I didn’t realise I could make a career out of party planning cause, I was already throwing parties of my own at the age of 12. The first party that I organised was Spice Girl themed (of course! it was 1996) complete with spice girls invitations, a ‘dress as your favourite spice girl’ dress code, spice girl and backstreet boys themed music and party food that was made up of a big tub of mash potato, egg and dill sandwiches (which I still make and is a favourite of all my childhood friends), chips and dips and Betty Crockers chocolate brownies which with chocolate frosting. The venue was at my bestfriend’s house which was perfect because her parents never used the bottom half of the house so we thought it was the perfect unutalised space for a bunch of screaming 12 year olds to utilise. It didn’t stop there as I progressed into high school I was planning everything from the haunted house on canteen day, the parade for sports day, hosting talent shows prom and eventually after University, I landed a job at Mosimann a Private Dining Club in Belgravia London as a Sales and Event Coordinator, enabling me to be a part of the service team at Prince William and Duchess of Cambridge (Aka Catherine’s) big day at, wait for it….Buckingham Palace! Yea I know!
Having done this for a really long time and really enjoying a good party, I have a few tips up my sleeve which I hope you will find useful. So here are my must haves at any party you may host:
Never, ever, ever, under estimate the sense of SOUND for your party. This will most definitely set the ambiance of the party. I would suggest (if you have money) to invest in a good sound system and find a DJ (I am sure you have at least one friend who has a great ear for music). If you’re on a budget, get a popular playlist on Premium Spotify and hook that baby up to your TV.
*NOTE: always remember this, two songs for you and one song for your guest: Meaning keep the playlist in theme (two songs for you) but always give a few favourite pop classics, favourite sing along for your guests (one song for your guest).
If you invest in good lighting, you don’t need to go over the top with decoration. You’re tapping into the next sense; SIGHT. I invested in a few disco balls over the years but if you’re on a budget, just buy coloured lantern paper and cover your light bulbs around your house with different coloured lantern paper. You can have a blue room, a red room, a yellow room and a glow in the dark room 🙂
*NOTE: Set areas within the space for various things, a chill out room should have soft lighting like fairy lights or candles and a dance room should have a disco ball or throb lights.
3) FOOD AND BEVERAGE
The next sense is the stomach. Hahaha! For a proper sit down dinner check out this article from Khairi Iskandar that can give you some interesting insights. My one tip is find a menu that keeps you sitting with your guests as oppose to slaving in the kitchen. You can check out the recipes by simply clicking on the recipe tab. I find chips and dips go far. AND, this is my big party trick: In the middle of the night, at every party I have ever held, I just bring out, hot dog buns with steamed chicken hotdogs served with ketchup and mustard in a squeezy bottle and it is always a hit!
For drinks, ask your guests to Bring Their Own Beverage (BYOB) and as a host, PLEASE do not forget plain old drinking water. Lots of H20! Get lots of ice as well and never think you have enough ice. There is never enough ice at any party! In London we use to fill up the bath tub with ice and drinks but here in Malaysia, I have a big Cooler Box which ideal in keeping the ice and drinks cold.
NOTE: Biodegradable paper plates and cups, so it’s easier to clean up after.
Now, this may seem obvious but a beautifully crafted guest list can make or break a party. So, you know your friends best, so you will know who gets on with who. Know what is your objective for the party. For business related dinner parties where I want to gain new perspective and network, I may invite my entrepreneur friends. For a fun Hoo-Haa party, I will invite my party friends, those who are sociable. Look at your venue as well as you’re limited by space, so always keep this in mind.
*NOTE: RSVP for sit down dinner parties so you know how much to cook and there will always be about 5% of your guest that will be a no show. Don’t take it to heart, sometimes things happen. Just be sad for them that they missed out on such an awesome party.
If you don’t want to worry about seriously cleaning your home after a party. Keep these things in mind:
- If you’re a non-smoker, ensure you dedicate an area for people to smoke and have an ashtray close by or maybe even a few. Trust me this will really contain the smoke and butts to one area.
- Make sure you have enough toilet rolls in all your toilets along with an air freshener. If you provide the tools, your guests will be happy to oblige.
- Keep your shoe rack empty at the front of your house so people know to take their shoes off and it doesn’t clutter the front of your door.
- Invest in extra strong rubbish bin bags and have a few rubbish bins around the house.
- Keep your belongings contained in one room and lock it up. You may know these people but sometimes, things do get lost and you don’t want to have to ask difficult questions the next day.
*NOTE: I usually have a couple of friends who I will have stay back to help me clean up. A few hands helping is better than just one hand doing everything. Ask your good friend or sibling to stay back and save them an extra slice of cake or dessert.
What’s your secret recipe for a great home party? We’d love to hear from you!