Behind every great party is an organised party planner; someone who plans ahead, for every possible eventuality. When it comes to parties, you only really get one chance to create an impression. If it flops, everyone will always remember it as the awful party, and you’ll never again be trusted with the responsibility of being organiser. If it works however, you’ll set the bar for all future parties; people will be talking about it for months afterwards and you’ll be known as the go-to person for party-planning advice.

Now, I’m sure you’d rather be the latter, so read on to find out how to start planning the party of the year.

  1. Make lots of lists. There’s no way you’ll remember absolutely everything off the top of your head, so make your life easy, and compile several lists, one for each stage of the party planning.
  1. Compile a guest list. Before you can really start any of the planning, you need to have a rough idea of numbers. Compile a guest list and send out invitations (don’t forget to include an R.S.V.P. number at the bottom).
  1. Choose a theme. Whether it’s fancy dress, black-tie, or masquerade ball, everyone loves a themed party. Plus, it actually makes deciding on an outfit an awful lot easier, so you’ll have more time to concentrate on the party planning.
  1. Book a venue. If your party is a big one, it might be worth hiring a venue. Do your research and you’ll easily find one in a good location for a reasonable price. Some places even let you have a room for free. If you only want a small gathering then it’s fine to keep it to your house – just make sure there’s enough room for everyone, and you have enough plates, glasses and cutlery, otherwise someone will go hungry. Another great idea is to hire out a marquee, if you are based in Surrey or London then check out the marquee hire deals available from Crystal marquee hire, in Surrey.
  1. Refreshments. Plan all food and drink, taking in to account numbers of people. For large parties it’s probably easier to do a buffet-style meal. Include a mixture of healthy and snack-type foods so you’re catering for everyone. Remember to stock up on soft drinks for those who are too young to drink alcohol or for anyone who’ll be driving. For smaller parties, you can reduce costs by asking everyone to bring their own bottle of drink. That way you only have to worry about the food side of things. If you want to cook a sit-down meal, plan it carefully, buy all ingredients before the day itself and make sure you’ve practised the dish at least twice.
  1. Music / entertainment. Every good party needs an awesome playlist. It’s easy enough to make your own, and if you’re feeling flash, hire a DJ (just check out his music first – Mr Blobby might not go down too well at your Grandparents Ruby Wedding Anniversary). If your budget stretches far enough, hired entertainment always goes down a storm with party guests. 
  1. Make a speech. Thank everyone for coming to the party. Maybe have a competition for best-dressed, and present the winner with a prize. If there are prizes involved, people are bound to make more of an effort and everyone will enjoy it more.
  1. Enjoy yourself. It’s sometimes easy to forget to enjoy yourself when you’re the party planner. As long as you’re organised, you can kick your shoes off and dance as wildly as the rest of them on the night. It’s your party too, don’t forget that.