How to plan the perfect party.
We all love going to great parties, Whether it’s a kids birthday party, a family member’s wedding, office year end party or just celebrating the new year at home with friends. It’s fun and exciting! Thinking of what you’re going to wear, buying that special gift, but most of all being at the party enjoying the food, drinks, catching up with family and friends and dancing the night away while listening to your favorited songs.
House warming party
Here are 10 steps on how to plan the perfect party
Step 1: Occasion
First of all you need an occasion. It could be your child’s 1st birthday party, that all important 21st birthday, moving into your new house and inviting your friends and family for a housewarming party or that special wedding day you have been dreaming of. It could even be a retirement party. Finding an occasion is the easy step.
Step 2: Date and Time
Set a date and time for your party. It is important to choose the right date and time to make sure all your guests can attend. Some dates are difficult, like Easter where many people celebrate in their own way. Some may even go away for the weekend and some prefer not to do anything and keep it a spiritual time. I suggest looking at the calendar, checking in with your guests you want to invite before setting the date and time. It is not fun when you have it all planned but no one can come…
Step 3: Venue
Find the prefect venue! Is your house big enough, do you have a backyard that can work, (btw a party in your backyard, specialty if you have a lot of space is a perfect idea and you can save a lot on your party budget). You might even think of using a venue or on someone's farm. There are many interesting places out there that will be perfect for your party.
Family gathering celebrating in their backyard
Romantic picnic on the hillside with balloons and candles
Step 4: How many guests?
Just as important as step 3. This will determine your venue and impact your budget. Draw up a guest list keeping in mind some may have a +1 and some will have kids. Or maybe you don’t want any kids. Having a detailed guest list will help you to get to that magic number. Unsure who to invite and who not? This will depend on what kind of party you are having, but in many cases consider which type of people would enjoy the party most. It makes for a great party when you invite guests who genuinely enjoy themselves.
This doesn’t mean to exclude good friends that may not “fit” the atmosphere you’re going for. It can certainly be fun to get them out of their comfort zones.
Hard decision I know.
(Read my upcoming blog where I show you how to decide who to invite and how to draw up your guest list to get to that magic number)
Hosting the party or event at your house, you need to keep in mind the size of your house and if you have a backyard or covered outdoor space available. (Remember to check the weather and seasons. It might rain or snow)
Will they all fit? Your guests want to feel comfortable and not squashed like sardine in a can.
When using a venue make an appointment with one of their coordinators and do a site visit. Make sure the venue is suitable for your requirements.
Step 5: Theme
Decide on a theme. Some themes are easy when incorporating them one of the following dates:
New Year’s Eve
Chinese New Year
Fourth of July
With a different date, the best thing is to think about things you love.
If there’s something you love, you should feel absolutely confident about turning it into a party, because there are definitely other people who love it too.
Here are some “love” ideas to turn into a party theme
Tea or Coffee
Pasta or pizzas
Carnaval themed dinner party
Step 6: Food and Drinks
Pair food and drinks with your theme. For a motor racing theme you could do hotdog and burger stands. Some easier options like Mexico do Mexican food and Hawaiian you could do tropical fruits and stir fries.
Food is very important at your party. Depending on the occasion, people are always hungry and looking forward to a good meal or snack. If your guests are having the time of their lives and the food is out of this world, they will remember it for a long time as being one of the best parties.
Step7: The big “B” Your budget
How much money do you need to keep your guests partying till the sun comes up? Your budget will determine how you implement your party ideas. Make a list of everything you need for your party and calculate the cost of each. This will help you to see where to cut costs. Remember not to cut out all the important items from your list. You can mark the items as “have to have” and “nice to have”
Don’t forget to also budget for the things you never think of.
Party decorations. With your party decorations make sure you have tables and chairs, tablecloths and napkins
DJ for your party. The DJ needs a table or counter to play from.
Driving around to collect or arrange your party
Setting up and striking down your party. You might need plastic bags for all the rubbish.
With food you need cutlery and crockery. If you have a buffet you need buffet tables and tablecloths
With drink you need glasses. You might also need a bar counter
Don’t forget the ice.
With outdoor parties you might need umbrellas
(Read my upcoming blog on how to create a budget and a checklist for your party)
Step 8: Invites
Now that you have the venue, the theme, finalized your budget, know what food you are serving and how to entertain your guests, it's time to plan your invite, the design and when to send them.
A creative invite will definitely catch the eye. It could be an electronic invite combined with a song matching your theme, or it could be a hand crafted invite and hand delivered, a more personal approach. Timing your invite is vital to give you and your guests enough time to prepare. Make sure your guest RSVP timeously, to finalize your guestlist and catering plans.
Step 9: Final Arrangements
Your event is around the corner, Your guest list is complete and your final numbers are in for all the catering requirements. Plan your final arrangements before your party. Work through your checklists and finalize all the catering. Create an order of events. This will help your event run smoothly and make you look even better on the day of your party. Embarrassing when your DJ sets up his equipment when your guests are already on the dancefloor dancing to music on your Iphone.
Step 10. Be Ready
Be ready or be at the venue at least an hour before your guests arrive to run through the order of events, do a sound check, check up on the catering, make sure your drinks are cold and on ice! Making sure everything is exactly the way you planned it. An hour gives you enough time to quickly change or fix something.
Your guests are arriving and it’s time to enjoy your party and hopefully you planned your party to be part of the fun and not working behind the scenes.
Enjoy your party!!
Wedding on the beach with breathtaking views
(written by Fred Swanzee)