Throwing a party is supposed to be a fun project rather than a difficult task. However, as the guest list grows and a never-ending stream of organisational tasks starts, it can be hard to relax at your own party.
To help you plan the perfect birthday party here is a quick party planning checklist to guide you.
Who and what is the party for?
This sounds like a really simple question, but keeping this in mind can make the rest of the planning go a lot smoother. Take the time to visualise what you want the event to look like, the food, the theme, the people there.
If you are hosting a party for someone else, ensure they are involved in all the decision making and have plenty of opportunities to add their own touches to the proceedings (surprise parties are obviously an exception to the rule!).
Set a date
Making sure to set a date for your party well in advance is a courtesy for your guests, so they can plan ahead and put it in the diary to ensure they don’t have previously booked plans on the day.
Streamlining your guest list is another important part of party planning. Are you inviting work colleagues or not? Are there going to be children attending? Are people who will have trouble standing up too long like your grandparents going to be in attendance?
Making sure you know who may be coming will help you tweak your preparations to fit them; like adding children’s portions to the menu.
If you are having a sit down dinner, trying to place people with complementary personalities together is a great way to encourage conversation.
Sending out beautiful hand written invitations to your guests can be a great way of engaging with them and inviting them to attend your party. If efficiency is your main concern, online email invitations or texts are less personal but less time consuming way to confirm attendance.
Will you be serving lunch or dinner at your party? Will you be serving alcohol? Will there be any vegetarian guests?
Asking guests ahead of time in the invitations if they have any dietary requirements, such as being vegan is a must for your party planning checklist. Try and let the venue you are using know well ahead of time if there are any specific dietary requirements. This helps the chef’s team prepare alternatives.
Venues like Salomons Estate are practiced at creating menus that cater to a wide variety of dietary requirements including a vegan diet or dairy free etc. If you need more information get in touch.
Whether you going to be serving your guests a three course meal or just nibbles, making sure you have a menu plan in place is imperative to ensuring your party goes without a hitch.
When serving canapes rather than a full meal, about 6 to 8 canapes per head is a good start to ensuring no one is left still feeling peckish. Obviously some more popular nibbles like cocktail sausages and cheese puffs will go down a storm so a more generous proportion of those will ensure that no one is left hungry. A few bowls of crisps artfully scattered around never hurts either!
Having a theme with your food is a great way to create continuity. Having a series of Italian dishes or Chinese banquet food brings the party to life and helps avoid discordant flavours or textures.
Are your guests wine or beer drinkers? Will cocktails go down a treat? Are many of your guest’s alcohol free?
Organising drinks ahead of time can take a load off your mind. Having wine ready to head to the tables and water, ginger beer and lemonade available for non-drinkers will help keep chatter (and drinks) flowing.
Non-alcoholic cocktails are always a great serve; they offer a nice alternative for non-drinkers in the crowd. Some of the tipsier individuals may take one as well and take a break to slow the pace.
Ask the venue how many bottles of wine per table is generally a good estimate. But you know your guests best and feel free to increase or decrease the wine allowance as you see fit.
If you are in doubt of how much you will actually need when it comes to drinks it is often better to go with a generous estimate. If there is a lot leftover, then inviting a few friends over to help you finish them off will be an excellent excuse for a follow up party. Make sure there is a reserve supply – nothing kills the mood like running out of drinks.
Having a central theme for your party can help you plan. When you are decorating your function room, choosing your menu, selecting which activities you want to use as well as entertainment. From popular themes like costumes at Halloween to a casino themed party, making sure each element flows together is important to making the night a success.
Here are a few popular themes:
-A historical costume theme (80’s style, medieval costumes, 20’s flapper style)
-Angels and devils
-Game of Thrones
-Black and white movies
Any of these themes would make for a wonderful night.
If you have friends and relatives coming from a distance away to attend your party accommodating them overnight, or even for a few days, is something you need to think about. Having a few taxis or designated drivers arranged ahead of time can save you a headache as you try and find a way to get everyone safely home.
Looking into local hotels and inns, or even camping grounds for more intrepid guests can save them a late night drive home – or if you choose a venue like Salomons Estate you can have bedrooms on site!
We hope this was a helpful party planning checklist to guide your party preparations. If you are looking for a venue for your party, then we would love for you to get in touch with us here at Salomons Estate. We would be delighted to show you more of what our beautiful Estate has to offer.