Man is a social creature by nature. Therefore it is not uncommon for us to gather in groups for special occasions like birthdays, anniversaries, and other important events in our lives. Sometimes, we don’t even need a reason to throw a party other than we just feel like it. However, the current economic crunch has affected our buying and spending powers so much that throwing a party seems like such a waste of disposable income lately. But, that does not mean that we have to stop partying. We just need to learn how to throw a successful party on a budget that won’t leave a hole in our pockets.
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To begin with, choosing the theme of your party will dictate the whole setup and mood of the event. Will it be a children’s birthday party? A cocktail party? Maybe even a sit-down dinner? Would your guests be interested in a casual buffet? How many people do you plan on inviting? These are the basic types of information that you will need to have handy before you can continue with your party planning.
According to the article “How To Throw The Best Party” by Diane Fitzpatrick, it is very important that the party planner check the weather condition up to 3 weeks in advance of the party. It would be advisable to look into the possible weather predictions for that day on the Internet or the local weather channel so that you can decide as to whether you would want to hold an indoor or outdoor party.
Once you have decided upon what the party theme is and where it will be held, you can now start planning your food, beverage, and decorations budget. Make sure that you will have more food and beverages than the number of guests. The worst kind of party I have ever attended was one where the food and drinks did not go around and the host had to order take out to fill the gap. Ms. Fitzpatrick suggests the following as a food serving rule of thumb:
DO plan wisely for amounts. An hors d’oeuvre party should have 10-15 appetizers per person. At a dinner party, have 3-5 appetizers per person.
Planning your food and beverage menu will depend upon your budget and the dietary needs of your guests. Remember that special dietary needs do not mean that the rest of your guests have to suffer bland food, or, in the case of vegetarians, a purely vegetarian-friendly menu. Try to plan the food list in such a way that everyone’s needs and preferences are met halfway. Depending upon the number of invited guests, you may want to consider hiring a catering service. That way you will have people serving your guests and you can attend to the little detail of socializing with your guests. Remember, a good host knows how to work the room so that no guest is left ignored or without a person to at least have small talk with. If the party is small enough for you to personally cook the food, make sure that all the dishes are ready to serve an hour before the party. This will give you enough time to prepare yourself to face your guests. Such a party setup will also benefit from a buffet-type service. Guests always enjoy milling around the buffet table while serving themselves.
Elli Ward, in her article “How To Throw A Party” also reminds everyone of the importance of music during parties. She suggests that the host:
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Think about some good music as a background. Decide what music your friends would like. Don’t forget the good dancing music.
Remember that good music always sets the mood at parties. Ask a few of your invited guests over a day or so before the party and have them help you put together the music preferences and playlist on your iPod. There may be some dancing involved at your party so the choice of dance music is a crucial part of this event planning.
Finally, try to avoid serving alcoholic beverages if you can. If this is not possible, plans have to be made in advance for a designated driver to keep an eye on those who might have had one too many drinks and will require assistance in getting home. I have threshed out only the most basic party planning rules so far. It is not that hard to plan a party. One just needs to have the creativity and budget to throw a decent one.
Fitzpatrick, Diane Laney. How To Throw The Best Party. Suite101.com. 2007. Web.
Ward, Elli. How To Throw A Good Party. eHow.com. N.A. 2009. Web.