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There are a lot of things to bear in mind when planning a party that all your friends and family will love. 

It can be easy to get overwhelmed, but if you follow our easy guide, you’ll be sure to organize a wonderful celebration!

1. Theme

Birthday Cake with Candles and Party Hats

One of the first things you need to do is to choose your theme. Once you have selected your theme, all your details will revolve around it, from invitations and decorations through to food and drink!

If you’re throwing a party for someone, ask them what type of theme they would like.

If you’re stuck for ideas, some great themes include:

  • Colours: Gold, silver, blues, pinks etc
  • A time period: 90s, 80s, 70s etc
  • Seaside, beach or nautical
  • Halloween, Easter or Christmas
  • Wild West
  • Woodland or nature
  • Luau
  • Superheroes or princesses

2. Invitations

You Are Invited

Your invitations will set the tone and will be the first thing that your guests see.

There are so many possibilities when it comes to invites. You could:

  • Create your own customised invites online – there are a lot of great free websites
  • Get a designer to create them
  • Buy them online (for example from Etsy or Amazon) or your favorite party store
  • Send out email invites

3. Guest List

Guest List

For small gatherings invite whomever you feel should be there.

For large gatherings, it can be a little bit harder to decide – especially if space is limited. Here are a few questions that will help you work out whether to add a guest to your list:

  • Have you spoken to them within the last 12 months?
  • Are they friends or family?
  • Would it cause a conflict if you didn’t invite them?
  • If they threw a large party, would they invite you?

Have a reserve list. That way if a guest has to cancel, you can invite someone else on the list.

4. Appetizers

Charcuterie Cheese plate

Having a few appetizers ready for when guests arrive will help get the party off to a great start. 

Everyone usually arrives at different times, so this is a fantastic way for guests to get acquainted with each other as they all gather.

You can go as basic or as fancy as you like with your appetizers. Good ones to serve include a cheese board, bruschetta, shrimp cocktail and chips and dip. 

Bear in mind that people might be walking around with their appetizers so don’t serve anything too messy… and have lots of napkins at hand!

You could also serve a welcome drink, like a signature cocktail or a glass of punch.

5. Main Meal


Your main meal doesn’t have to be show-stopping. It just has to taste yummy!

Choose something tried and tested that you’ve made before. As tempting as it may be to try something new, stick with something you know. 

Chili and pasta dishes always go down well as they’re easy to make, can be served buffet style and you can serve plenty of different side dishes with them.

6. Drinks

Set of different alcoholic drinks and cocktails

I always have the basics on hand for guests; bottled water, soda and diet soda.

If you are serving alcoholic beverages, you could have wine, beer, a signature cocktail, or your favorite liquor with mixers. Make something with your theme in mind. For example, you could serve margaritas with a Mexican meal. If you are organizing a James Bond-themed party… martinis would be the order of the day!

For nonalcoholic beverages, you could serve assorted flavored seltzers, juices, lemonade, iced tea, or create a signature mocktail.

If you would like guests to bring their own drinks (otherwise known as ‘BYOB’), make sure you mention this on the invites, so there is no confusion.

Don’t forget to provide plenty of ice!

7. Dessert

Slice of Cheesecake

I love to bake, so dessert is my favorite course!

Dessert could be anything that is sweet – a fruit platter, homemade chocolate chip cookies, cake, apple pie or ice cream. You can bake dessert yourself or order it from your favorite bakery.

If you’re serving anything cream or ice-cream based, keep it cold before it is time to dish it out. You don’t want it to turn into a gooey mess!

Offer containers and napkins so if guests are too full for dessert, they can take some home with them to enjoy later.

8. Activities and Games

Couples Playing Cards

Whether you have a few couples over for dinner or a large gathering, having something to do will make your party more memorable! If you have kids coming over, it will also keep them entertained so their parents can relax and socialize.

For smaller get-togethers, you could play games such as cards, board games, charades, or dominos. Why not ask everyone to bring their favorite game with them to play?

For larger parties, you could have outdoor games like lawn darts, cornhole or bocce ball. For kids parties, activity stations like face painting and cupcake decorating go down well too.

9. Decorations

Colorful Balloon Decorations

Decorations can range from the very simple to the very elaborate and will ultimately depend on the event you are celebrating, your theme and your budget.

Decorations include table arrangements, banners, balloons, streamers and flowers.

Shop around for decorations online and from your local party store. You may also have some decorations at home that you can repurpose, or borrow from friends.

10. Party Favors

Party Favors

Having a little something for your guests to take home with them at the end of your event is your last little detail when it comes to creating the perfect party.

Party favors are simply a small token of your appreciation for your guests, thanking them for coming all the way to your party.

A favor could be anything from homemade sweets, flowers or a small bottle of wine. If you’re throwing a children’s party, goodie bags full of small toys and sweets are extremely popular.