Planning a party or event can be a real balancing act. From choosing what to wear to deciding how to decorate the venue, there are so many things to decide upon. We’ve tried to help you battle some of the many elements involved in planning a party in an attempt to make your life a little easier...

Music

Music is extremely important to any party. Even if it isn’t intended to be the focal point, and you just want it to be appreciated subconsciously, it helps to set the tone of the party. If it’s a celebratory event the music should be upbeat and cheery; if it’s an informal catch-up with friends it should be soft and gentle, something to be appreciated but not focussed on.

As well as setting the mood, the music also needs to suit your guests. If you’re throwing a baby shower, the music doesn’t need to be loud or harsh as the event will involve talking and games. If it’s a teenage birthday party, the music will probably want to be slightly louder and heavier, whilst remaining considerate of the neighbours. If the party is being held in a marquee, there are a variety of options for music.

You can have sound systems and DJ booths set up at one end of the space to entertain your guests. Alternately, you can install your own system and play music from your MP3 device. Whatever music you choose to play at your party, make sure it suits the event.

Guests

Choosing who to invite, especially to a wedding, can be a minefield. You can’t avoid inviting certain people but you don’t want feuds to rekindle and spoil your party. If you have a seating plan at your event, this can be avoided much more easily: simply keep potentially volatile people away from one another. However, if there will be no seating plan, it can be a little bit more tricky.

Make sure that all potentially conflicting guests each come with someone they know. If people are left alone, or feel left out, they’re more likely to cause a scene. You could also try some pre-party networking. Drop into conversation with your teacher friend that there will be a fellow teacher at the party; people feel calmer when they’re around kindred spirits.

You could also employ some networking techniques once the party has begun. It can be difficult to integrate separate friend groups and sides of the family; introduce people with similar interests and watch new friendship blossom.

Favours

This may sound a little too close to “goody bags” from children’s parties but it’s actually a really sweet idea. It’s nice to send your guests home with more than good memories and happy faces. In a similar fashion to wedding favours, you could send your guests home with small bags of sweets, a little box of chocolates or a small bottle of infused olive oil for them enjoy after the party. It shows an extra degree of thought and care towards yours guests to show them that you really appreciated their presence at your party.

Food

First of all it’s important to consider whether any of your guests have special dietary requirements that need to be catered for. You should already know this information about your friends and family, but it’s worth mentioning on the invitation and asking guests to let you know if they are vegetarian/vegan, or have food allergies and intolerances to things like nuts, gluten, and dairy.

Finger food usually works best at a party because it’s easy to eat, and your guests can have a little nibble at a lot of different things which gives them good variety and choice. Don’t forget to cater for those with a sweet tooth too and provide a selection of cakes and desserts.