Everyone loves a great party. The ones where you lose track of time, engage in great conversations, and maybe even meet someone new. But, do we all love to throw a party? It’s not the easiest task, especially if you’re not a naturally outgoing person. It takes a lot of planning, organisation, and patience to pull everything together. Then there’s the risk of someone spilling wine on the carpet, or starting a domestic argument! A good host knows how to manage the organisation, and act as the perfect host. Today, we’ll share some of the best tips with you.
Whether it’s a friend’s birthday, a hen night, or a major life event, parties are a wonderful way to celebrate. It brings everyone together, inspiring smiles and memories. Starting from scratch often seems daunting, but don’t worry, we’ll take you through everything step-by-step. From coming up with the initial ideas to sending invitations to hosting, we’ve got it covered. This is a long one, so get a cup of coffee, and let’s get stuck in.
Your first job is choosing a date that everyone can make. Try to make sure it’s a few months in advance if possible, so that everyone can put it in their diary. This is especially important if you’re thinking of booking a venue or arranging caterers. You’ll often need to give plenty of notice to book them. If you’re throwing a surprise party for someone, make sure you choose a date they can definitely make!
Next, you’ll want to decide whether or not to use a theme. You could choose something classy like a cocktail party or a black tie event. It could be something fun and silly, like a Disney party or some other fancy dress theme. Don’t worry if that’s not really your style. You could try something like a wine tasting theme. Or try something simple, like choosing a particular colour. Something like this helps tie the whole party together, and give it some cohesion. It also makes sure your guests will always remember it!
If you have chosen a theme with fancy dress, it’s important to make this decision early. You want to give your guests plenty of advance warning to find a fancy dress outfit. Some might even want to make their own from scratch. If you’re stuck for ideas, take a look at Partydomain for some inspiration! You could choose anything from Star Wars to Arabian nights. Fancy dress can be a really great way to bring the party to life, but make sure it suits your theme. If you’re planning a cocktail party, for example, you could ask people to come in 1920’s fancy dress.
If you’ve got a good theme in mind, that can really help you put together some great decoration ideas. It’s these little touches that will help get people into the party spirit. You can get really creative here, but it pays to give yourself time to start making things! Try using old jam jars to make candles or condiment holders. Make paper decorations to hang from the ceilings or buy personalised decor for the party.
There’s nothing better than a good plateful of party food! Choosing your menu wisely is very important. Are you going to cook a big meal for everyone? That’s a great option for a dinner party, but it’s hardly ideal for big crowds. Instead, you’ll want a delicious spread of finger foods and entrees. The trick is keeping things simple. You don’t want to be spend the party cooking in the kitchen! If you’re feeling a little adventurous, try to match your food to the cocktails or drinks.
Talking of drinks, you’re going to need plenty! The golden rule here is to provide more drinks than are needed. Your guests will never forgive you if you’ve run out of alcohol by 10pm. Most of your courteous guests will bring a bottle of wine with them (it’s only polite). However, you can never rely on that! Try to provide plenty of staple drinks like wine, beer, and soft drinks. It’s always fun to put on a spread of cocktails to keep people interested. A colourful drink always goes down a treat.
How will you serve it all?
This is a big one, and we learnt it the hard way! At a particular party we had organised, we were confident we had everything covered. Until it came to the point of plating up the food and serving drinks. We didn’t have enough plates or glasses! Nightmare! Try to plan this out in advance, otherwise it will catch you out on the big day. If you’re feeling particularly creative, you can come up with fancy ways of serving your food and drinks.
That’s most of the basic organisation taken care of. Now, who are you going to invite? This is always a tricky decision, but start by putting a limit on the capacity of people. How many guests will your house or venue comfortably hold? You don’t want to overfill the place or it gets very uncomfortable. It’s also worth considering the names on your guest list. Try to fill it with guests that will get on well and complement each other. Try to avoid stoking any existing conflicts!
With your guest list sorted, it’s time to send out those all-important invitations. We still prefer the traditional, old-school invitation, handwritten in a nice card. That way, people will keep it on their fridge, and remember the date. It’s also a thoughtful touch for your guests. If you’d rather keep it simple, just use an online invitation. An email invite always works well, or you could set up an event on Facebook. Make sure to ask for RSVPs so you know much food to make, and follow up to remind people a week before.
Be the life of your own party
When it comes to the big night itself, it’s your time to shine! Remember, this is your party, and it’s your job to play the host. Greet people at the door, take their coats, and show them where the drinks are. Use your conversational wit and prowess to start conversations between new acquaintances. Make sure people always have enough to eat and drink. Mingle, and keep the conversations flowing. Remember, you’re the common link in the party, so keep everyone talking!
Keep your cool
It’s rare that a party goes entirely without a hitch! Someone’s bound to knock something over. The food will overcook. The beer will run out. The guests will turn up early. Try not to get too flustered. Keep your cool, and deal with it. Don’t make a fuss, and keep a smile on your face – even if it’s the hardest thing to do! Getting stressed and angry won’t help anyone at the party, so keep your cool.
Don’t drink too much
It’s your party, and you’re allowed to enjoy yourself! Just learn to keep it to a minimum. As the host-of-honour, you’ll want to stay in some sort of control throughout the night. You’ll have to manage the aforementioned problems, and make sure everyone is having a good time. That’s a little difficult if you’ve passed out on the sofa! Know your limits, and drink plenty of water throughout the night.
Save the cleanup until later
No-one likes a host who is cleaning up around them. Your house or venue is going to get dirty and messy. There will be discarded plates and glasses all over the place. Those picture frames are going to get knocked out of place. Fight the urge to tidy up, and focus on the party itself. Cleaning up around people makes them feel uncomfortable, self-conscious, and unwelcome. Leave it until the end, when everyone has disappeared.
Know when to call time!
The best parties are when everyone leaves wanting more. Dragging the party out to the early hours is a sure-fire way to leave people exhausted and even bored. Obviously, don’t cut things short at the height of the fun. But, wait until things are starting to die down, and then call time. There will always be one or two who want to party until 3am, but most people are probably ready to go home. It’s always better to leave them wanting more!
Follow up and thank everyone
Once everyone has left the party, you’ve got the mammoth job of cleaning up. But, it gives you time to reflect on what a great night you threw. Remember to get a good night’s sleep, and you’ll wake up with a good feeling in the morning. All that’s left to do is follow up with all your guests. Send them a quick message to say thank you for attending, and they’ll really appreciate the effort. It also gives them all a little prompt to host their own event next time! At the next party, you can enjoy it all without the hassle!
Finally, you can put your feet up, and congratulate yourself for a job well done!