You’ve gotta fight. For you right. To throw and unforgettable parrrrttaaay.
We all love one, right? It doesn’t matter whether it’s a wedding, a birthday, New Year’s Eve or just for the hell of it, us Brits will always find a reason to party. Yep, we love to show up to one, but when the tables are turned, and you find yourself in the position that you have to organise one, it can be a little overwhelming. Suddenly, the sound of a night curled up under the duvet sounds pretty appealing. Us Brits hey…
But let’s face up to it; sometimes you have to do the hosting. There is so much to think about, from the guest list to entertainment to catering, and all these little details that you take for granted when attending a party suddenly seem so real.
We don’t mean to panic you, and panic you shouldn’t. Although it is a big responsibility, the following tips will help you plan everything right down to the last detail. Then, you can sit back, safe in the knowledge you’ve done your duty and wait for the invites to roll in. Here’s 10 tips on how to throw a truly unforgettable party.
REALISE YOUR VISION
Before you can go about ordering food and planning the decor, you need to have a clear idea in your head of what your party will look like and what you want it to say about you. Yep, you actually have to consider some existential questions here.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to hosting. A party could be anything from a formal, dignified dinner party to a wild night out on the town. Make sure you are clear on what your party will be and don’t try to be too many things at once.
You want your party to have an impact, to be memorable and leave your guests with a smile on their face. But how you do this will depend on the purpose of the event, the guests you invite and their expectations.
Without wishing to suggest a ‘mood board’, you could do worse than coming up with a few adjectives that you feel suit the style of the party you want to throw. Here are a few examples to get you thinking: wild, raucous, dignified, stylish, formal, casual, smart, sleek, elegant, decadent, chic. It’s up to you what you want your party to convey, but once you have defined it, make sure this definition carries through to every single aspect of the big day, from the invitations to the end-of-the-night entertainment.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
One of the most important factors in any party is the location in which it is held. Perhaps you want the intimacy and informality of a house party, or the luxurious upmarket feel of a country manor. You could hire out a pub or a town hall, or you could even host it in a more unusual location such as a beach or on a bus. Of course, your budget will play a huge part in your decision, but you don’t need to break the bank to throw an incredible event. Your guests won’t care how much money you spent, but they will care about how the location makes them feel.
Remember that as well as picking a memorable venue, you should also take care to make it convenient for attendees. If you are inviting guests from around the country, you want it to be as easy as possible for the majority to get to. There should be good access via road and public transport, and plenty of parking availability. Ensure that travelling guests have an accommodation option nearby, particularly if they are going to be consuming alcohol.
You don’t have to go crazy with glitter and confetti, but having some decorations at your event will set the mood and get everyone into the party spirit. Add a bit of pizazz to your event through simple, tasteful table settings. The key here is to think back to your vision and how you could convey this through your decor. Balloons, signs, banners, colourful cups and tableware are all excellent options.
Who will you invite to your fabulous festivities? As a host, you are in charge of deciding which people will attend, and who doesn’t make the cut. You want to invite a large mix of people from different walks of life to spice up the party and spark interesting conversations. The key thing to avoid is having cliques of friends sticking together throughout the night and leaving those who don’t know anyone feeling awkward and alone. We don’t want any school disco vibes here, with girls and boys on separate sides of the dancefloor.
If inviting someone without a strong connection to the other attendees, offer them a plus one, so they don’t have to go it alone. Send out your invitations well in advance to ensure that attendees can put it in their diaries and refrain from making other plans. Though a little chaotic energy is welcome, if there are any troublemakers in your guest shortlist, who might cause a scene or disrupt the proceedings, consider whether it is worth the trouble of inviting them.
DON’T FORGET THE FINGER FOOD
What will guests eat at your party? Will there be a sit-down meal involved, or will they just snack throughout the party? Whatever the format, you will need to ensure that your guests have enough nourishment to keep them dancing right through to the end. Enter finger food.
Nope, not chocolate fingers, although they could also work. Instead, a finger buffet featuring small appetisers and canapes is a great way to keep energy levels up, so guests can graze as they chat and dance throughout the night. You could even provide the food yourself! A party with a selection of homemade, delectable canapes will certainly be unforgettable, and that’s why you’re here right? If you’re creating your own canapes, according to the experts, the most important elements to remember are taste, colour and texture.
Make sure you have enough food to sustain all of your guests for the entire duration. If they get hungry, they might sneak off early to grab a takeaway on the way home. And that’s a damning indictment of proceedings if ever there was one.
A lot of people like to have a drink at a party and let their hair down, so have an interesting array of beverages available for all guests, and even consider something a little more exciting than the usual options, such as a punch bowl or some exotic cocktails. Make sure you provide plenty of non-alcoholic options too. Many people don’t drink or will be driving home, so you don’t want them to feel left out.
PLEASE DON’T STOP THE MUSIC
No party is complete without music, and the right playlist can make or break a night. Whatever your music tastes, you need to be thinking about what your guests will enjoy. Create a playlist well in advance featuring a variety of different artists and genres. Cheesy pop anthems are great for getting everyone onto the dance floor, and make sure you choose popular songs that people know. If you are having a more dignified, formal event, you might prefer something a bit less in-your-face such as some classical or jazz music in the background to create the right atmosphere. And if you want to really go all out, consider hiring a band to play live music.
LET ME ENTERTAIN YOU
Will your guests be content to eat, drink and chat, or will you require some more entertainment to liven things up? There are so many options for pleasing your party invitees in unique and unusual ways. Why not hire a photo booth so guests can take silly pictures, or some garden games to get a competition going? Even something small like a deck of cards and a few games at the end of the night can be a real crowd-pleaser. If you have the budget for it, you could even hire entertainers such as magicians, musicians or comedians to liven things up.
BE THE HOSTESS WITH THE MOSTESS
For all the frills and luxuries you can provide, the most important aspect of a party is a good host. Although you no doubt want to enjoy yourself too, your number one job is to ensure that everyone at your party has a good time. Do the rounds and speak to everyone throughout the night. Make sure everyone has someone to talk to and make an effort to introduce people who don’t know each other. Ensure that people have enough to eat and drink and make sure people get home safely, especially if they’ve consumed a little too much. You’ll know you’ve done a great job as a host when people thank you for a fantastic party.
MAKE THE END UNFORGETTABLE
At the end of the night, you need to make sure things end with a bang rather than fizzling out. Perhaps end your music playlist on a floor-filler to get every single person dancing, or you could even end the night with some fireworks or other entertainment. Party favours are a great idea to leave your guests with lasting memories from the event. Perhaps a little bit of food or cake, or even take some Polaroids throughout the night for them to bring home a memento. Ensure that everyone has either a way to get home or some accommodation planned. If you are hosting at your house, you could offer up a spare room or sofa for anyone who needs it.
Hosting an unforgettable party takes a lot of work, but the results will pay off. By following these tips, you will be able to plan your event down to the last detail and create a memorable party that your guest will be talking about for years to come.