How do you plan an amazing party – the best ever?
You want everyone to love your party, right?
One where all your guests will congratulate you on a mighty fine effort, but how?
Whether you’ve been tasked to organise the company summer or Christmas party, a christening or family gathering, all of these ideas and hints can apply to you.
We’ve all been to parties where people are sitting around slightly bored – looking for a polite excuse to get out and leave! So how can you avoid this at your event?
One simple answer…
Plan for success!
Ensure you have some fun and excitement planned so that everyone can leave on a high.
1. The Venue
This is one of the most important things to get right.
If it’s a private party, your home could be a very suitable place to host the event.
If it’s a big celebration, perhaps think about what you want and how you wish for your guests to feel.
A. Look for the wow factor
A nice venue makes people feel appreciated, particularly if you are planning a corporate or work event. Does the venue make people say, ‘Oooh, this is nice?’
Probably the most important factor for me.
A central location is crucial if you want as many guests to attend as possible. Is the venue accessible by public transport or good for taxis? Will some guests be looking for overnight accommodation?
Make sure your venue can do this (ask for a discounted rate 🙂 ) or check for nearby choices.
C. The PA System
How good are the venue’s facilities?
Will they be able to play music at an appropriate volume or will you also need to hire in a DJ/PA system? Music really is necessary for that atmosphere you wish to create.
The PA system is also useful for any speeches or presentations you may need to do.
D. The clear up
The venue are clearing, right? Check that your fee includes room cleaning, otherwise you’ll be there at the end of the night sweeping up!
2. Surprise your guests!
Most events are predictable.
Your guests will turn up assuming they know what will happen. Breaking these thoughts upon arrival will greatly enhance your party and make it instantly more exciting and memorable.
Remember – exceed their expectations instantly and you are on to a winner!
This excitement will be determined by the type of event you are planning.
Why not have some weird canapes or drinks on arrival?
Everyone will be instantly impressed with a little dry ice bubbling out of a cauldron of soft drink (or alcoholic – come on, this is a party after all!).
How about a creatively produced arrival biscuit or treat? A baby face for a christening or your favourite pastime captured into an edible bite!
You could also have a fun photo frame for everyone to use as they enter – send them the photos later as a gift.
It’s possible to hire in a company to do this for you or you can simply set up a fun area of the house or room near the entrance for them to use.
Large Corporate or Christmas party
Create an entrance experience.
When I was planning a Winter Wonderland event with my good friends at KSD events a few years back, we built a white ice tunnel for guests to walk through before entering the main hall.
This instant and unexpected surprise was well received by the excited guests. It served as a taster of what to expect when inside and it really raised the excitement levels for our guests.
We have also built a Christmas tree lined entrance tunnel at a festive event we organised. You can see this pictured.
You should consider a grand entrance like this!
Alternatively, have human statues situated at the arrival point.
These are a great talking point as guests assemble and it certainly provides that instant surprise you need. Norfolk based connections entertainment can organise these for you.
If you missed the dry ice cauldron idea above in the family gathering section, do check this simple yet highly effective idea out. You can get further ideas and dry ice here.
After such a grand entrance, things are in danger of going stale…
Break the ice and get people laughing, chatting and enjoying themselves by offering interactive experiences.
There are lots of things you can do which promote this feeling. Here are some of my favourite ideas, regardless of your party budget:
The free options:
Heads and tails classic
Want a zero effort, no planning solution?
Play heads or tails.
Everyone stands up and they place their hands on either their head or their bottoms.
As host, you flip a coin. If it falls on heads, everyone who guessed bottom sits down and is eliminated or vice-versa.
Continue until you have a winner!
This can be played ‘Just for fun’ or ask everyone to put a pound in and donate the earnings to their chosen charity. Or just give the winner all of the loot to go and spend in the bar – your choice!
If organising a staff party, find out who has a hidden talent and get them to perform for everyone!
You will be surprised as to how many budding musicians you have. And what weird and wonderful party pieces people hide away from you all at work!
This allows colleagues to learn a lot about others and it makes for a personal experience.
Just don’t go all Simon Cowell on anyone willing to give it a go! Simply congratulate everyone and carry on partying.
This is a great activity to help boost staff morale or simply as a family fun game.
It’s really easy to make up your own list of items for people to find or you can go a little more professional and use the app GooseChase to create a crazy activity! This website gives some great examples of adult scavenger hunts which include:
Photo hunts – the participants must gather photos from around your venue in the fastest time.
People hunts – find guests who have had certain life experiences.
Nostalgia hunts – blasts from the past!
Don’t mind spending a little cash on interactivity? Try this…
The price is right
I loved this game as a child and this brings back a nostalgic touch for your older and middle aged guests (I have to class myself as middle aged now that I have turned 40).
Basically, buy some items you want to give away as gifts and display them at your party.
Assign everyone a number – possibly give them a number as they walk in.
When you’re ready, start the game as follows.
Choose your first gift and draw at random 4 numbers. Those numbered guests are invited to win the prize by coming along to the front and bidding for them. Of course, you shout out, ‘Come on down’ as they come to the front!
Each of your four guests now take it in turn to guess the price of the gift.
The person closest to the actual price is the winner – and they take home the item as a prize.
This game will create a frenzy of excitement, trust me! But don’t have too many items. After around 4 or 5 games, the novelty will wear off and it will start to drag.
4. Make it magical
Hiring a close up magician really ticks many of the boxes above and takes a lot of the work away from you so that you can concentrate on hosting and having a great time yourself.
But I would say that, wouldn’t I?
I am a professional magician based in Norwich!
But hiring me will add a wow factor and it really works for any party, big or small. Here’s how…
It allows for interactivity, bringing guests together and getting them chatting and laughing – creating that atmosphere your party needs to be exciting and memorable.
It certainly surprises them because the things they have only ever seen on TV is now right under their noses…at YOUR party!
And hiring me to welcome guests and creates that special moment at the start of the event which I mentioned is so important.
5. Offer a unique 'twist'
Not only do I provide magic, but I also twist balloons (see what I did there?)
Now hold on, balloons are tacky and just for kids, right?
Well, they are if you hire a standard balloon twister…
But I have worked really hard to offer an utterly unique and talked about balloon twisting service for parties and events.
It is totally different from you and your guests’ expectations of balloons and this serves to really raise the roof at any type of party – big or small.
These are not balloon dogs and swords. These are balloons to add the wow factor for young and old alike.
I take multiple balloons and twist them together to form princesses, cartoon characters, Star Wars balloons, Disney pieces and even well known characters such as Donald Trump!
This really does get people chatting and laughing about what will be coming next as I pull out a stash of balloons.
If needed, I can offer interactivity with balloons too. I can create wearable balloon heads, hats, balloons to fit around arms etc as well as a limbo stick – all designed to be used when dancing on the dance floor.
A colourful display for some fantastic fun and photographs!
6. The party experience
The most important factor of all when planning an unforgettable party is unity. Everything must go together and this means thinking beyond the colour scheme, any decoration and your fun ideas.
Think about what experiences your guests will have at each point of the event. Is it jumbled, or does it all flow together?
Guest experience is what makes the atmosphere, the party and of course, the compliments to you once it’s all over!
Make sure they have surprises, interactivity and fun and you are on to a winner.