This is a simple guide and checklist to make sure that you have thought of all the essentials when planning a party. There are other things you can do, but these are all the important ones
The Date - You want the party date to be as close as possible, but make sure that the people who matter can attend on the date you choose, particularly the guest or guests of honour!! - Weekends are best for most people.
Budget - how much do you want, or can you afford to spend?
How many people will attend? - is it a small party or a large one? - this will affect your choice of venue, your catering arrangements, your budget and the time it takes to organise
Where is the party to be held? - the venue is important - first it has to be suitable for the number of people you want to be there (not too small but also not too large) and second it has to be somewhere where the guest or guests of honour will feel comfortable.
If it's at home you will need to think about space for everyone, sufficient tables for food and drink. sufficient chairs for people to sit down, and the space to put them out, crockery and cutlery
If it's at an outside venue just make sure you know what the venue are doing for you (catering, drinks, decorations, tableware etc.) and what you need to do yourself
What's the occasion? - this might affect all sorts of things, depending on the guests of honour. Think about what they would like, and the style of occasion that most fits them. If it's a surprise, make sure everyone knows they have to keep the secret!
Invitations - these can be formal or informal, but for an important party it's best to provide a formal invitation. If you need a reply to confirm that your guests are coming, put an R.S.V.P. at the bottom
Food - clearly there are lots of ways of doing this from self catering, getting everyone to bring one dish, or using outside caterers. You also need to decide what type of food you want to offer - is it a finger buffet, a more substantial buffet or a sit down meal? Don't forget that many people have special dietary requirements and you don't want your guests to go hungry.
Drink - The important thing with drink is to decide what you are going to supply and whether more will then be available for your guests to buy should they wish to, and also to make sure that your guests know the arrangements.
Decorations - for a special occasion you may well want to obtain decorations for your home or for your chosen venue. Balloons (preferably helium filled) make great party decorations and you can get balloons decorated with most big birthday ages, wedding anniversaries etc, and in a variety of colours. You can also get banners, garlands, party poppers, table confetti, table centrepieces, streamers, sparklers, napkins, paper plates, tablecovers and much more
Table Plan and Place Cards - you may want to decide where people are going to sit for their meal, and planning this in advance is really important to make sure that everyone sits close to people that they know, or will find pleasant company.
Entertainment - if you want a disco, or a live band it's good, once again to book well in advance as these people do get booked up, particularly at busy times. There are many, many entertainers around, and the best route you can go is to ask around for recommendations as the quality can vary. If this isn't possible the internet is full of guides for different areas of entertainers - music, magicians, childrens entertainers and much more
Transport - You may need to help some of your guests with their travel arrangements, or ensure parking close to the venue is available for the infirm. Best to get these established in advance
Preparing the venue - if you are doing your own decorating or preparations at the venue check with them that you can get access when you need it in advance of the celebration. Nothing worse than finding you are locked out when you need to prepare!Back to guides