2016 New Year’s Resolution: Become a Better Party Planner

Ah, 'tis the season to begin making those New Year's resolutions again. We reckon a good commitment to make for the upcoming year is to become a better party planner. To help you plan perfect (and stress-free) parties in 2016, we have compiled the ultimate party planning do's and dont's. With these handy tips up your sleeve, planning your next party should be a breeze.

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Don’t

Panic about party numbers and invite everyone you've ever known.

The classic fear of 'no one will come and I will look sad' often makes you invite people to a party you'd actually rather not have there at all. After having panic-invited everyone (including your neighbour's nephew), you'll end up with a group of people who don't really gel and the party will be a bit of a damp squib. Worse still, you'll spend the entire time doing damage limitation or making endless introductions between people who would be better off as strangers.

Do

Keep it select and only invite people who will actually benefit from the event.

It's better to have a more select, intimate party that really 'works' over a big one where people are stuck making boring small talk for hours on end. Invite people who you know you can easily introduce to each other, or people who would mutually benefit from meeting. This rule does have one caveat: if it's a joint party with a partner or friend, you will need to respect their wishes and take their party wishes into account too.

Don’t

Blow the budget on useless tat OR have a complete craft meltdown the night before.

One problem that people have with party decorations is that they panic and go out and spend vasts amount on money on glittery tat that isn't actually really good for their party. A life sized glittery deer for a birthday party is a classic example of panic buying, and won't win you any planning kudos.

The other issue is that people think they can suddenly transform themselves into craft wizards and overstretch themselves, getting tangled in metres of floppy bunting mere hours before the event.

Do

Invest in key pieces like balloons and banners to keep things hassle-free and festive.

So the thing with party decorations is that really you want something that is convenient, classy and cost-effective. If you have a big venue, why not purchase some party balloons and a helium gas canister, and then fill the balloons yourself? This is a surefire quick and easy way to spruce up any village hall or function room space. To quickly make something personalised, why not put together a nice festive banner? Then just add some fresh flowers and cute lighting (candles or fairy lights) to pull it all together.

Don’t

Forget to cater for vegetarians and other special diets.

This is something so easy to forget sometimes, but it really does not look great if you haven't catered for vegetarians or even pescatarians. Gluten-free is a new one, but it's on the rise, so best to make sure you also serve non-pastry based treats as well. For vegans, there are plenty of options out there, so don't get put off by its complex reputation. A robust salad with an oil based dressing or a stir fry with rice noodles are just some of the many tasty things vegans can eat. If in doubt, reach out to your guests to see what sort of things they would serve.

Do

Offer healthy and varied party food.

The old days of the party cocktail sausage and crisps on pink plates have been replaced by classier options like cheese boards and tapas finger foods. It's not that cocktail sausages and crisps don't still have their place (they certainly do!) but with people being increasingly health-conscious, it's a good idea to explore other options too. There are plenty of great party food blogs out there for inspiration.

Don’t

Assume that you have to pay for everyone's drinks all night.

Ok, so some people might turn up wanting to get drunk, but don't get too stressed about offering every single person there a full bar arsenal! Pick and choose who you want to really offer drinks for as a token of appreciation, but if you are at home it is probably easiest to serve things like punch and leave bottles on the table for people to help themselves. If you are catering for many at home, ask everyone to bring a bottle with them!

Do

Offer what you can, and if you have a free bar, do a charity donation box.

A nice way to get a bit of charity kitty together is to have a honesty box on your free bar, to which people can contribute every time they go up and get a drink. It's not meant to be a like for like contribution, but it should hopefully get people digging into their pockets and being generous. Make the charity a talking point at your party, and share the amount you collected with everyone afterwards.

Don’t

Get bulldozed by an over-ambitious party planner.

If you have gone down the party planner route, beware of the over-ambitious planner who will stretch your budget with their mad, overblown ideas. It's almost too easy to go along with their suggestions for an ice sculpture palace, but you'll be sorry when the bill turns up...

Do

Stick to your guns and do the party your way.

It's not about not accepting advice, but it's about sticking to your vision and keeping to your original budget as much as you can. Yes, a good party is brilliant, but you don't want to have to remortgage the house just to pay for it. In some cultures spending money on parties is a sign of prestige and wealth, but don't flash the cash if you haven't got any. Small, personalised and cheap touches can go a long way.

Don’t

Be constrained by limits

For 2016 it's all about the mix and match, creative approach to parties. Don't feel like you have to stick to traditional limitations and approaches.

Do

Mix and match, be creative

You can have vintage discos, rock and roll tea parties, mad hatter weddings and Prohibition hen dos: the sky's the limit. Free yourself to be creative with your parties this year.

Tells us about your great party ideas for 2016 below :)

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