How to Host a Party: 5 Key Steps to Successful Celebrations

We’ve all been to that one disaster party. You know the one that ran out of canapés before all the guests had arrived–or left you standing in the burning sun for 45 minutes because the venue wasn’t quite ready. Heed the warning of ‘failing to prepare is preparing to fail’ if you want to know how to host a party.

We consulted with some of our party planning experts to pick their brains about the key differences between a party fail and a party to be remembered. Our top tip? If you can you should get an expert involved that will save you time, money and lost hair.

Here are 5 top tips on how to host a party that will out-do the Jones’:

1. Know Your Crowd (How to Host a Party 101)

Sure the party is all about you but if you’re planning on inviting 20-meat pie loving mates to a vegan-themed banquet the vibe of your big event is going to be sour. So, if your goal is for EVERYONE to have a great time then theming your party to suit your guests is a fail-proof plan.

And, on that note, be sure to ask your guests for food allergies. Not being considered, waiting for a bowl of salad leaves as an alternative or just waiting for your meal while others eat as all poor form. Get on the front foot by knowing who’s attending and what they need.

2. Slightly Over-Cater

As my wise Italian neighbour once said, “it’s better to have a week of leftovers than a hungry guest”.

When it comes to catering your event our party planning foodie experts have come up with the following method. If you have 15 guests, cater for 20 but if your list is over the 100-guest range cater for 10% more then you’re expecting, depending on your number. Just think of it as the food GST.

Please note: this calculation is best applied to the main meal and not the cheeseboard. You don’t want your guests overindulging on the brie and having no room for the big show.

3. Create an Event Run-Sheet

This boils down to the main tip of prepare, prepare and prepare some more. This really is the difference between your average party punter and a full-blown expert.

Whether you’re hosting a party for 20 guests or 200, a run-sheet will help your event run more smoothly. By jotting down when you’d like to cut the cake or pop the first bottle of bubbly, you’ll avoid any awkward mishaps or party waste. Like forgetting to serve the cake you’ve just forked out $400 for (true story, *facepalm*)!

4. Set Your Budget

You have two options here, send out and collect RSVPs early so that you’ve got an idea of how many people are going to make your event and budget accordingly. Or, create a list and guestimate no-shows and base your budget on that figure.

When allocating budgets catering and beverages should be the priority, followed by event location, entertainment and lastly decorations. Sure, the smaller details help the party come together but if you’ve used your beer budget on doilies, you’re not going to receive rave reviews from your all-important guests.

And, if you’re running your event at a bar or restaurant then people do not mind buying their own drinks once the tab has been spent.

5. Over-Inform with Plenty of Notice

If you’re planning a destination event, your venue has no parking or you’re expecting your guests to make any special effort like dress up for your theme be sure to let everyone know with plenty of notice and remind them often.

Look, people are busy with their families, commitments, jobs and what-not. It’s not personal that people may overlook upcoming events so, therefore, its totally ok to remind them of your epic party.

The last thing you want is a bunch of ‘no shows’ because it was all a bit too hard!

The Key to Hosting a Party Is Deciding What Kind of Party You Want to Have

By knowing the kind of party you want will help you decide on your guest list, venue, theme and budget. If you want to have a rock-star party in your pyjama onesies then make sure you invite your friends who will also enjoy that. And, make sure you remind them to get their giraffe suit ready-to-go.

Want help planning a party? Browse Event Planners, Organisers and Decorators in your area now.