1. Money, money, money!
Whether it be £10, £100 or £10,000, you need to know how much you can spend as this will dictate many elements of your party. So work out what your maximum budget is and start that spreadsheet so you can easily keep on top of where you’re at and how much you still have to play with.
2. Who will be there?
This is easy: list everyone you want to invite. This may be influenced by your budget and it will probably be one of the elements that influences your budget the most so you may have to be a bit ruthless! And a bit politically correct depending on other people’s opinions!
For small parties your home may well be the perfect location, especially if it’s during the summertime and you can use the garden. If your party is larger and you need to hire a venue, research those that are appropriate, use venue finding websites and go on a few visits to your favourites. It may be a hotel for a wedding or a village hall for a kid’s party. You always need to make sure you don’t waste your time on ones that don’t meet your needs. Can it hold the number of people you have attending or the type of event you want to host? What are their rules on catering and drinks? Make sure you get answers to the questions that are important to you.
If you have a theme then this is a great starting point for pulling together what your invitations will look like. Make sure they include all the relevant information like when, where and how to RSVP, along with any special instructions like dress code or gift list details. Don’t forget to send them out with plenty of time for your guests to RSVP.
Obviously this is very dependent on the type of event you are throwing! Is it a birthday party? Think of the person’s favorite hobby, era, TV character, or celebrity. Wedding? Is it country garden or elegant sophistication? Or maybe just as simple as the colours that you want to use. Make a decision on the look and then you can go all out on decorations! And of course, if you don’t want a theme then don’t feel you have to have one!
6. No one goes hungry or thirsty
This can take up a lot of your budget so plan this early on. Depending on your venue and what you have agreed, you may be able to do this yourself with a simple buffet (whether that be homemade or bought readymade). You may have to use the venue’s preferred caterers or caterers of your own choice. Food may also be included in your rate, in which case all you have to do is choose what is right for your party from their selection. Make sure the food caters for all the ages at your party, especially drink! Is it appropriate to have cocktails ready for adults or a juice bar for the kids? What fits in with your theme? Cheese and pineapple sticks fit a 70’s disco and a hog roast is great for an outdoor affair. Include all the elements that you have thought about already: your budget, your theme, your guests and your venue.
7. Making it look pretty!
A party isn’t a party without some decorations! You can be as creative and adventurous as your heart desires. Your budget will dictate how much you DIY and how much you use from suppliers. Scour Etsy, Amazon and eBay for some brilliant bargains, use Pinterest to find unique ways of making things yourself and, of course, get down to your local party suppliers.
8. Let there be cake!
Let’s face it, no celebration goes without the obligatory cake cutting. And why should it? This is the time when everyone comes together and concentrates on the person(s) they are there for. You may feel that this is something you can do for yourself and you definitely should if you’re a dab hand with an icing bag! Think about family or friends who may be able to help you. However, if budget allows there are some amazing creative ideas out there now to fit any theme and colour pallet. The best part – the flavours are just amazing! Don’t be shy to move away from the traditional victoria sponge and go for an oreo or red velvet. Be experimental and it could be the show stopper of the event.
9. Having fun!
Keep everyone happy with entertainment. The key to a good party is different elements so everyone is having fun – this is even more important for kids! Do you need a DJ or is there a sound system at the venue that just requires an MP3 player? Do you need to hire a children’s entertainer or a photobooth? Try to cater for all ages whether that be a colouring pack for the kids at your wedding or a mini casino for your adult friends at your child’s first birthday party! Contact several suppliers, do your research and find the best to fit all of your requirements.
10. Final checklist…
Go back over your lists and your budget. Make sure that you have catered for the needs of the person you are celebrating and the guests you are inviting. Is there anything you didn’t get due to money concerns but now the budget allows for? Can you invite a few more people? Do you need to cut back in areas such as decorations due to being close to your budget? Have you worked out where you will be dropping all your decorations off to and who will be clearing up? Do you have a plan B in case it rains and your party is outside? Make sure you have ticked all the boxes!
Now all that is left is to enjoy the outcome of all your hard work, watching everyone have a good time and knowing the celebration is just what you wanted!
And just for luck here’s a cheeky number 11…
Don’t forget to thank everyone at the end whether that’s with children’s party bags or wedding favours and by sending a thank you note after the day!