Australians love a great party. Sharing food, drinks and good times with friends and family is a way of life and we do it for all sorts of reasons. Birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, the office Christmas party and ‘just because it’s Saturday night’ are often commemorated in style. Even funerals often end up as celebrations of life where stories are told, laughs are had and the good times recalled.
These occasions can be remembered for years to come, especially if the host has gone to a lot of trouble and the event is exceptional in some way. There are three ways any party can pan out: memorable for all the right reasons, memorable for all the wrong reasons, or not memorable at all. Naturally, you want to make sure your celebration is memorable for all the right reasons. To that end, here are some tips to help you throw the perfect party.
Consider hiring some help
What sort of party are you having? Is it a huge, elaborate affair or something small and intimate? The bigger the party, the more factors that need to be considered in order to make it successful. Guest lists and RSVP’s, food, drinks, music, venues, themes, invitations, catering – the list goes on and on.
If you’re hosting a party, don’t forget that you’re supposed to have fun as well. But if the time and energy you’ve had to commit to organise the event has drained you of your energy – or you’ll be stressed out all night because you’re constantly wondering if people are having a good time – perhaps you should consider hiring a professional to throw the perfect party for you.
Why are you having a party?
By understanding this fundamental question, the next steps will fall into place. Memorable parties have a reason for being, from the most outrageous birthday extravaganzas to small intimate dinner parties for your closest friends. Do you plan on going crazy and partying well into the early hours or will it be more understated with everyone home and tucked up in bed by midnight? Get a clear vision of what your party is all about and the subsequent planning decisions will come far more naturally.
- What sort of party are you going to have?
- What date is the party?
- Where will the party take place?
- How many guests will there be?
- What’s the budget?
- What will the entertainment be?
What theme will you go for?
Choosing a theme can make or break a party. If you organise a 40th birthday party with a 1980’s theme and very few people come dressed up, it can throw a dampener on the party right from the start. Think about your guest list and what sort of people they are. Will they throw caution to the wind and be up for anything or would they feel uncomfortable about dressing up as their favourite fairytale character.
Of course the theme doesn’t have to mean getting dressed up in a certain way but it does set the tone for the night ahead. If you’re throwing a cocktail party with waiters in tuxedos serving drinks, there’s going to be a certain expectation placed on your guests. It’s important to get it right.
Who will you invite?
This is all going to depend on what sort of party you’re having and why you’re having it. A guest list for a wild Saturday night party is going to be vastly different to one for your great-grandmother’s 90th birthday celebration. But that doesn’t mean you should play it safe. Go with a mix of generations, interests, old friends, new friends, and a few wild cards to keep things interesting and everyone on their toes.
If it’s a sit down dinner party, make sure best friends are seated apart and get everyone swapping seats after each dish. This will ensure the conversation never goes stale and people get to meet each other.
Do you need to send invitations?
Some parties don’t need formal invitations; a simple phone call will suffice. But if it’s a larger party, then there are catering and venue factors that need to be taken into consideration.
Send the invitations out at least three weeks in advance and set an RSVP that gives you enough time to organise food and drinks without causing too much stress. Don’t be afraid to follow up with a phone call if people haven’t RSVP’d in time. Knowing how many people are coming is crucial to hosting a successful party.
Do you have the right venue?
Choosing the right venue is vital once you understand the reason for having the party and the number of people you predict will be coming. Often the decision is easy because it’s a dinner party or birthday celebration at home. But office Christmas parties, reunions or 50th wedding anniversaries require a special venue that fits with how you want the night to go.
Is it a formal sit down dinner? Will people be dancing? Is there enough kitchen space if you need to prepare food? Is there space for the band? Is the bar big enough for the number of people you’ve invited? One tiny bar for 100 people and insufficient toilet facilities isn’t going to cut it. Just one or two problems with the venue can multiply into many bigger problems.
What food and drink will be served?
The importance placed on the food you serve is dependent on the type of party you’re having. The food selection is vital if you’re having a formal sit down dinner. If you’re having a raging Friday night house party, it won’t be so important. No one has ever left a house party saying the quiches ruined their night!
On the other hand, drinks can be a real deal breaker. A lot of hosts employ a bring-your-own policy for events like barbecues and weekend gatherings. For more formal events you will be required to supply the drinks. Make sure there is a small variety and don’t forget about the non-drinkers. One beer, red wine, white wine and champagne choice should be enough for most parties but a cocktail or some top shelf options will certainly add to the quality of the event. The budget will play a big role here. While the quiches at the house party won’t break the night, the drinks you serve very well could.
How will you entertain your guests?
Along with the guests you invite, your choice of entertainment will arguably have the biggest influence over whether they go home happy or not. The music you choose is so important that you really have to take a hard-line stance on this front. The perfect party can quickly go to ruin if your crazy uncle suddenly gets his hands on the CD collection or the heavy metal loving grandson commandeers the iPod at your grandmother’s 65th birthday. Create a playlist in advance, hook the iPod up to the speakers and hide it where no one can get their hands on it.
Of course, depending on the budget, live entertainment is always a brilliant option. This could be a band at a wedding, clowns and jugglers at a children’s birthday party, or a comedian at a sit down dinner party. We can’t stress this enough: the entertainment you provide will make or break your party. If guests are bored and leave early, that is a disaster. If they’re having such a good time you literally have to push them out the door at the end of the night, you’ve done a great job. This is what people will be talking about when reminiscing about your event in the future.
A week out from the party it’s time to get organised.
- What food are you preparing yourself and when do you need to have it ready by? You don’t want to be preparing food while people are arriving!
- Have you got all the crockery and cutlery you need?
- Have you confirmed the entertainment? Is the playlist ready?
- Do you have enough help for the night? Don’t be afraid to ask friends to serve drinks and food or fill ice buckets if you need help. People are always happy to walk around with a plate of food and a bottle of wine to top up drinks.
- Is your house clean and ready if you’re having the party at home? Is the venue ready to go?
- Are the caterers on track?
Don’t leave anything until the last minute and don’t just assume anyone you’ve hired is ready to go. A quick phone call will allay any fears you may have, and ensure suppliers are focused on your event. Anything you can do ahead of time will reduce the pressure you may feel on the day of the event.
It’s party time!
By this time you should have everything planned and ready for execution. But there are always unexpected surprises that will throw a challenge or two your way. Don’t panic – it’s a party – and chances are no one is noticing anyway. Whatever the issue: take your time, relax and sort it out at the earliest convenient moment.
To ensure the event runs as efficiently as possible and to maximise the enjoyment for everyone, here are a few ideas you could use:
- Hire an MC – depending on the nature of the event, a good MC will keep the evening running smoothly, entertain the crowd, ensure everything that needs to be said and done is ticked off, and keep the runsheet on track.
- Party hashtag – by letting guests know of a specific party hashtag, people will be able to search Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms for images and comments from the party. This is a great way to reminisce about the event in the days that follow.
- Be prepared if things go flat – depending on the nature of your event, have some games or activities ready to go if the party needs a kick start. Encourage people to play along with fun prizes to give away and word up a few friends to get involved from the start.
Just remember: the perfect party is one where the host has a great time as well. There’s no point going to all of the trouble, effort and cost to put on the event if you’re too stressed or you’ve got no energy left to enjoy it.
Lantern Club is the perfect party venue
Perfectly combining an incredible modern Australian menu with fantastic alfresco and indoor spaces, Lantern Club in Roselands is the ideal setting to have your perfect party. Dining options include:
- 3-course packages to suit any budget and taste
- A variety of platter options
- Morning or afternoon tea packages
- Standing buffets with delicious grilled meats and desserts
- Healthy breakfast option for the perfect start to the day
Let the experienced staff at Lantern Club provide an outstanding experience for your guests, taking the pressure of you to do all of the work right from the start. It’s the best choice you can make to ensure you have just as great a time as the rest of the guests in attendance.
To discuss your event, call Lantern Club on (02) 8037 8200 and our friendly staff will work with you to make sure everyone goes home happy. Our goal is to ensure you throw the perfect party without any of the work or stress you may feel if you did it all by yourself.
© Lantern Club, Roselands