While many of us look forward to a great jol during this season, sometimes having a good old-fashioned house party is the answer
But in the age of social media, Ubers and extensive dietary requirements, what does a modern house party look like?
We’ve compiled five essential tips to make the ultimate party planning kit: No more last-minute running around, serial broadcast WhatsApp messages or double trips to the convenience store for ice!
1. Kick-start your planning
First things first, you need to have your planning in order. Gone are the days of jotting down every single task in a notebook, although keeping a notepad for quick scribbles is always useful. The best way to keep everything concise, is doing it online (especially if you’re not the only one planning the party).
Setting up a private event page with a website like Quicket will save you so much time, especially when it comes to the finer details like RSVPs, dietary requirements and payment, if you’ve chosen to charge a cover fee.
Having your own event page also makes it easier to relay important messages to your attendees, without feeling like you’re overwhelming them with multiple text messages.
Include as much information as you can, the date, time, place (include a pinned location for convenience), what to bring along and what time you’d expect everyone to leave. If applicable, don’t forget to include the theme or dress code.
Lock down your budget
The best way to not go over your budget is by setting limits for each expense. Start with the unavoidable expenses like food, drinks and entertainment, and then look to items that you can still afford.
There’s nothing wrong with simplifying your planning, and easy ways to do this include keeping the menu short and sweet.
If you’re planning to braai, choose one meat, one vegetarian/vegan dish, one starch and one salad option, and if you’re planning on serving drinks, pick a cocktail that you know would be quick and easy to serve. Should you really want to spark nostalgia with your guests, mix up a big bowl of punch to help quench thirst.
Divide and conquer
There’s nothing more daunting than having to navigate organising a party by yourself – so why not rope in your friends to help? Now that you have your event planning page set up, it’ll be easier to manage the tasks: one in charge of monitoring RSVPs and payment of cover charge on Quicket, and another in charge of staying in touch with guests, for example.
If you’re a perfectionist and prefer to do all the pre-planning yourself, only call on your friends for help on the night. Small errands that easily slip our minds like preparing the salad, rounding up everyone when it’s time to leave and making sure the music is always flowing can be quickly managed if shared.
Have a checklist
This might seem obvious, but we often forget about the little things like charging bluetooth speakers, buying biodegradable cups and plates, and ensuring that you have enough loo rolls (trust us on this one!). These are all miscellaneous items, but they make a world of difference to how your guests experience your party. Having to ask someone to pop out for a roll or two of tissue paper is not ideal.
Take it a step further and make your checklist digital – this way everyone involved in the planning can tick off their tasks, and updates can be shown in real time in order to avoid back and forth texting to check if everything has been taken care of. Trello has a great system for teamwork, and allows you to create tasks within your checklist!
Bear these in mind
With all the above party planning tips, there a few more essentials that your guests may ask for, or that you need to prepare in advance.
For example, make sure to lock any rooms that you don’t want people to go into; have your Wi-Fi password up where everyone can see it; and create a playlist beforehand to take the pressure off having to run back and forth to change songs.