup. The big question on everyone's lips seems to be, could it really be coming home?
However, for us, England getting through to the semi-finals is really just an excuse to plan an epic watch party. So the big question on our lips then, is how do you throw a World Cup party so good that nobody cares about the results? That aim might be a little too steep, but it’s certainly possible to throw one so good that your attendees have fun regardless.
Photography credit to Amazon
Unlike decorating for a fancy dinner party, or dressing the house for Christmas, there are pretty much no rules when it comes to decorating for the World Cup. As it’s a much more relaxed affair you can afford to delve into tacky territory. In fact, given the multitude of clashing colours in the varying countries flags it’s damn near impossible not to go tacky.
Bunting is a decorative no brainer. But there is an art to it. In situations where it’s possible you’ll have guests launching themselves into a standing position, either in celebration or commiseration, you want to hang your bunting high but not taut. Hanging your bunting too taut removes it’s festive animation. It’s charm lies in its weightless movement from the smallest of breezes. But you’ll still want to avoid hanging any over doorways, because that weightless movement won’t be so weightless when your six foot friend chokes himself on it and brings the whole lot down.
Indulge your teenage side and adorn your walls with enormous posters of your favourite players (or in my case the ones I find the most attractive) all in the name of fun. There need be no rhyme or reason to decorating for a world cup party. By all means crack out your disco ball and lights if you fancy turning it into an all nighter. Just keep in mind you have to clean it all up the following morning.
Photography credit to Zanotta Sacco
At your average house party, the aim is normally to push all available seating to one side to make way for the inevitable moment someone insists the living room is now the dancefloor. But a World Cup watching party certainly isn’t your average house party. Your guests have come to your house with the intention of sitting and watching. Seats are imperative.
It’s always better to be safe than sorry, so provide more seats than you think you’re going to need. Someone is always turning up unannounced with a plus one or three. Just when you think you’ve got enough chairs for even the surprise attendees, add a couple more and you should be safe. Use all the versatile seating you have. If you have a kitchen with a breakfast bar, your bar stools can be placed behind the sofa for extra seating with a non-obstructed view. Inject a bit of fun into your seating, after all it is just a game. Beanbags are easy to move and easy to store once they are no longer needed. As an added bonus their super comfy, and the last time they were cool was probably around 1966, which has to be a good omen of sorts, right?
For the first time in a long time England is having a summer. A real summer, where the kids get sent home from school if the teachers can’t smell suncream on them and ice creams melt down your hands before you can reach the cone. People will relish the opportunity to drift between sitting indoors watching the game, and sunning themselves intermittently. Plus, outdoor seating is a great escape for those who couldn’t care less about the football.
An occasion like this was made for no-fuss-food. Barbecues are obviously brilliant in this weather, but they come with one singular downside; someone needs to be watching them near constantly. You’d literally be playing with fire having your designated chef running between the grill and the TV screen.
Stick to finger food (preferably carbs, to soak up the booze) and allow people to graze all day. Nobody has ever frowned at the idea of a buffet. If you’re dedicated to sticking to the World Cup theme, try having a buffet of local delicacies from the competing countries. Scampi bites make a great small substitute for the Great British classic fish & chips.
Photography credit to Wayfair
This section is a little self explanatory. Everyone knows that with a game as nerve wracking as the semi-final of the World Cup booze is essential to calming the nerves. Seeing as it’s entirely un-British to turn up empty handed, it’s highly likely your guests will bring their drink of preference so you needn’t worry too much about what to buy.
What you can do to make their experience all the more enjoyable is provide those little details nobody thinks about. Paper cups and straws are a must (no single use plastics at your shindig, obvs), but even finer details like being able to offer ice and a slice are bound to go along way.
Right now we’re really into the idea of 70’s drinks trolleys. Not only do they remind you of popping to your nans to listen to the World Cup on the radio, but they are also super handy. Why should you have to travel as far as the kitchen to get a drink when there's a device, on wheels no less, that can cater to you?
Photography credit to Spectral
Here’s where the party really kicks off. There’s a real investment to be made here. Your television is going to be centre stage for this party. Forget about showing off your new rug or the upstairs loft conversion, your guests are more interested in the size of your plasma screen and the efficiency of your sound system. While we can’t really suggest you buy a 4D, 90 inch plasma screen TV that can talk to aliens and hoover the house just for one singular match, there are ways to make your own TV model more impressive.
Invest in a backlight to frame the TV. This projects light away from the television and helps to avoid glares bouncing onto the screen and obstructing your view. You won’t have to miss a single second, even if you might want to. We recommend looking away from the screen and downing a stiff drink if it goes to penalties, not even a backlight can help you there.
Up your sound system game. Surround sound won’t just come in useful for this one season, you can use it specifically for music at any other event you throw. And it’ll make a Lord of The Rings marathon unforgettable. They needn’t become an eyesore either, majority of TV units now come with a space for integrating a sound system in.
But even an incredible sound system might not entertain the kids who are only interested when there’s goals being scored. Themed accessories like table football are perfect for staying on trend as well as keeping everyone entertained. This can even help to keep the party going post-match, you can start your own mini-World Cup right there in your living room.