Whether it’s an engagement, a birthday, a baby shower, a kid’s birthday or a retirement, there are lots of reasons to throw a party and we would love to help you plan one.
Here is our checklist of party planning essentials and ways transform your home for guests.
We may be biased but we’re not wrong in saying it’s hugely important! What are your guests expecting? Do they need to plan for food themselves? If you are hosting an evening event it is definitely worth thinking about feeding people enough to constitute dinner, particularly if you want them to stay all evening and not get too merry after one glass of bubbles! If you are hosting a daytime event such as a kid’s party, then ensure you have lots of snacks throughout the party! Whether this translates as a food stall, mini meals served in bowls, or a burger fresh off the BBQ, it’s totally up to you! We are here to help you make those decisions and support you in ensuring your choice of sustenance suits your guests.
Another key thing to have figured out! It’s the first thing your guests will probably want when they arrive, be it a cold glass of fizz or a warm mulled wine so have a think about what you want available. Our favourite from the holiday season was having our signature blend mulled wine available ‘on tap’ in your home using a mulled wine urn. In the summer you can be creative with an Aperol Spritz on arrival or a peach Bellini.
Whether it is just a “dinner party playlist” on Spotify, or a DJ performing until late into the night, the music is always key to creating the right ambience in the room. Avoid the awkward silence for your first guests that arrive by setting the mood with background music.
Whether you are having your party inside your living room or outside in the garden you need to make sure that there is some soft seating available for your guests. Depending on the atmosphere and requirements of your guests we suggest having a few pockets of seating areas as well as some high tables where your guests can mingle.
It may seem obvious, but if your party is outside make sure you consider what lighting sources you will rely on when the sun goes down. Even if your party is inside, it’s nice to ensure you have soft lighting such as lamps, dimmable bulbs and candlelight.
One thing that always gets missed is ensuring there is somewhere for your guests to leave their things. We suggest converting a spare room with a metal coat rail and having one of our lovely cloakroom attendants look after that area for you. Or if it is a small party this could be self-service. This way you don’t have guests losing items throughout the night and it means your party space stays clear of access coats and bags! It is also an easy area for your guests to leave any gifts they might be bringing if it is a birthday or celebration of some kind.
Now your home is probably already an incredible backdrop, but in addition to any lighting, why not bring home flowers from a market on the day, string some fairy lights around the windowsill or create a balloon installation in the corner or over your front door? Finishing touches to the room can really help transform it into an event for both yourself and your guests.
Unless you want to subject yourself or close friends to looking after the ovens, empty glassware and ensuring your guests have had enough to eat then it is very useful to have a few staff members taking care of that for you. Parties with less than 15 guests can mostly run by themselves, but any more than that and it might be worth considering asking for help so that you can totally relax.
Wet weather contingency
Let’s be honest, even in the summer you cannot 100% rely on the weather not suddenly turning. If you plan on hosting your event outside, it is definitely worth considering what the plan may be if it does start to rain. Are you able to accomodate everyone inside, or should you hire in a small marquee to ensure there is always an undercover option if needed?
It seems to us that there is no better place to practice your event hosting skills than beginning in your own home surrounded by your nearest and dearest. Depending on the scale of your event, a few of these may apply to you or they all might – but we hope it’s been helpful!
One Dining have lots of experience transporting our delicious food and event knowledge into a home context, so please do get in touch when you are planning your next event as we’d be thrilled to help.