summer party set up with hanging jars and party balloons

Planning a party—even a casual get-together—can be incredibly stressful; there are so many different elements to consider, after all.

However, there are a few essentials that every party will need regardless of the occasion or size. Having an awareness of these essentials can make the party planning process go a lot more smoothly.

We have put together the following guide to help you, so read on for all of the essentials that you will need to bear in mind when planning your next party.

Let’s take a look. 

The Initial Considerations: Occasion, Budget & Theme

Before any real party planning can occur, there are several things that you will need to think about and make a decision on beforehand; you simply cannot move forward without having these aspects nailed down.

Firstly, you need to think about why you are throwing the party. This will then impact every other decision that you make. 

After that, it is time to think about the budget. How much are you planning to spend on the party? Lastly, you need to decide whether or not you are going to have a theme and, if so, how you can incorporate this into your other party planning efforts.

These three factors are instrumental when planning a party which is why you should have at least thought about them beforehand if you have not already decided on them. 

The Admin: Venue & Guest List & Invites 

After you have worked out the three biggest factors listed above, it is time to think about where you are going to throw the party. Obviously, the venue matters for several reasons, but, most importantly, it dictates the guestlist. You will need to think about how many people the venue can comfortably hold. 

There are a number of options when it comes to choosing a venue from your own home to hiring out a function room or even booking a table at a local bar or restaurant.

Your budget will come into play here. Hiring a venue can be pricey so if you are throwing the party on a budget, then using your own home is perhaps the best option. 

Your choice of venue will then inform the guestlist. You should have a number in mind; it is time to start thinking about who you want to invite. The actual invitees are, obviously, entirely up to you.

Although, if you are throwing a big party, it is worth considering how you know each invitee, as the different groups may not mesh well together and some solo guests could feel left out. 

Once the guestlist has been decided, it is time to send out the invites. Depending on the occasion and formality, this might mean a quick text to formal paper invites.

For a more casual affair, it is worth thinking about a business like Greenvelope. They have both paper and digital invites available, as well as an RSVP tracking service and other helpful resources. 

The Party Itself: Refreshments, Decorations & Entertainment

The rest of the planning now begins to focus on the party itself. Your budget, theme and occasion will all need to be used here. The first thing to think about is what you are going to serve to your guests, if anything.

Not all parties call for refreshments. As the host, the very least you will be on the hook for is mixers and maybe alcohol. Again, the occasion really comes into play here. 

For casual get-togethers or ragers, alcohol and something like pizza will be perfectly adequate. If you are throwing a more sophisticated party, a party earlier in the day or for a special occasion, then you might want to put some more thought into the refreshments.

Where appropriate, you could also ask your guests to help out by bringing dishes or beverages to contribute—this can also save you some money too. 

In any case, it is important that you think about what you are going to serve ahead of time. To make things easier on yourself, it would make sense to choose foods that you can put together ahead of time.

Think about how you will serve the food and whether you will use disposable serving dishes and plates to minimize clean up or whether you want to use dishware. 

Next, the decorations, again the theme and the occasion matter here. If you have no occasion or theme to consider, then you can pretty much skip this step. Otherwise, you need to start picking decorations.

Think about your venue; if you have hired somewhere, they may place restrictions on what you can and can’t do to decorate. 

You can find decorations for almost every theme and occasion online, so this shouldn’t pose too much of a challenge to you. There are ideas to suit every budget. Balloons, signs, bunting and banners are all great options.

You could also think about the lighting. If you are allowed to, some string lights or a disco light or even candles can help to create mood and atmosphere. Think about the vibe you are trying to create. 

Lastly, you need to consider what you are going to do in terms of entertainment for the party. There are several different options for entertainment, and again, the occasion, budget and theme all play a crucial role here.

If you want to save money, then creating a playlist on your phone and allowing it to play over a speaker that you already have is by far the cheapest option. If your budget allows, then you could hire a DJ or rent party games or hire another form of entertainment.

However, they are usually booked pretty far in advance, so this will need to be considered if you do want to hire someone. 

The Bottom Line

Planning a party is actually a lot easier than it may first seem, especially if you use the elements listed above as the basis for your planning. The formula above can be used regardless of the type of party that you are planning, so remember to keep them in mind.

Lastly, don’t forget to have fun at the party. A lot of party planners end up getting wrapped up in making sure that everyone else is having fun, but once the party gets there, it is really out of your hands.