Ever wondered how to plan a party which all your nearest and dearest are going to absolutely love? It’s a concern for anyone hosting a major event – so whether it be for a birthday, anniversary, wedding or any other special occasion, let the CEP team guide you through 10 easy steps when it comes to throwing a successful party.
1. Think of a theme and stick to it
Themed events are an increasingly popular means of hosting a party in the current day and age, so it stands to reason you’ll want to follow this trend and plot your event around one particular idea.
Whether it’s an enchanted garden, Great Gatsby or an Bollywood theme you’re looking to base an event around, make sure you choose an idea in the initial stages of planning and, most importantly of all, keep to it.
There’s nothing more counterproductive than coming up with a terrific theme only to change your mind half-way into bringing your idea to life. When considering how to plan a party, a critical step is to stick to your guns – even when you’re seriously tempted to spice things up a bit.
When it comes to thinking of the theme itself, some useful steps to consider include:
- What you/the person who you’re hosting the party for enjoy
- What is or isn’t currently topical or on trend
- Whether what you’re planning to do is feasible for your budget/time
Unsurprisingly, this is one of the most important party planning factors for any would-be host. If you’re relying on the style of an event to see your do end in success, getting the theme right is an absolute must.
2. Tailor the event to an age range
Part of choosing the perfect theme comes from getting things to match up from the perspective of your guest’s age ranges. While you might love the idea of a Las Vegas themed shindig, with glamourous showgirls in toe, it wouldn’t exactly be appropriate for the younger kids in attendance.
When it comes to picking a party topic around ages, there are some real blurred lines. However, as a rough guide, here are some ideas which are perfect for the varying levels of youth which could be at your party:
- Babies and toddlers – Enchanted forest
- Children aged 5-11 – Circus, Mystical Creatures, Hollywood
- Children aged 12-17 – Sci-fi, Robot Wars, Sports Entertainment
- Aged 18 or above – No limit (taste allowing)
While you might think this problem is easily solved by making it a no-kids event, you have to remember a lot of parents might not be able to attend if that’s the case. If you’re forced (or if you want) to have kids at the party, bear all of this in mind. The last thing you’ll want your party to be remembered for is little Timmy catching a glimpse of something he shouldn’t have.
3. Make sure the music fits the theme
Similarly to our previous point, it’s important for the music you choose to play to be in keeping with the overall mood of the evening. There are plenty of ways of doing this. For example, if you’re hosting an Asian-themed wedding you could invest in some J or K-Pop tracks.
Looking to keep the affair as classy as possible? Choosing some singing waiters is a clever option. These guys and girls will serve you food throughout the night, before spontaneously breaking into a pre-planned song and dance routine.
Whatever it is you eventually opt for, you’ll want to ensure it’s in keeping with the rest of the event. If you’re hosting a classy affair, but blast out some funky drum and bass, you’ll be giving off a weird vibe to your guests.
You don’t have to hire out a DJ to guarantee the night will be a success, but it probably wouldn’t hurt to do so. If you do end up doing that, ensure they’re someone who knows the tone of the event.
4. Organise games to play
Who doesn’t love a good game at a party? This is a factor which often gets overlooked once our younger years have passed, with games usually associated more with something you might see at a child’s birthday party.
But they’re a good idea regardless of age. Big kids can still have fun, after all. Some of the games we loved in our youth which are still perfectly appropriate to crack out include:
- Pin the tail on the donkey (it doesn’t have to be this exact design, but pinning an item on a board based around a theme)
- Musical chairs
- Pass the parcel
As well as those classics from yesteryear, you’ll also be able to organise some drinking games if this is an event specifically catered for adults. Make it as competitive or light-hearted as you like and think about putting everyone into different teams if the numbers aren’t too high. This is a particularly good idea for parties with young adults.
5. Keep things as simple as possible
Sometimes when we think about how to plan a party, we let our imagines run away with themselves a touch. While we want to make an event as memorable as possible, that runs the risk of over-complicating things. One trick which is often ignored is to keep everything as simple as you can.
For example, a perfect theme which keeps things as easy as possible would be something along the lines of a Masquerade Ball. The nature of an event like this lends itself to customisation, but also keeps things simple in the most entertaining way possible.
Abstract ideas are all well and good, but if you can’t find the required gear to bring your vision to life, they’ll fall well short. Luckily, CEP provide a series of amazing bespoke acts and services, which can help make your dream a reality.
Stick to creative, yet simple, ideas and let the magic and ambience of an event flow naturally around that.
Food, glorious food – what more could we ask for? Getting the nibbles and bigger bites right is half the battle when it comes to keeping your guests replenished at a party. Whether it’s serving hors d’oeuvres or the main course itself, you shouldn’t neglect the importance of your grub.
Some perfect appetisers which add that smidgen of class include things like:
- Baked brie and cranberries
- Bacon-wrapped apricots
- Smoked salmon
- Mini grilled cheese sandwiches
While this handful of light bites will keep your guests’ bellies ticking along nicely, you might want to also consider adding some candy machines, or other similar devices, for a sweet treat. This can be worked around your theme – for example, serving candy floss and caramel apples would work perfectly at a circus-themed event.
If it’s a sit-down meal you’re putting on, make sure you invest in a menu which everyone can enjoy. That doesn’t mean an entirely vegetarian or vegan options for everyone, but make sure they’re added as alternatives for non-meat and non-dairy eaters.
7. Ask for help if you need it
Don’t be afraid to ask for help from a professional. Not everyone will naturally know how to plan a party, so it’s not a sign of defeat if you seek out the guidance of a pro planner to ensure your event goes off without a hitch.
Here at CEP we’re experts at hosting events, so we’d be an experienced head to turn to if you’re struggling to manage the day all by yourself. So if you need the hands-on personal advice of party experts, feel free to contact us for some ideas.
We’ll be able to help you decide on things like:
- What theme would work for your guests
- What kind of food is appropriate to serve
- Which of our many services and acts would work best for you
Not everyone needs to be guided through party hosting, with some people out there possessing a natural flair for it. That said, if you’re part of the greater selection of people who have never thrown a large event before, you’d be smart to look for help.
8. Keep the booze flowing
Again, this is age-range permitting. If you decide to craft a party where alcohol is allowed, then make sure the adults have a constant supply of the stuff to keep them in high spirits. While you won’t want anyone to get sloppily drunk to the point of causing a scene, it’s generally true the more booze you serve the happier your guests will be.
You can ensure there’s a regular stream of alcohol for your attendees by:
- Making it a free bar for the night (this will probably mean you have to charge guests a small fee themselves though for access)
- Keeping peoples’ glasses constantly full with the help of roaming champagne tables and other similar services
- Allowing guests to bring their own tipple of choice to the event
While you’ll naturally want to maintain some level of control over the alcohol situation, make sure there is an ample supply to keep people lucid and chatty as the night progresses. It’ll make a huge difference to enjoyment factors.
9. Think about the guest list when you’re planning
This harks back to some of the points we were making earlier but it’s important to know what type of people you want to attend your special day. Don’t just invite any old Tom, Dick or Harry. Tailor a guest list which results in your idea of a perfect event.
Some things to consider when throwing together your list include the likes of:
- What age range your party is aimed at
- Whether everyone you invite does or doesn’t get along
- If there are any characters in mind who might cause things to get out of hand
- Whether your guests are allowed to have a plus one or not
It might sound surprising, but this is actually one of the hardest steps when it comes to making sure you’re throwing a party which is going to end successfully. A poor blend of people could result in a lack of atmosphere – which is sure to kill an event dead in an instant.
While you obviously won’t be able to account for every fall out, you’ll know if there are two (or more) people who definitely won’t get on, or might even come to (metaphorical) blows. Make a judgement call on these kinds of things before you send out invitations.
10. Plot table plans carefully (if you’re having them)
On a very similar note, if you do elect to invite some fiery and potentially clashing personalities, make sure you keep them well apart in your seating plan at dinner. If you’re choosing to have a sit-down meal, it’s best to meticulously plot out who is sitting next to who.
A simple way to side-step this dilemma is by allowing your guests to choose themselves where they want to sit. Separating families is a particularly bad idea, with people less likely to start off a random conversation with a stranger (assuming they haven’t already knocked a few back).
It’s not a total no-no to sit guests who don’t know each other together, but only if you’re very confident they’ll get on and have a laugh with one and other. In truth, we recommend binning off the idea of a seating plan altogether, as it’s always easier for partiers to have a good time around people they’re already very familiar with.
Hopefully you now have a much better understanding of how to plan a party successfully. Follow these ten handy tips, and you’ll be the toast of the town when you next host a soiree for all your nearest and dearest.