A Minimalist’s Guide to Party Planning

Do you ever wonder how people host such good parties? Here are some tips to help even the worst of party planners host the perfect party.

You may think that writing a blog about hosting parties is quite paradoxical for me, as I am an introverted minimalist who has no desire to host parties…Well, you’re right! However, before I lose all credit with you, I’ve gained quite a bit of experiencing hosting events through various jobs I have had. The party planning tips I’m sharing with you are things I have picked up, been taught, or personally experienced. Some of my jobs have included event coordinating and catering, photography (for events and weddings), and interning for my church (we hosted several events a month). So let’s get into it!

How To Host The Perfect Party

1. Know Your Guests

This is the most important step! Before you decide to host a party, come up with a guest-list of people you know semi-well and people who would get along. All of your friends have at least 1 thing in common, and that is YOU as their friend. But when you’re creating a guest list, you want to think about people who could potentially have more in common, whether it be drink preferences, music preferences, fashion sense, or love-of-books, etc.,… Create a guest list of people with several things in common so that mingling comes naturally for everyone. Pick a good mix of extroverted and introverted friends to keep conversations exciting and interesting.

Think of it almost as setting people up to go on a blind date, because that’s kind of how friendships are born. Set your friends up for success.

2. Send Invites

As a general rule of thumb, 30% of your invite list will not show up.  If you want 50 people at your party, invite 65. Make sure you plan for the correct number of people.

3. Market & Advertise

If you sent invitations via e-mail or a social media network, make sure you post frequent updates leading up to the event (but not an annoying amount) . This will not only remind people that your party is taking place, it also gets them to anticipate your party, building excitement. I usually like to post a picture of food the day before or the day of, because nothing is more convincing to get someone to attend an event than having a good spread of food. Works every time!

4. Create a Party Playlist

Know what kind of music gets people in the right mood! If you want to have a calm and prestige party, some simple piano tunes would be perfect. If you want a fun and bumping party, create a playlist full of good beats and a good bass line.

5. Provide Food & Drinks

No one feels less excited about attending a party than when they’re responsible for providing food for a list of people they know nothing about. You don’t have to provide ALL the food and drinks, but providing the majority of it is just good party planning ethics. You may mention that people can bring their favorite snack or drink, but that you will provide the main dish. This takes pressure off your guests while giving them freedom to create a good snack or bring their favorite drink to share.

6. Have a Loose-Itinerary

Every party should have direction. Whatever your goal is for that party, make sure you are the pilot of the party plane, and that you land the plane where you want it (I’m stealing my Pastor’s “plane flying” analogy because it’s very relevant). If you want a fun party, make sure you have an idea of fun ice breakers, have games around, etc. You want to have a backup plan in case you can see conversation dying out and people getting bored. Notice I said “loose” itinerary, because parties are for relaxing. Don’t be too strict about doing this or that right away “according to schedule”, because that removes the fun and organic component of a good party.

7. Welcome Your Guests

When a guest arrives, welcome them with excitement! After all, this party wouldn’t be possible without them. If they are carrying any bags or gifts, offer to take them or show your guest a safe place to set their belongings. Once you have done so, offer them food or drinks, and then introduce them to someone.

8. Introduce Your Guests

Introduce your guest to someone and mention something they may share in common. My sister taught me this trick because I used to be the worst (and most awkward) at meeting people. This trick transformed the way I meet new people and introduce my friends to people.
Example: “Haley, I’d like you meet my friend Sarah. She’s also into yoga.” Right off the bat, you’ve given your friends something to talk about and your job is done. Hang around for a minute so you’re not throwing your friend onto another person, then when you see they’ve picked up conversation, you’re free to go.

9. Mingle

Make sure you are spending time with all of your guests, and not just your best friend. Mingle around and visit with all of the friends you can and thank them for coming.

10. Decorate

Decorations are completely optional! In my minimalist opinion, they are the least important. If the food is good and the music is good, then people are usually happy. But if you don’t mind dropping a few dollars on decorations, it adds to creating the ideal party atmosphere.

Do you have any party hosting tips? Share in the comments below!

Happy Partying!




Back porch lighting
Hand-made paper ornaments

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