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Top Tips for Planning a Party at Home

Top Tips for Planning a Party at HomePhotography by Michael Discenza

I love a luxurious venue as much as the next professional Wedding and Event Planner, but some of the best celebrations I’ve been to have taken place in the hosts’ own home. Whether it’s a milestone birthday or a baby shower, there’s something incredibly relaxed and intimate about coming together in familiar surroundings to mark a special occasion.

Planning a party at home presents a unique set of challenges. Without the expertise and experience of a traditional venue or their event co-ordinator, it’s up to you to ensure everything comes together as it should.
However, you shouldn’t let this deter you! Here are my top tips for planning a fabulous party at home… 

Pick an Overall Style or Theme

If choosing a specific theme feels too rigid, try picking a colour scheme or a general vibe you’d like to achieve. Oh Happy Day is a fabulous resource for inspiration. Curating a Pinterest board can also help you focus and refine your ideas.

Once you have a clear vision, make, buy or hire any decorations you need. Party Pieces has an excellent range, offering everything from catering supplies to balloons and table confetti. If it’s simplicity you’re after, fresh flowers and candles are often enough to transform a home.

Make a Guest List and Send Invitations

Just like booking an outside venue, it’s important to consider your home’s capacity when compiling your guest list. Although you’ll want the house to feel busy and alive, overcrowding can make things tricky. Think about where people will enter the property, how you’ll serve food and drinks, whether you’ll need to utilise any outside space and what options you’ll have if there’s bad weather.

Plan the Menu and Enlist Help    

If you’re keen to cook and make things yourself, choose recipes that can be prepared in advance with just warming and assembly required on the day. Another option is to hire caterers or order in a selection of party food. Most of the major supermarkets have options for easy entertaining.

In terms of stocking the bar, you should allow three bottles of wine for every four people and three to four cocktails per person for a two to three-hour cocktail party. Remember to order plenty of ice and purchase a range of soft drinks for those who prefer to remain teetotal.    

It’s also a good idea to enlist a willing teen or hire professional help to assist with passing out drinks or canapes, replenishing buffet food and tidying up. Don’t forget to check you have enough cookware, serving dishes and glasses too.

Top Tips for Planning a Party at HomePhotography by Dave Lastovskiy

Clean House and Decorate

As well as giving your home a thorough clean, you may need to create extra space for the party. Rearrange furniture, set up the bar area and designate a table for food, cake or dessert. Tuck away precious items that might get broken and remove any clutter.

While decorating your home, don’t forget about lighting. Using low-wattage bulbs or candlelight will help create the right mood.  

Don’t Stress!

Small things can make a big difference to your stress levels when you’re organising a big party at home. Here’s a quick checklist for you to run through:

  • Remember to notify your neighbours and warn them if you expect the party to be large, loud or disruptive in any way.
  • Have a plan for parking and let guests know where they should leave their cars in advance.
  • Specify a place for coats. Make space in a wardrobe and fill it with empty hangers. Alternatively, you can use a bed for coats or purchase an inexpensive clothing rail.
  • Create a clean-up station. Stock it with rubbish bags, cleaning products, cloths, and a box of salt for any wine spills.
  • Compile a lengthy playlist in advance so you don’t have to worry about music on the day.
  • Make a schedule and stick to it. Decide when you’ll start and finish cooking, when you’ll decorate and when you’ll have time to freshen up and get ready  

Don’t forget to enjoy yourself! After all, it’s a party!

Until next time,

Happy planning!

Val x

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