Our tag line is ‘The best parties begin with HoneyTree’ and below we hope to assist in setting the scene and planning a party. To start with what’s the occasion? Who or what are you celebrating? A special anniversary, birthday, engagement, house warming, graduation or promotion?
Who needs a reason, it’s a party!
Planning a Party – DIY Style
The list we have compiled is based on years of experience working with professional party planners (and organising a few ourselves!) – by using this list you can make an instant saving by foregoing the need to use a party planner and start planning your party – DIY style!
Your budget needs to be set at the beginning. Think about the things that you will need to potentially spend money on: invitations, food/cake, drinks, entertainment, decorations, flowers, venue, music, furniture hire and a new frock of course!
Budget, numbers and convenience will play a large part in your venue choice. Do you need lots of space for children to play, for guests to dance or more intimate areas in which people can chat? If you’re hosting at home, think about how you can utilise both your indoor and outdoor space effectively.
Some areas you will be able to save on: maybe you can hold the party at home or get flowers from your own garden, for example. If it’s a large party at your residence don’t forget to hire portable loos (toilets) and arrange sufficient parking, and maybe even nominate parking monitors. And don’t forget to mention your soiree to any immediate neighbours!
Your budget may govern how many people you can invite and how you cater, but the perfect party doesn’t mean spending a fortune; it means being creative and using your budget wisely to create impact.
Theme and Dress code
This may be dictated by the occasion or the guest of honour – if your four year old insists on the Disney princess look, embrace it. But if it’s your party, this is where you can be creative and have fun.
Whether you use a favourite film, cuisine or decade as inspiration, make sure your theme runs through the event from invitations through to food and décor. Setting the scene and creating ambience goes hand and hand with theme. Ensure that your invitation displays a dress code (if chosen) to help guests eg: ‘1970s Glastonbury: no effort – no entry’. (No one likes to be over-dressed or under-dressed, so a clear dress code will help.) Click here for our constantly updated dress code ideas, as inspired by our customers – you guys are a brilliantly creative lot!
Date and time
Make sure your chosen date doesn’t conflict with other key events (including major sporting occasions or Royal weddings!) Whilst you can’t change the date of an actual birthday or anniversary, you can be flexible around when it’s celebrated to ensure the best attendance.
A Christmas party, an Easter party and parties during the summer holidays can be tricky, but giving advance notice should help; for a very important party, you could even consider sending out Save the Date Cards 6-12 months in advance.
Whilst you want a balanced and engaging mix to ensure everyone has a great time, ultimately you should have who you want there!
For your guests there’s nothing more exciting than receiving an invitation through the post, creating anticipation and a sense of occasion that cannot be replicated by email or social media. HoneyTree was conceptualised with this very much in mind, after our founders attended an ‘end of summer party’ to which they were invited by email. Upon arrival they were surprised to find 120 guests, a fabulous marquee, live band and fireworks! All the guests had turned up thinking just a few people and a casual supper was all that was on offer; however, had the hosts sent an invitation, everyone would have been able to look forward to the occasion and a sense of anticipation and delight would have been created.
We recommend that you send out your invitations at least seven weeks prior to the event, to ensure everyone has time to get the date in their diaries. (Potentially allow more time if you’re holding a Christmas or New Year’s Eve party or a party during the peak summer holiday months.)
Your invitation should reinforce your theme, build excitement and expectation as well as providing all of the relevant information. For advice on crafting your perfect invitation, please visit our Guide to Personalised Party Invitations.
Don’t forget to include a RSVP date several weeks in advance of your party, so you know who’s coming in good time, thus allowing you to finalise the catering, invite reserve list attendees and be prepared and organised. And don’t forget to add the dress code if applicable.
You may like to send out some supplementary information too such as directions, transport details and a request for food allergies/intolerances, via an Information Card (even when produced as a booklet they’re still referred to as ‘cards.’)
If using an external venue or caterer, a couple of pre-meets and a detailed brief, teamed with their experience and expertise, should allow you to enjoy your party without being concerned that your guests are fed and watered.
If however you’re catering at home, think of dishes that will be simple to prepare, make clever use of local and seasonal produce, look appetizing and be easy for your guests to eat – we’ve all been to a party that requires the ‘wine glass/napkin/plate balancing trick’
Drinks: Make sure you have a good stock (there’s nothing worse than running out), that the white wine is chilled and that you have enough ice. Ensure plenty of soft options are available too for drivers, younger guests and those who don’t want to drink alcohol. A mystery punch is a great way to get the party started but ensure those partaking are aware they won’t be driving home!
Don’t leave this to the last minute; enjoy curating your ultimate playlist! Make sure it has all your favourites and that it complements the theme and spirit of your party. If you’re having a DJ or band, make sure they know what you like and want you want played. If you can, try and see them at a gig before you enlist them so you know what to expect.
As well as the above, décor and lighting play a big part in creating the right mood. Lamps, low-lighting and candles are good to create intimacy; a string of pretty lanterns look beautiful at a garden party; and fairy lights for a Christmas party always seem festive and cheery.
Practicalities and safety
Potentially the boring bit, but hopefully you’ll thank us:
To prevent gate-crashers we would always suggest ‘invitation-only’ and that you state clearly on your invitation the start and end time. Perhaps include information on transport and taxis, so people have a safe method of transport home.
When hosting at home, think about where you can safely store precious items to prevent damage and where guests can store their belongings.
We hope that these tips will help you to plan the perfect party and that you #CreateABuzz with your celebrations. Enjoy and repeat again next year! As our studio team constantly comment: ‘we know where the best parties are!’
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