Party Planning Hacks
The festive season is here. And if you plan on hosting a party, here are some handy tips…
Organizing a party is no joke! It involves oodles of planning and invariably, we forget something or the other and are left scrambling around at the last minute trying to get everything in place! So, here are some tips to help you get that party rolling. Pre-planning is essential for easy entertaining. If everything is organized and in shipshape, you, as the host, could also sit back or boogie on the dance floor and have a great time.
Answer these questions
At the outset, get going by answering a few basic questions about your party. This will help you to get a clear focus and point you in the right direction. Ideally, start planning well in advance so that there are no last-minute hiccups.
- Do you want a formal or informal party? If formal, how formal should it be? Should it be a black-tie affair, a dressy event, or a casual gathering?
- Decide on your theme. What type of theme do you want to center the event around?
- How many people do you intend to invite?
- How much money do would you want to spend?
- Do you plan to host the party at home or at some other location?
- Do you need to arrange any entertainment for the party?
- Do you plan to cook, get someone to cater the food, order from a restaurant or have a potluck?
Ideally, if you are throwing one of those mega parties with lots of guests, planning should start three to four weeks in advance so that everything goes off without a hitch. The list given below kicks off from there. However, you could compress all that into a much shorter period of time (which means plenty of running around!). Check off each item as you finish it.
3-4 weeks before the party
- Set a budget.
- Make a guest list.
- Decide on a date and time for your party.
- Book tables and chairs if you need them.
- Arrange for any special help. If it’s a large crowd and you are not catering the party, you need people to help you serve the food and beverages.
- Make a detailed list of everything you need.
- Send out invitations. Ask your guests to RSVP so you have an idea about the number of guests to expect.
- Decide and order decorations.
2-3 weeks before the party
- Plan the menu.
- Choose the music – buy CDs or record music depending on the theme. If you plan to have live music, book a band. If you need a DJ, book one ASAP.
- Decide on your event schedule for activities.
One week before the party
- Follow up with guests who have not replied. Finalize the headcount, but be flexible – it could change.
- Stock your bar; pick up all the soft drinks, etc.
- If you are getting an outside caterer, finalize the menu and place your food orders.
- Check your party supplies checklist to ensure that you have everything.
2-3 days before the party
- Confirm all arrangements.
- Pick up all your veggies and snacks.
- Pull out all your plates, glasses, serving dishes and cutlery and give them a good clean up.
- Spring clean the house and put up all the decorations.
- Chop, mix and bake as much as possible. Pre-preparation helps greatly and frees you up to enjoy the party and mingle with your guests.
- Buy ice.
- Stock your fridge with soft drinks, juices, beer, etc.
The day of the party
- Put up any outdoor decorations.
- Change table linen and have your table mats, runners, napkins, etc, ready.
- Make sure the restrooms are adequately furnished with fresh hand towels and face towels, soaps and handwash.
- Set up the bar; Arrange everything else – tables, bowls for snacks, glasses, etc.
- Prepare any last-minute food. Finish it up by morning so that you are not cooking when the guests arrive
- Start the music, light candles or dim the lights and set the mood.
And finally, relax and enjoy your party!
Whatever your theme, certain items are basic elements for throwing a party. Make out a checklist – you can add in the quantities once you know how many guests are coming. Don’t forget to factor in your budget. For example, if you have a limited budget and plan on appetizers, you could opt for vegetarian appetizers that are economical; if you have a lavish budget, go ahead and order that caviar!
So, here’s what your checklist should look like. You could add to this or subtract stuff that you feel is unnecessary.
- Main course
- Soft drinks
- Flowers – preferably plenty of them!
- Centerpiece – for your dining table
- Candles and tea lights – to stay in tune with the season
- Decorative items – depending on your theme
- Glasses and plates. Are you serving your own, do you plan to hire or are you buying paper plates and glasses?
- Napkins – cloth or paper
- Serving dishes, dessert bowls
- Music – background music for ambiance, and dance music if you plan on getting people onto the floor
- Mood lighting for the dance floor
- Tables and chairs – do you have enough or do you plan to hire them?