Parties should always be fun and festive for everyone attending them. It can be a high wire act for even the most consummate and experienced hosts.
So how can you, beginner and future party planning superstar, manage to host the best party anyone has ever been to?
Organization is the watchword of the day. It doesn’t have to be difficult to plan an entertaining party! In fact, here are a few tips for anyone beginning to plan a fantastic party for any occasion:
Time and Date
Obviously you want your fabulous party to have as many invited guests as possible so picking a time and date is the first step. Try looking at community calendars to make sure there’s no festival or events competing with your party date. Your chosen date should also steer clear of being too close to some dates like Christmas, for example because family obligations during that time might mean a vastly reduced guest list.
After picking the time for the party, you need to decide on whether you’re going to have a theme and then decide what it is. Having a theme has the benefit that makes all the rest of the steps much easier. After all, so many options you might dither over will be cut down simply because it doesn’t work with the theme! People love to interact with creative themes and can dress to fit whatever theme your party has. Just make sure that everyone who’ll attend your party would enjoy your selected theme. If the theme requires a costume, make sure to give people plenty of time to prepare.
The quickest way to kill the enjoyment you have for your party is to go over budget so it’s important to keep to whatever restrictions you have financially. The rest of the planning you do for your party should revolve around what can be afforded. Potlucks, for example cut down on the cost of food because everyone brings a little rather than you paying for a caterer yourself. Providing DIY touches to decorations or just setting up a Pandora account to play music through the night can also reduce costs.
Location, Location, Location
The second thing you should decide for any party is where you’re going to hold the event. A key factor to consider is the weather. No one is going to want to have an outdoor Hawaiian pool party in January right? (Unless perhaps you’re actually in Hawaii…) A good location can make or break a party and you should always consider how many people you’re inviting, how well the location will adhere to the theme, and what things the location allows for partygoers to do.
Whatever location is selected will dictate the maximum amount of people that you can invite, so checking how many people your chosen party space can hold is paramount. It’s also worth considering the difference of a smaller gathering versus a large one so you’ll have a better outlook of the outcome of your party. It might be easier to invite a larger amount of people if the space allows for little groups alongside the larger ones.
Once you decide on the people you’re inviting, it’s time to get those invitations out! Wording on invitations can vary depending upon the event being celebrated. For example, wedding invitations will have a stricter way of how things are said than a birthday party invitation. For those not wanting the hassle or cost of sending out paper-based invitations, there’s always email or the ever more common Facebook event invite.
Food and Music
The easiest way to wreck a party is a lackluster music selection and less than palatable food. Keep an eye out for dietary restrictions and try to offer a varied spread for even the pickiest partygoer. Some themes will lend themselves better to food selection than others so sticking to the theme here is really the prerogative of each individual party planner. It might be easier to hire a caterer for the food and a DJ for the music. You want people to have a good time and that can happen by having partygoers dance, talk, and leave with full bellies!
Consider the age range being invited to the party. If everyone is over 21, you can set the alcoholic drinks out so they can get them at will. If it’s a family affair, you might set someone up as the bartender for the night. Be sure to remember to set out non-alcoholic drinks because there will always be someone who doesn’t drink alcohol for a variety of reasons.
A stressed out party planner isn’t conducive to having people enjoy themselves at your party. Delegate what you can with specific instructions and then kick up your heels. Have some party games (like karaoke or Cards Against Humanity) and work on encouraging others to participate. If they see you having fun, they’ll be more likely to join in whether it’s a for a duet of I’ve Got You Babe or busting some moves on the dance floor.
After Party Cleanup
Even if you handle everything from food to music (and especially if you do!), reward yourself by hiring someone to do the clean up. Having a legendary party is going to leave you exhausted after all and it’s no fun doing the cleaning yourself! Getting someone else to clean up will allow you to rest on your laurels after your party.
Welcome to your party planner superstar status! Follow these rules and you’ll be on the way to a fantastic night of fun, socialization, and laughter. Whether you’re planning a 60th wedding anniversary for your parents at home or having a high school reunion at a large venue downtown, the basics of planning any party are the same. It really comes down to good food, good music, and good people. Have fun and party on!