Everything you need to know before you host your next party
What’s not to love about a party– there’s good food, fancy cocktails, great conversations, and the part of dressing up for it too! We have often been to parties that are immaculately planned, where the décor is stunning, the vibe is great, and the hosts don’t look like they may have a meltdown soon. So what’s the secret of throwing a stress-free party? We have put down the ten commandments of party planning that will help you raise that toast in style.
1. Make a checklist of all the things you want to do for the party, including the date, time, venue, theme, guest list and the music playlist. And then edit. Depending the amount of time you have, and help at hand, realistically edit the list of things you “can do” and “cannot do”. Staying oragnised and real is the first step of it all.
2. Have a budget in mind, and stick to it. It’s easy to get swayed when you are planning a party but being a stickler to your figures will save you from unpleasant surprises later. Having said, always keep ten per cent of your budget as contingency money. You never know, the cake may not be inclusive of delivery cost, the floral centerpieces may warrant an upgrade, etc.
3. Give yourself sufficient lead-time to send out invitations. About two to three weeks in advance is a good estimate. Make sure you have included details for RSVP.
4. Work with trusted companies and agencies for floral decorations, food and beverages. While local vendors may offer you a competitive price, in most cases, you will end up doing the running around, which is what you need to avoid at all costs. Try and keep your calendar free of any engagements on the day of your party.
5. If it’s your first time with a catering company, then it’s a good idea to have a meal tasting. It will help avoid any disagreements and disappointments later. If it’s a small party of close-knit friends, and you have any information of possible food allergies, do pass it on to the caterers.
6. If you are expecting a lot of guests, it might be a good idea to figure parking for them. Separately, let your neighbours know that you are hosting a party, and address any grievance they may have before your party starts.
7. One of the biggest things to remember is trash disposal. More the number of people, more the trash that is generated. Make sure you have enough trashcans or garbage bags at your disposal.
8. There are two things to a comfortable time out – a well-oiled kitchen and restrooms. Make sure that you have put out enough napkins, hand towels and toilet paper rolls in your guest bathrooms. It is a good idea to have aroma candles or sticks to keep odour at bay.
9. Make sure you have accounted for a space where all used serving ware and flat ware can be placed during the course of your party. There’s nothing more unsightly than a heap of unwashed, used dishes in your kitchen sink.
10. Light up all the candles, put on the lights, and play some music before your first guest arrives. Nothing say ill-prepared than when one walks into a dull, lifeless space.