Hosting a party is equal parts stressful and exhilarating. You have the unique opportunity to provide hours of entertainment for the people you care about, but also the responsibility of bringing several moving parts into sync. In order to plan a party successfully, you need to be organized, diligent, and have a solid vision of how you’d like the event to turn out.
Why are you throwing this party? There could be a number of different reasons, but identifying the occasion, the reason you are bringing all of your friends together, will help you determine an overall theme, scope, and design.
For example, a small birthday party for your friend is something that you can plan and execute mostly by yourself. Decorations will mostly be limited to balloons, pinatas, and a small selection of items and activities appropriate to the birthday person’s preferences. A block party, on the other hand, requires weeks (sometimes months) of preparation, a meticulously well-designed budget, and a group of neighbors working together in order to pull it off.
Your first priority in throwing a party is determining why you are having it in the first place. The next step is finding a location.
Where you host your event will, of course, be contingent on what the party is for, but a number of other factors present themselves. What season is it? Which venues are available to rent on the day you’re planning the event? What’s in the budget?
One great option to consider for summertime parties is the beach. Everyone loves the beach. It’s pretty convenient too, because 95% of Americans live within an hour’s from a body of water. Not only will a beach venue draw guests, but as far as outdoor parties go, it already has most of what you need. Most beaches have rentable pavilions and buildings in which you can serve food, or in the event of rain, stay dry. Even better, there’s going to be volleyball nets and grills ready for you, so entertainment is covered.
Once you’ve narrowed down your options, book reservations several weeks in advance. This will secure your spot so you no longer need to worry about where your party will take place.
So, say you’ve decided on a beach party in the summer. What do you need to make it memorable?
- Food and Drinks
There are over a million restaurants projected in the U.S. employing 15 million people. That’s roughly 10% of the total American workforce. Luckily, many of these food industry workers also do catering. Pick your favorite type of food and find a local catering service that makes it. This is a convenient alternative to working really hard to make everything yourself. For drinks, decide whether or not alcohol is appropriate, but definitely offer coffee and tea, because 80% of guests will accept.
If you are partying with people who have similar musical tastes, get together and make a mixtape of your favorite songs. If you have a mixed bag of friends and family that have different music preferences, you can’t go wrong with a neutral beach party playlist. Don’t forget to bring a decent set of speakers.
This is where the occasion that you are planning a party for come into play the most. Birthday decorations are fairly obvious, but for a family reunion, you might want to source ideas from family members that are helping you plan the party. A graduation party lends itself to a more relaxed atmosphere, perhaps with a few cap and gowns, diplomas, and ‘Congrats Graduate’ banners tacked up. Be mindful that the beach needs to be clean before you leave, so don’t go too crazy.
And there you have it, a completed party plan. All that’s left is inviting the guests and doing all the legwork necessary to make your vision a reality. And that is the key. Vision. If you can picture in your head how you would like your party to turn out, you can make it happen. All it takes is a little patience and ingenuity.