BY LAYNE WHITBURN
Bubbles + canapes + good company = one of life’s simple pleasures. Unfortunately, planning a party isn’t as simple. In fact, it can be quite the contrary. Whether it’s an intimate affair like a dinner party or a memorable one like a hen’s weekend, one thing remains the same - the importance of planning. If you’re organising a party, don’t stress - we’ve got you covered. Read on for the anatomy of the perfect party.
Choosing your fellow party-goers should come naturally, but an easy way to get started is by using Microsoft Excel. Yes, spreadsheets may sound like work (boring) but they’re so helpful and can be fun! Add 5 rows including: name, number, email, address and an empty box to tick whether they’re attending. When drafting your guest list, keep in mind the 80:20 rule. It’s a known party practice that 20 percent of invitees won’t be able to make it, so just remember to factor that in.
Take Your Planner Everywhere
Forgot to add someone to the guest-list? Eeeek. You never know when an idea (or guest) will pop into your head, so for ultimate preparation and planning goals, consider your planner your bible and take it everywhere. Keep note of venue appointments, shopping lists, menu ideas and everything else in between. For a planner you’re proud to take everywhere, shop es+elle online. Your welcome.
Step away from the decoration shop. Choosing a theme is vital towards achieving a stylish, well balanced, and Insta-worthy party. Once you’ve determined a theme, create a mood board of your favourite things to get the inspiration flowing.
Some trending party theme ideas:
Ok, now the fun begins. If you’re short on time, make a shopping list of all the decorations you need to get. Alternatively, DIY party decor is a great way to de-stress. Set aside a weekend of blissful arts and crafts and make your own unique decorations.
Check out these funky DIY ideas:
Ever hosted a party only to find an epic festival was on the very same weekend? It happens. Just remember to do your research. Also, planning for a summer affair is very different to a winter one.
Never underestimate the power of paper. Old fashioned paper invites are making a comeback. Well, they never really disappeared - social media just came along. While Facebook is great for getting the word out and reminding guests, an invite delivered to the door will make guests feel important and excited. Check out this Pinterest board of creative invitation ideas.
We know what you’re thinking, why has food not been mentioned earlier? The bites served at a party are considered one of the most important elements (alongside wine, of course). It’s easy to get wrapped up in a stress ball of cooking. The solution? Make food simple. If you’re opting out of high priced catering services, make foods that you can prepare the day before. Plan a menu and make a shopping list of everything you need.
Check out these genius make-ahead canapé ideas. The less cooking the day of the party, the less stress. Simple.
Again, simplicity is key. Offer the basics like wine, beer, and champagne. If you’re short on fridge space, consider serving spirits. Perhaps a whiskey tasting bar? For a summery kick, make a fruity cocktail and serve in a large punch bowl with cups and straws on the side. And don’t forget non-alcoholic options.
A good band equals dancing. Lots of dancing. A DJ is suited to the disco-type parties and a simple playlist playing through the speakers suits more casual affairs like sit down dinner parties. Weigh up the pros and cons of each and choose the option which suits your guests, theme, and occasion.
A venue should primarily tick 3 boxes:
Can it fit the guest count?
Is it easily accessible?
Does it fit the budget?
But it doesn’t stop there. There are lots to consider when it comes to choosing a venue. If you’re hiring a venue, determine what is included.
Some places offer complimentary decorations or even a party planner. Fill the space. Ask what the maximum number of guests are allowed. You don’t want a large space with only a small number of guests - it will just feel empty and cause people to spread out. Nearby public transport is vital for the drinkers while parking is important for day parties like high teas and sober baby showers. Also, don’t forget to check if there are enough facilities for the number of party-goers.
Hiring a professional photographer is a must-do for those important occasions, but not so much if it’s just a casual celebration. Some cute ways to get some happy snaps are by leaving a camera on the table with a sign tied around it reading: use me. Obviously, everyone's smartphone will be out in force, so consider adding an Insta-worthy backdrop. Think flower walls, neon signs or a balloon arch.
Rain happens, but it shouldn’t ruin your fun. For outdoor settings, make sure you have marquees, tipis or an indoor backup plan on standby.
And breathe out. Party planning can be stressful, and a stressed-out brain is a forgetful one. It’s important to pencil in some time to relax.
Seriously, write in your diary right now a meeting with yourself. Whether it be a massage, a walk in the fresh air, a 20-minute yoga session or simply sitting back with a cuppa tea - setting aside some zen time is vital.
Thank You and Goodbye
Lastly, leave your guests with a positive impression. Party favours are a nice touch to give guests something to take home with them or send out a thank you card the following day.
Planning a party? Check out es+elle’s range of goal-kicking planners. Happy planning (and partying)!