Essential Tips For Planning A Party At Home

shutterstock_145699727Planning a cocktail party, Christmas event or surprise party for a family member? No matter what type of party you are planning, there are some essential tips for ensuring it’s a great success.


Give yourself plenty of time to plan by setting a date with at least 5 weeks lead time. Parties are meant to be fun, so stressing out at the last minute about whether or not you’ve got enough food isn’t something you want to put yourself through. Take your time to organise, so you can think everything out beforehand.

Style and theme of your event

table1Once you know when you’re having your party, it’s time to decide on the style and theme of party you are having. Style refers to whether or not it’s going to be informal or formal, a sit down dinner or cocktail event, for example.

You may want to keep it simple – for a kids birthday party you could use hot pink decorations, invitations and balloons and perhaps ask everyone to wear a piece of pink in honor of the birthday girl. Or you could have a fancy dress theme, a black and white party, even a location themed party (Paris, anyone?). There are so many themes, you just need to do your research and use your own imagination to come up with something that suits the guest of honour and the occasion.

Guest List

Consider your guest list and double and triple check it to make sure no one important is left out. Ensure that the theme and style of event is suitable for your guests and will be something they’ll enjoy too.

Create a budget

You need to set a clear budget for how much you are willing to spend on your party. Take into account party invitations, decorations, food, drinks and other expenses such as entertainment if you are planning on going all out. It’s easy to spend more than you can afford when it comes to hosting a party so outlining what you have to spend is the best way to steer clear of using that credit card for additional purchases.

Food and beverages

1You can start planning the food and beverages you’ll be providing before you receive all of your RSVP’s. Once again, consider the theme and style of the party. For a sit down event you’ll need to plan out a full menu and you may want to get the event catered to save you the additional stress.

For a cocktail event or casual party, finger food is your best option. A mixture of hot and cold canapes is always a good idea. You could even serve pizza later in the evening to ensure that anyone who is still hungry goes home satisfied.

Make sure that you find out if any of your guests have dietary requirements prior to your party so you know that there won’t be anyone left out.

Don’t forget to buy the extras like paper plates, plastic cups of different sizes, napkins and plastic knives and forks.

Create a purchase plan and have a storage solution in mind

Consider where you will store items that need to be kept cold and how these will be kept cold on the day/night of the party. Filling the bathtub or laundry tub with ice to keep drinks cool is a simple, easy way to ensure your drinks remain chilled.

Cleaning and party-proofing your home

If you are hosting a party at home, make sure you give it a good clean the day before and store away anything that might break. Vases and anything glass that could easily be knocked over as your house or apartment reaches capacity should be stored away just until the party is over to avoid any accidents.

Music, decorations and lighting

  • stock-photo-garden-party-104506379To create the right party atmosphere one of the key elements is music. Create a playlist beforehand that ties in with the theme of your party for your guests to enjoy. Important: This is not the time to unleash your favourite metal song on unsuspecting friends at a casual cocktail afternoon party. Keep the music appropriate for the party. No matter what the theme is, it’s a good idea to include some party favourites for the end of the evening to get everyone dancing.
  • Decorations don’t need to consist of streamers and balloons. If the traditional party decorative items aren’t really for you, paper lanterns, tassel garlands, and a couple of colourful bouquets of flowers might be just what you’re after. Paper pom poms are also a great option and they are easy and light to hang.
  • Tealights and fairy lights create the perfect ambient lighting for night time events. Soft lighting like this always creates a party atmosphere. Don’t use overhead lighting, but look for Christmas lights, string lights and candles to light up your party after dark.

On the day of the party, remember:

  • Start decorating early so you have some time to relax later on.
  • Ask someone to purchase the ice for you on their way to your party. You don’t want to be buying this too early, and you don’t want to be rushing out just before guests arrive.
  • Start the music before the guests arrive – there’s nothing like an awkward silence when the first person turns up.
  • Find a place for guests to leave their coats or bags, and direct them to it when they arrive.
  • Once the food is out and the music is on, take some time to enjoy yourself, chat to your guests, and don’t worry too much – everything will fall into place when all the guests arrive.

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