Being organized is key for a successful party. Ask these 6 questions: What is the date? How many guests? What is the location? What type of party will it be? What is your budget? What is the music or entertainment?
You might need to entertain a group of professionals or a group of folks you like. Try to discover a quirky mix of people who would make an intriguing group, and be careful about the size that matches your location.
For casual events, invites are not required to be sent. It only takes a quick phone call or evite a few weeks in advance. Invitations for formal parties can be distributed three to four weeks in advance, or even earlier for particularly significant occasions. Include an R.S.V.P. if you are mailing invitations. And don't be afraid to phone individuals for responses; being anxious over numbers is a solid sign that you don't know how to compute quantities for an event.
Don't excuse a small oven or single bathroom when considering your place, and don't go overboard with the tools and space you have. A typical room can hold 30 people if they are standing, and a three-room space can hold roughly 60. You should offer seating for any buffet-style meal. If your home isn't set up to accommodate the party you desire, think about renting a space or some equipment. Think beyond the box; a barn or exhibit at a museum could give your party a unique edge.
To determine your starting budget, take into account alcohol, food, rentals, services, music or entertainment, and flowers or decorations. Drinks come to mind first because alcohol can be very expensive. Consider offering a signature drink instead of a full bar. To cut costs, be creative with your meal selections. Consider a taco bar instead of tenderloin.
The reason for the party—a birthday, anniversary, or holiday—will influence the time and number of guests. Consider your location, spending limit, and equipment to help determine the type of party. Cocktail parties are the most affordable and adaptable. You need to have (or rent) dishes, flatware, glassware, linens, chairs, and service pieces for a sit-down meal. A buffet-style party is a good option and versatile and gives you flexibility in scale and the price can be tailored to your budget.
A party's soundtrack can make or break it, but it doesn't have to be difficult. Make a choice that fits both your style and budget. It typically serves as background support for simpler affairs. Make a specific playlist and connect your iPod to speakers. Consider live music for celebrations that are more theatrical. If it involves dancing, options include renting a jukebox, hiring a disc jockey through local rock bands, or hiring an expensive swing band with a solid reputation. Don't forget the details with decorations, colors schemes, party favors and other entertainment to enhance the theme of your party.
Once you've answered these questions, you've defined the framework for your party: the time, location, and style. Use this knowledge to work out the specifics. The style of the party will determine what supplies you'll need, the season may inspire the food, and the budget will influence the kind of entertainment you pick and if you hire a caterer. Beyond that, be clever and design a party you'd want to go to.