Everyone knows how stressful planning a party can be. So here we have our top ten tips to ensure that you pull off your party without so much as a hair out of place. Kiss goodbye to frazzle and frustration, and say hello to keeping calm and cool throughout the process.
1. Keep it simple
Keep the party ideas simple; don’t go overboard when thinking of things to include. You don’t need a gourmet, eight-course dinner on the menu with fire-breathers and belly dancers for entertainment. All you need is to prep some things in advance and have a few statement talking pieces for the décor, such as flowers or bunting. The main focus of a party is the company, so don’t stress about making it into a huge extravaganza.
2. Start planning early
If you start planning your party early, there will be less worries and last-minute panics by the time the day rolls around. Start with a plan of action and figure out the basics, such as how much food and drink you will need for your expected attendees. Once you’ve got the essentials together well in advance, you can expand on it with the time you have left.
3. Lists are your friend
Always be armed with pen and paper – you never know when inspiration might strike and you’ll have a brainwave you won’t want to forget. Checklists take away the worry of trying to remember everything. Create a shopping list, one for the things you can stock up on in advance and one for nearer the party when you might need to pick up the last minute fresh ingredients. It could also be a good idea to make up a guest list of who’s coming and who isn’t, also whether they may have any dietary restrictions, as this helps you to easily keep track of RSVPs too.
4. Stick to a theme
Picking a theme for your party can take out a lot of stress from party planning. The theme will influence all of your decisions, so choosing between napkin colours will suddenly take you a lot less time! If you’re concerned about food and drink ideas, base it all around your theme. You can do the same for decorations and flowers and music; the theme should set the tone all round and become an easy benchmark.
5. Be clear about who’s on the list
Depending on the formality of your party, you may want to send out paper invitations or invite people exclusively via social media. It helps to build anticipation for the party with your guests and plus it’ll help you get a handle on how many to prepare for.
6. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Don’t feel that you have to bake and create everything yourself; that’s a lot of stress on one person’s shoulders. Let yourself outsource some of the party work to friends and family, or even professional bakers or caterers, to help relieve some of the workload. This is especially useful if you know you aren’t the best at baking or cooking, so you don’t worry yourself over a possible kitchen disaster.
7. Let your guests be self-sufficient
One way to help you keep calm during the party itself is to ensure you don’t have to run back and forth to the kitchen to check on the food. Instead, it may be easier and more social to offer a self-serve buffet of food, depending on the party type. This way you’re not running around like a headless chicken - people can feed and water themselves when they’re hungry or thirsty. All you’ll need to do is top up plates and platters when they’re getting low and replace any empty bottles with fresh ones.
8. Get food ready in advance
The same as planning early and making lists, prep your food beforehand where possible too. If you’re making any cakes or pastries, these can usually be done a couple of days in advance and will still taste delicious. The only food you’ll have to prep on the day of the party will be the freshest things like fruits and vegetables, meaning it’s far more manageable come the morning. You can also prep your décor weeks in advance, as long as you have somewhere to store it.
9. And… Relax
The ideal situation is to leave yourself an hour or so before the party starts, to relax and get into the party spirit. This will get you in the right zone to welcome your guests and have a great night. From visiting the salon to having a soak in the bath, these few moments will keep you fluster-free.
10. Sign up a cleaning crew
This doesn’t have to be professional, but it’s a good idea to make it clear to friends and family that you will need a hand clearing up afterwards. Those that volunteer will probably enjoy a good gossip after the party, just remember to repay the favour!