Planning a party can be a stressful, overwhelming and daunting prospect! There’s so much to organise and if you leave it until the last-minute, it’s easy to forget about some of the essentials. Take a look at our recommendations for planning the best, stress-free party that you can be super proud,of and that your guests will remember for all the right reasons.
Picking your theme
This is such an important part of any party – as you cannot really organise much else until you have a theme in place. There are so many to choose from, so it’s easier to look at themes by category:
- Kids’ birthdays
- Adult birthdays and milestone ages
- Special occasions
- Seasonal events
Define your budget
Decide how much you want to spend and stick to it. This is so important because costs can really add up. To avoid over-spending, set a budget and log your purchases in a spreadsheet or even in a notebook to help you stay on track. How much you spend is personal to you, however once you’ve set your budget, you can swing into action and let the planning commence.
Set a date, pick your venue and create your guest list
These are really important elements that need to be decided early in the planning of an event. Hosting your party at home and limiting the guest list to a sensible number is one of the best ways to have a party on a budget. If your budget is more flexible, look at hiring a venue – hiring a venue can often be less stressful than hosting at home, and on the plus side, you usually get some help with the clearing up! Ideally guests should be notified of a party at least 4 weeks prior to allow adequate notice.
Invite your guests
We would always recommend sending invitations out approximately four weeks before the party to avoid people making conflicting plans. Personalised invitations can be a nice little touch if you’re celebrating a really special occasion like an engagement, christening or baby shower party.
Decorations make any party great
Decide how extravagant or detailed you want to be and then shop around your chosen theme. There are so many great online party suppliers who offer entire ranges to compliment themes, taking the stress out of trawling around the shops looking for suitable items. Paper decorations like garlands and pom poms can look amazingly stylish stylish – stay with your colour scheme palate to tie everything in. Balloons always add a party feel to any venue or table setting. The internet is loaded with lots of great inspiration and ideas for party theming and decorations so take a look.
Cake, yummy, scrummy cake
Order your cake at least 1-2 months prior – really good cake makers get booked up far in advance, so start doing your research and getting some ideas and enquire as soon as you can to avoid disappointment. If you are an avid baker, or want to get creative and bake your own cake, our advice is practice! Always have a trial run including decoration to avoid any last minute disasters. Don’t forget your caterer should be able to recommend a cake maker or help with arranging a cake, and supermarkets also offer a fabulous and affordable range of cakes perfect for any celebration.
Plan your party food
On a budget or not, plan what party food you’ll need in advance to make sure you’ll have enough to feed everyone. If you’re sharing the role of caterer, meeting with the caterer and talking through ideas in advance will help you organise who’s bringing what and ensuring you are sticking within budget. Your caterer should understand your brief fully, and come back to you with menu suggestions and costings in advance. You should also agree timings for delivery/setup and let the caterer know venue details.
Purchase your party food and pick up the cake
Three days prior to the party is enough time to make sure you have everything you need if self-catering (and make extra trips to the supermarket if necessary) and make sure everything is still fresh by the day of the party. Arrange a suitable time to collect the cake, and don’t drive too fast on the way home – don’t forget candles and a form of lighting the candles.
Decorate the venue and get the party started!
Allow yourself 2-3 hours prior to the party start time to set everything up. Be sure to ask people for help when setting up – especially at a venue.. Leave yourself enough time to get ready, relax and party – most importantly enjoy the event!