Hosting is a lot of fun but it’s easy to forget that great parties and get-togethers are also a lot of hard work, not to mention super-stressful to put together!
Along with all the planning, there’s also major anxiety over whether people will – you know, actually show up and have a good time – or whether yours will be the party that’s remembered for all the wrong reasons.
Whilst there’s definitely a pinch of mystery and magic that comes together in those parties that fizz, much more of it is down to effective planning than you realize.
Whether you’re a naturally gifted party-planner or a nerve-wracked first-timer, follow these hints to make sure your next party or gathering goes with a bang.
- Plan your space
Look at the space you’re using and plan it well. Do you want to have somewhere to dance or play games? Where will the food and drinks be stationed? Do you have enough chairs or do you need to hire or borrow furniture? Is there somewhere people can comfortably leave their bags and coats?
While you’re looking around, decide if you want to put any of your more treasured belongings into storage for the night as well.
And, if any part of the party will be outdoors, it goes without saying to check the weather report.
- Consider your ‘guest journey’ when planning your space
Think about where your guests are likely to walk around when deciding where to move furniture to or where to put things. Think about the direction they’ll travel in as soon as they enter; where the bathrooms are where it makes sense to station food and drinks, and more.
- Make it easy
The key thing to avoid when hosting a party is to minimize any type of awkwardness and you probably won’t be around to answer every question your guests have.
Make it easy for your guests by using cute chalkboards or signage letting them know how to get in, where to go to find things, where they can leave their coats, where the bathrooms are, menus, seating plans, timings and any other information you want them to have.
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- Make sure you have enough to eat and drink
No one wants hungry guests, so work out the right quantity of food and drinks so you don’t have too little (or too much). It’s always a good idea to have back-up food and drinks that can be ready at short notice.
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Another tip is to have more vegetarian options than you think you’ll require as they’re more likely to run out if meat-eaters are sampling them too. Make sure you let guests know how to tell you about their allergies or special food needs in advance on your invitation.
- Make sure your invites give all the deets
Use your invitation to make sure everyone knows exactly what kind of gathering it is, and the etiquette that goes along with it. A black-tie, child-free event is a very different night to a chilled out backyard barbecue with all the family, so don’t leave guests wondering.
Send invites out in plenty of time, and try to invite everyone the same way so you can keep track of RSVPs in one place.
Handwritten paper invitations are more personal, but online options like Facebook or Punchbowl allow you to update details easily and make sure everyone gets the same messages. Plus, they can be more effective in managing larger gatherings.
- Plan your budget well
Things like decorations and entertainment can cost way more than you think and the last thing you want to do is blow your budget and run out of cash for food and drinks so plan appropriately.
You don’t want to bankrupt yourself throwing a party either, however, so look to where you can save, for instance, making your own cheap decorations or asking guests to bring a dish as part of a pot luck feast.
- Organize a run time of the night
You don’t have to tell guests about your schedule, but it definitely helps to work out timings for the night so you can make sure there are highs and lows of momentum, and that food and entertainment happens at the right times.