The hostess with the mostest: The ultimate guide to throwing a successful party

Autumn and winter are both very sociable seasons; Christmas, and New Year’s Eve follow each other rapidly in a series of sensational soirees.

When we’re guests at these types of events, it can be easy to overlook the effort, time, and consideration necessary to throw a successful party or gathering. Hosts, on the other hand, know all too well… 

If you’re organising a party and feel a little nervous about guaranteeing every aspect a success, read our ultimate guide to stress-free hosting.

Plan as far in advance as possible

This might sound like an obvious tip, but you’d be surprised by how many hosts are guilty of putting important arrangements like party boat hire off and off until the event is right around the corner. Don’t make this mistake! To ensure a stressless, impressive party, get all your ducks lined up as soon as possible. 

This piece of advice might be too little too late if your party is within the next couple of weeks or months but do what you can as soon as you can. You’ll thank yourself later.

Include thoughtful details in your decorations

Anyone can decorate a room for a party, but only a talented host knows how to incorporate thoughtful details within those decorations. Generally, your décor choices will depend on whether your party is for birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, or New Year but the little touches you might want to add don’t necessarily need to follow a theme.

You could have quotes from your guests’ favourite movies taped to the walls or on the tables, flower mugs relevant to people’s best-loved blossoms, and cupcake toppers based on special memories or occasions. The details aren’t the details, the details are the décor! 

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Just because you’re the host and the party venue is your house (or another space arranged by you) doesn’t mean that every single responsibility falls within your remit. If you’re struggling to get certain aspects in order, such as decorations, food, or activities, ask the people around you for support. 

According to recent research, many people find that party planning is more stressful than work deadlines, being late, and school runs. While that doesn’t mean it isn’t rewarding at the same time, it does mean you shouldn’t be afraid to request help. Perhaps you know someone who runs a catering business, or a friend of a friend who works in a balloon shop? Just make sure you extend the invite to the person helping!

Prepare goodie bags

Party guests love party favours, so consider pushing the boat out by organising for your guests to walk away with goodie bags. If the event is celebrating Christmas, the party bags could contain mini chocolates, a gingerbread man, wine, and a personal bauble. Be creative and think outside the box.

Cater for different dietary requirements

If there’s going to be food at your gathering, be mindful of everyone’s individual tastes, preferences, and dietary requirements. For example, will there be anyone there who’s committed to a vegetarian lifestyle? Seeing as there are currently 7.2 million people following a meat-free diet in the UK, this could be quite likely.

When you send out your invites, ask people if they have any specific food requests. You wouldn’t be the hostess with the mostest if the only food available contains meat and dairy products when a large portion of your guests are vegan, for example. Make sure there are options available for a variety of tastes or through a QR Code Generator create a personalized QR Code where your invites can scan and direct them to your forms that they can fill out for their request.

Budget carefully

A good host always sets out to impress guests and give everyone a night to remember, but please don’t put yourself in a sticky financial situation just to do that! Organising a party is stressful enough without the added weight of money worries, so be mindful and spend within your means. 

Whether your budget is £100 or £1,000, you’d be surprised at how much you can achieve with some careful consideration and planning. To establish your budget, decide the total cost you’re willing to spend before splitting that into categories, such as food and drink, entertainment, and venue. 

Arrange group entertainment and games

Parties are fantastic for talking, dancing, eating, and drinking, but they can also be so much more than that. As an icebreaker, or a way to ensure that the night doesn’t fall stagnant, have some activities or games in your back pocket.

Again, what you do specifically could depend on the theme and occasion of your party, but some games offer fantastic fun no matter what time of year it is. For house party games, consider classics like Charades, Psych, and Cards Against Humanity. If your event is taking place in a public party venue, you could hire a magician, musician, a photobooth, or a comedian. 

Don’t forget to enjoy yourself!

The run-up to the party can be stressful but follow our guide and it should be smooth sailing (well, mostly, at least). And, once everything is in place and the event arrives, try to relax and enjoy yourself – after all, if anyone deserves to unwind, it’s you.

Being a host can be demanding, but also very rewarding. So, leave yourself open to the good parts too. Good luck!

Photo by Eugene Zhyvchik